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The Wall and the Wingby Laura Ruby
Synopses & Reviews
In one vast and sparkling city, everyone can fly.
A few, nicknamed leadfeet, are sentenced by a trick of nature or fate to forever spend their lives closer to the ground. But one night, a girl named Gurl — a leadfoot, an orphan, a nobody — discovers that she can do something much better than fly.
She can become invisible.
This amazing power will help her uncover the secret mysteries of the city. But even with her newfound talent, Gurl can't seem to hide from a giant rat man with a taste for cats, a manipulative matron with a penchant for plastic surgery, and a belligerent boy named Bug.
Gradually Gurl learns to control her power and teams up with Bug to figure out who and what she is. Their quest will take them on a wild ride through this magical city, where they'll confront chatty birds and mind-bending monkeys, an eccentric genius with a head full of grass and a pocket full of kittens, and the handsome but lethal Sweetcheeks Grabowski — the gangster who holds the key to Gurl's past...and the world's future.
"Everyone can fly except the girl called Gurl in Ruby's (Lily's Ghosts) utterly odd and charming modern fantasy. Living in the horrid Hope House orphanage, Gurl accidentally discovers that although she's alone in being earthbound, she can make herself invisible. The House's greedy matron, Mrs. Terwiliger, exploits her newfound gift by making her steal expensive clothing and jewelry. Such drama pales, though, in comparison to the threat facing her in the form of Sweetcheeks Grabowski, a ruthless gangster with a background as a diaper model; Sweetcheeks knows of Gurl's existence and wants to kidnap her to help him steal a priceless pen. The book is inspired silliness from start to finish. Several scenes are laugh-out-loud funny, such as when a team of hairdressers mistakes Gurl for a member of the theater and gives her a makeover. The conclusion, in which it is explained that the pen Sweetcheeks is after has the ability to make anything it writes come true (which is tied to the origins of how people learned to fly) would seem out of place or thrown together in another book, but here readers will likely agree that it seems both appropriately goofy and tongue-in-cheek. Ages 10-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"This novel flips reality on its side and sends readers up into the air and down into the bowels of the city. Witty and ironic, Ruby's sharp writing propels the story to an exhilarating climax." VOYA (Starred Review)
"Fast-paced wackiness told with humor, often black, that will have young readers giggling even as they cheer." School Library Journal
"It takes time to sort out the large cast, but readers who persevere will be happy they did and look forward to the upcoming sequel." Booklist
"The last chapters of Ruby's sophomore effort are excellent, but few will make it through this sluggish, overlong fantasy adventure. Less than the sum of its imaginative parts, this misses the high mark set by her Lily's Ghosts." Kirkus Reviews
"No need to compare to Harry Potter; with The Wall and the Wing, American fantasy takes full flight." Esme Raji Codell, author of Educating Esme and The Diary of a Fairy Godmother
About the Author
Laura Ruby is a Chicago-based writer, the author of Lily's Ghosts. A Parents' Choice Silver Honor winner and a nominee for the Edgar Award for best juvenile mystery, Lily's Ghosts was also selected for Chicago Public Library Best of the Best and the New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age lists. Laura also writes short fiction for adults.
As a child, she liked to ask people nosy questions such as "If everyone in the world were either a jerk or a creep, which one would you be?" and "Would you rather have the power of invisibility or the power to fly?" She discovered that there are an awful lot of jerks flying around this world and not nearly enough invisible creeps. The Wall and the Wing is her tribute to them all.
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