Piper McCloud was born to float. Unfortunately, her very down-to-earth and practical parents, seeing all the repercussions that might occur, insist that she keep her feet firmly on the ground. As Piper grows up, and learns how to not just float, but actually fly, things become even more complicated. Her parents keep her at home, schooling her on their isolated farm. But exposure is inevitable, and, despite all warnings, Piper eventually reveals her powers of flight to the townspeople.
Almost immediately, her house is besieged by journalists and thrill seekers – not to mention a mysterious invisible voice and the arrival of the Government. It turns out that there is a special “school” for exceptional children like Piper, and she is quickly whisked away to the underground laboratory cum school-house where she can be kept “safe”. But how safe is she? And what are the true motivations of the people who claim they are taking care of her?
This book falls solidly into the growing category of books about exceptional children who are being in some way manipulated by adults or institutions that claim to be protecting them. That does not lessen it’s writing or impact, however. While Piper’s “folksy” voice can sometimes be grating and overdone, it also helps to set her apart from the other characters. Author Victoria Forester does a nice job keeping dialog consistent with each character. If she says that a character is laconic, they hardly ever say anything. (Unlike a lot of books I read where there are characters who spend all sorts of time talking with the appended tag of “so-and-so’s long speech – so different from his/her normal silence – was shocking!”) Piper talks a lot. It’s obvious to the reader that she has a hard time keeping her mouth shut, so that when she does stop talking, it has a major impact, even though no one really comments on it.