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Growing Wings    by Laurel Winter order for
Growing Wings
by Laurel Winter
Order:  USA  Can
Firebird, 2002 (2000)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

How would it feel to discover one day that wings were budding out of your back? That's the premise that Laurel Winter develops in Growing Wings. Embarrassed, and encouraged by her mother to hide what's happening to her, young Linnet disguises her differences for a short time until the end of the school year. But she wonders if she is an alien, or 'could she be some kind of mutant, like the three-legged frogs they'd studied in science, changed by pollution or radiation or something?'

Linnet has inherited her wings from her mother, who has never forgiven her own mutilation by Linnet's grandmother. Sarah will not do the same to her own daughter but, desperate to find a solution, takes Linnet on a journey. When Sarah disappears from their motel one morning, Linnet finds her grandmother on her own, and is taken to a community of 'cutwings' and winged folk in the mountains. They dream of flight; hostile young Andrea is obsessed with the possibility and trains for it constantly.

Over time Linnet and Andy form a prickly alliance as they avoid investigative reporters and explore the Montana wilderness together. They tire of life in hiding, experiment with different aids to flight and argue about whether or not they should out themselves to the rest of humanity. Though the basic notion of a large community of winged humans in hiding is improbable, the idea is developed well and the sisterly squabbling between Andy and Linnet is engaging. As you read, you want to cheer them on to unfurl their wings and take flight.

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