I can hardly convey how much I like, nay, LOVE this book! Like a skillful chef, Victoria Forester has dropped in the right amount of parsely (also known as suspense), carrots (or characters), and chicken (forgive me vegetarians). My well-thumbed copy is held together with tape. (Cue: a sheepish glance at the book lying on the coffee table).
See that scared-looking, freckle-faced girl on the cover? That’s Piper. She’s the main character in this book, and also the girl who can fly.
The pale, wild-haired lady holding Piper’s ankle is Dr. Letitia Hellion. She runs an institute, called I.N.S.A.N.E., or the Institute for Normalcy, Stability, And NonExceptionality. Every bird, every beast which enters her institute does so because it has an abnormal skill. When it passes out, it will cease to have whatever remarkable ability it possessed. For example, a glow-in-the-dark giraffe enters the institute, but leaves as an ordinary, wholly unremarkable giraffe. If a giraffe can be called unremarkable, that is.
The first eleven years of Piper’s life are wholly uneventful, except for one thing- her flying. Then, suddenly, a bomb shatters the peace of Lowland County. Piper’s astounding ability to fly is discovered, and the next day, she is the cover story on newspapers worldwide. One helicopter ride later, she finds herself in Dr. Hellion’s establishment.
At first, Piper is in love with her new life at the institute. She doesn’t know that she is pumped with drugs, thrice a day, (concealed in each meal) which make her happy, content, and manageable. Enter Conrad Harrington III, resident genius. He constantly bullies Piper, who patiently bears it, until one day, he sends her over the edge, thereby whisking the blindfold from her eyes. Finally, Piper sees I.N.S.A.N.E. for what it really is.