7 Rated Books Book Reviews YA Appreciation Month

Book Review: Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Title: Wings

Author: Aprilynne Pike

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairies

Publisher: Harper TEEN
Publication Date: May 2009
Hardcover: 304 pages

Stand alone or series: First book in a planned series.

Why did I read this book: I had been eying Wings for a while in my local bookstore – and eagerly pounced on a copy for our Young Adult Appreciation Month. The stunning cover, the overall strong reviews, and the intriguing book summary had me at hello.

Summary: (from HarperTeen.com)
Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautifulβ€”too beautiful for words.

Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.

In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.

Wings is the third title in our SUPERNATURAL SUMMER book feature from Harper Teen. This week we will bring you five different books by five different authors, including interviews, articles and giveaways.


Laurel has never had much in common with other teenagers. For one thing, she has been home-schooled for all of her life, and is something of an introvert. In her sophomore year, Laurel’s parents move and decide that it is time for her to attend a public school, and Laurel realizes how different she really is from her classmates. It’s not just her home-schooled, “hippie” background or peculiar vegan and sprite-only diet; nor is it just because of her beautiful, willowy looks or her affinity for the woods and sunlight. One day, Laurel discovers a welt on her back that simply won’t go away…and it grows, blooming into a pair of stunningly beautiful, wing-like petals. Frightened and completely alone, Laurel turns to her new friend David for help and comfort, and she learns just how different from everyone else she really is.

Aprilynne Pike’s debut novel Wings has received rave reviews from YA critics, and has garnered comparisons to Stephenie Meyer’s uber-popular Twilight saga (even scoring a cover quote from Ms. Meyer) – which is apt. Wings shares the same enchanting otherworldly feel with Twilight, as well as the awkward, pretty new girl in town premise – but that’s where the comparison ends. Why?

Because in this reviewer’s opinion, Wings outshines Twilight in every possible way.

Wings is a lush, beautifully written novel that encompasses romance, an imaginative spin on the realm of faerie, thrilling action and a strong heroine that would mop the floor with Bella Swan. Fifteen year-old Laurel sets herself part from the people she meets at school, feeling claustrophobic in the air conditioned classrooms and covered cafeterias – but instead of passively going with the flow and trying to fit in, she prefers to sit outside in the sunlight on her own. A few reviews seem to take issue with the book’s “slower” start, dealing with the day to day musings and uncertainties of Laurel – but this appeals to me, as a reader and grounds Laurel as a tangible, sympathetic character. When David talks to her, she welcomes his friendship and later confides in him when she cannot tell her adoptive parents exactly how different she is from everyone else – but she’s very careful not to lose herself in David’s comfort, or let her life become defined by their relationship. With David’s support and quiet strength, Laurel comes to grips with exactly who and what she is in a very nice twist on the faerie myth, and also a refreshing twist on the traditional ‘girl falls for supernaturally sexy boy’ story. I have to admit that I loved Laurel’s mettle and her positive attitude; despite the immense changes she is going through (and growing a giant flower out of one’s back is a pretty dramatic change!), Laurel keeps her wits about her. It is Laurel that discovers what her true parentage is; it is Laurel who recognizes the danger that threatens her family, and who saves them all from danger. As a strong, non-passive heroine, Laurel totally rocks.

As a romantic novel, Wings is completely, winsomely enchanting. There’s a love triangle, which is to be expected in line with the Twilight comparisons – but the very human and calmly dependable David juxtaposed against the emotional, supernatural charmer Tamani are much more fleshed out as characters and more desirable (in my opinion) than the tawdry Edward and Jacob. I think what I appreciate the most about this blossoming love story is that it is not founded on obsession or unrealistic premises – Laurel is cautious with her emotions, and does not recklessly pin her entire self-worth on her truest of true loves. Both characters have their very different appeals, and the triangle is far from concluded – sure to draw some intense David or Tam debates. At this point, the triangle is engaging and fresh – I just hope Ms. Pike can keep the appeal going in the next few books without slipping into contrivance (I’m always a little ary when starting into a love triangle story. Somehow I always end up rooting for the losing guy.)

So far as plotting and world-building are concerned, Wings is deftly written and freshly original. I won’t spoil the particular twist, but suffice to say that I was intrigued by Ms. Pike’s take on faerie. There’s action and danger aplenty in this novel as well, as a mysterious stranger tries to buy Laurel’s family land and threatens her family with mortal consequences. Murderous plots, death-defying escapes, magic and romance abound in Wings – what’s not to love? I finished Ms. Pike’s lovely debut in a single sitting, and cannot wait for the next installment in the series.

Notable Quotes/Parts: When Laurel discovers her petal-like wings, it’s a beautiful scene.

Taking a deep breath, she blinked away the dark spots and stepped toward the mirror.

She didn’t even have to turn to see the new development. Long, bluish-white forms rose over both shoulders. For a moment Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were beautiful — almost too beautiful for words.

She turned slowly so she could see them better. Petal-like strips sprouted from where the bump had been, making a gently curved four-pointed star on her back. The longest petals — fanning out over each shoulder and peeking around her waist — about eight or nine inches long — spiraled around the center, filling in the leftover space. There were even a few small green leaves where the enormous flower connected to her skin.

All of the petals were tinged a dark blue at the center that faded to the softest sky blue in the middle and white at the ends. The edges were ruffled and looked eerily like the African violets her mother painstakingly grew in their kitchen. There must have been twenty of the soft, petal-like strips. Maybe more.

Laurel turned her front to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.

And, as always, Harper Teen’s Browse Inside below gives a glimpse at the first third of the novel. Check it out.

Additional Thoughts: Recently, Aprilynne Pike announced that the rights to Wings have been sold to Disney for a feature film! Although I can’t say I’m pleased with the rumored Miley Cyrus as Laurel (though incredibly popular, Miley is a bit too…abrasive for my impression of the willowy yet strong Laurel), it is pretty exciting news. Congrats to Ms. Pike!

Also, make sure to stick around, as we have a guest blog and giveaway from Aprilynne Pike later today!

Verdict: A lush debut novel with a heady blend of beauty, romance and danger, I very much enjoyed Wings. Highly recommended, and I cannot wait for the upcoming sequel.

Rating: 7 Very Good

Reading Next: Evernight and Stargazer by Claudia Gray

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  • Celia
    July 22, 2009 at 12:39 am

    I enjoyed Wings, though from the raves I expected a bit more context, complex villains and a conclusive ending. The fact that it’s the first of a series clears some of that up. I hope the next installments expand and deepen the world of Wings. Thanks for sharing your review!

  • Wendy
    July 22, 2009 at 2:28 am

    I love the cover and can’t wait to read Wings!

  • KMont
    July 22, 2009 at 5:26 am

    Aw look what you’ve gone and done. Now I want this one. Adding it to the must buy list. It sounds great.

  • Gerd Duerner
    July 22, 2009 at 7:49 am

    Lovely cover. Simple but lovely.

    Sounds like the kind of book I have to add to my wishlist.
    I love teen romances, I thought both ‘twilight’ and ‘Blood & Chocolate’ to be highly enjoyable despite their flaws based on the (too starry eyed in ‘twilight’ actually, but who minds?) romance part alone.

  • Kati
    July 22, 2009 at 7:49 am

    Hmm, this one sounds right up my alley. SIGH. Well.

    I have to go to the bookstore anyway next week to get some other stuff, so I’ll just add this one to my growing stack.

  • Adrienne
    July 22, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Sweet! I too have been eyeing this book in the local B&N so by Friday (payday) it will be mine! Thanks again for the awesome review.

  • katiebabs
    July 22, 2009 at 9:19 am

    I thought this was one sweet read. If I had a flower growing out of my back, I would freak out also.

  • Lori T
    July 22, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    Wings sounds really interesting and I am looking forward to reading it.

  • Kris
    July 23, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    This looks fabulous. I’m definitely adding it to my list.

  • danielle
    July 24, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    i hate miley cyrus, but the book looks interesting!

  • karina
    October 29, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    I do not understand this review AT ALL. I thought the book’s writing was very mediocre and the characters were stiff and too perfect. The dialoque was some of the worst I’ve ever seen, so wooden and would not sound real if you actually heard it.

  • Scarlett
    October 30, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    I just finished this book and i think your summary and review was great this book is my new fav it is waaaayyyy better than twilight the main character is actually developed and the writing actually makes sense so if you haven’t read this book go read it and i am sooo ready for the second book to come out i mena she released this in may and it’s almost november i mean come on i want more! (but mostly more of her relationship with tamani and a deeper understanding with stuff about the realm and here life before. Whoa how awesome would it be if there was a prequal for wings that’d be awesome about her life in the realm with tamani and her real parents and everything. Also it’d be cool if Twilight also had a prequal it’d be cool but not as good as the prequal for wings would be much better because aprilynne is a much better writer than stephenie. πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚

  • Gabrielle
    August 20, 2010 at 9:11 am

    I loved both books of you series that you have made, but I was wondering if your making another book for it because it seems that there is a lot of questions unanswere in the series. My main question is why did you decide Laurel to choose David and not life long lover Tamani. Because I think that she knows who she really loves ande it feels as if its Tamani. From the way you explained it she and Tamni have deep feelings from now and from the past. Besides that she and Tamani are of the same world they deserve to be together they fit like two brids. I’m telling you the feelings of me and many other people. πŸ™

  • carissa
    October 20, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    this book was really good my techer told be how good it was but i didnt believe her then i read it and BAM!!!it was as good as she said well better i also read the second one it was also good the thing i wish was really real out of the book is that whatever you eat is the color of your roots and your eyes i would love to have that well i justed wanted to say that the book was really really really really really really really really really really realy really good:P :mrgreen: πŸ˜€ πŸ™„ πŸ˜‰

  • carissa
    October 20, 2010 at 8:50 pm


  • salmi ndemugwedha
    February 24, 2013 at 9:53 am

    i love the book when i started reading the book i couldnt wait to finish it.
    Aprilynne pike you did a good job.

  • Sanushi
    March 4, 2013 at 11:02 am

    This is my favourite of all the time…..a book that everyone should read!!!!!

  • Lye
    March 4, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    This book was mediocre. Not amazing but not aweful. Ive read better and I’ve read worse. The dialogue was wooden and i think that she couldve been more descriptive. She also focused too much on making everything TOO perfect and I couldn’t really enjoy it all that much because of that. Then again it might’ve been her first book, and maybe with time she’ll advance past “okay”.

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