There can't be a better way to get good buzz about your book than having a star like Miley Cyrus attached to its movie adaptation, which just so happens to be connected to the production company behind "Twilight." Oh, well, maybe also placing a large-font quote from "Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer on both the front and back covers. Yes, those are the reasons I picked up Aprilynne Pike's "Wings" for this week's Book Report. But they're certainly not why it remained in my hands until I drank up every last word of it.
Nope, credit for that goes to Pike's imaginative mythology, cleverly disguised by easygoing prose and what at first seems like a simple YA plot. After being home-schooled her whole life and living blissfully with her parents in an isolated, country home, Laurel is not entirely thrilled when her dad decides to buy a bookstore and move the family to a small town. And she just doesn't get why her mother insists that she has to go to a regular high school now that she's a sophomore.
But she takes it all in stride, and things seem to go quite well for her. A cute, very smart boy named David befriends her in biology class on her first day, and when she decides she doesn't like being cooped up in the school cafeteria at lunch, he gets his whole group of friends to start eating outside. Wow, in what alternate high school world is lunch at a new school not a traumatizing experience?
Actually, you could almost hate the girl for going through adolescence with such effortless grace. But then the trauma begins when Laurel — a strict vegan who's never been sick in her life — develops a strange lump on her back. She's ashamed of it in the sort of way any typical teen becomes ashamed of their body at some point or other. And then becomes downright scared of it as it grows and literally blossoms into a giant, fragrant flower. (OK, still kind of hate her — the rest of us got pimples and funny voices and awkward growth spurts, and she gets a flower?) Amazingly, rather than suffer on her own, Laurel decides to take bio-wiz David into her confidence. That's when he absolutely becomes my dream man: understanding, smart, cute and very resourceful.
But Laurel doesn't just get one perfect boy in her life. One day, when revisiting the house and land she grew up on, which has been in her mother's family for generations, but which they have to sell in order to keep the bookstore afloat, Laurel wanders off into the woods by herself. And that's where she meets the breathtakingly beautiful boy named Tamani, who somehow already knows who she is, and knows all about her flower...
I'm not going to spoil any more for you about the very original "faery" tale this becomes. But read it and tell me what you think. Laurel plays guitar and sings, which I think will make it a great role for Miley. It'll be interesting to see if they try to make the usually goofy, down-to-earth actress into a more ethereal, fairy-like girl. And, of course, I'm eager to see who they choose to play David and Tamani. (Without reading the book, Hollywood Crush previously suggested "Harry Potter" co-star and Hump Day Hottie Freddie Stroma to play Tamani, but now I think he's much better suited for David. So, who do you think should play the mysterious boy from the woods?