The Institute of Normalcy, Stability and NonExceptionality, aka I.N.S.A.N.E., seems initially to be a haven for Piper McCloud when she develops the ability to fly, which makes her an outsider in her small community. Life in the concrete underground bunker is initially fairly pleasant, but soon Piper and her fellow inmates discover the real purpose of their stay there: Dr. Letitia Hellion, champion of all that is normal and unremarkable, is prepared to go to any length necessary in order to wipe out any traces of the rare or unusual in plants, animals, or humans. Since the children are each remarkably gifted—in addition to Piper's airworthiness, there's Smitty's X-ray vision, Daisy's superhuman strength, Myrtle's speedy feet, and Conrad's peerless genius—they're in serious danger; after an attempted breakout is foiled and Piper, a favorite among the group, returns from several months' absence crippled in mind and body, the kids decide to fight back. Forester grounds this domestically rooted fantasy in a downhome and folksy world populated with characters named Sally Sue, Millie Mae and Rory Rae, but it's effectively straightforward in conveying the menace of the facility and its mission. This is a strong adventure story, with a few dark moments that illustrate the consequences of evil, made all the more appealing by the opportunity for smart kids to overcome wrong-thinking adults. [End Page 467]
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Forester, Victoria; The Girl Who Could Fly. Feiwel, 2008; [208p] ISBN 978-0-312-37462-4 $16.95 Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 5-7
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