Study Guide

Wings

By Aprilynne Pike

Wings Introduction

Navigating high school is hard enough… how would you manage if you suddenly discovered that you weren't human?

In Wings, Laurel's just another homeschool kid raised by hippies, struggling to get through her first weeks at public high school, when she finds a plant growing out of her back. Seriously. Luckily her bud David is a biology nerd, and they begin to unravel the mystery together—only to discover that the thing on her back is part of her heritage as a faerie.

And that's just the beginning—we won't spoil it, but trust us when we say this book will suck you in. And when it does, you'll join the swarm of people who loved Wings so much when it was released in 2009 that it not only became a New York Times bestseller, but author Aprilynne Pike turned it into a series, writing three books to follow it (source). Not too shabby for a debut novel, now is it?

So what's the draw? We get some romance, some adventure, a bunch of magic and mystery, and plenty of teenage angst—there's even a school dance with fancy outfits and glitter—and there are also a couple of murder attempts and some science sleuthing (complete with microscope and tissue samples) to spice things up, too. Plus we get a glimpse of a love triangle starting to form, which is always a good time.

Wait… what do all the things in the last paragraph remind us of? You got it: Twilight. Love it or hate it, we're mostly just happy that Laurel is less clumsy than Bella. Stephenie Meyer, author of Twilight, even reviewed Wings and called it "a remarkable debut." In other words, this book's reader tested, Twilight approved.

Now that we dropped the "T" word, we're thinking that there are enough similarities between Wings and Twilight that if you liked Twilight, you should totally read Wings. But there are enough differences that if you didn't like Twilight, you still just might enjoy Wings. Oh, heck, just read Wings either way. We're fans of the book's fresh take on faeries, friendship, and family.

What is Wings About and Why Should I Care?

Every teen feels awkward and out of place, but when Wings' protagonist Laurel finds out she's not even human, well, that takes the cake. Technically, as a faerie, she belongs to the same biological category as plants do. Which, yeah, we agree, is a pretty strange thing to have to come to terms with.

When the mysterious bump appears on Laurel's back and begins to grow, she's totally freaked out, wondering if it's cancer or a tumor or what. And for a lot of people, this is like going through puberty in general: You don't have a roadmap for what to expect and the changes happening to your body are weird and sometimes icky.

Look, we don't want to harp on the whole Laurel's-freaky-changing-body-is-a-metaphor-for-every-teenager's-freaky-changing-body connection too much, but it's totally a thing. Just go back and reread the parts about the flower growing out of her back and how she feels ashamed and wants to hide it, and you'll see where we're going with this.

It's important, too, to look at what Laurel does once she learns the truth about her identity as a faerie. She's got problems, yeah, but she steps up to defend her friends, family, and land. She's totally brave in the face of a family crisis, death threat, and romantic woes, despite being weirded out about her non-human identity. It makes us think that if Laurel can get her act together and be awesome, so can anyone, even the angstiest of angsty teenagers. And that's a message we can totally dig.

Wings Resources

Websites

Aprilynne Pike's Home Page
Find out what the author of Wings is working on these days.

The HarperCollins Site for Wings
It's got some extras, like a link to Pike's biography.

Articles and Interviews

Interview with Aprilynne Pike: Process, Sequels, and More
Pike discusses her creative process, what she's excited about in the sequel to Wings, and her draw toward the supernatural.

Does it Matter that She's Mormon?
How does her faith influence her art? Find out here.

Old People Writing for Teens Interview
Old People Writing for Teens is a most excellent name for a blog. This interview reveals her vices, including what she nibbles on while she writes.

Video

Video Interview with Aprilynne Pike about Wings
Pike talks about some of her ideas that went into the book and what she thinks about the various characters (plus you can hear her pronounce Tamani's name).

Fan-made Book Trailer for Wings
Simple, beautiful, and evocative… kind of like the book itself.

Fan-made Video with Wings Casting Preferences
We think the person who made this video nailed the casting for Tamani.

Audio

Melissa Marr Interviews Pike
Lots of faeries in this line-up.

Images

Four Wings Covers
Pike's website shows off four of the covers that have been published for Wings, two in English and two in foreign languages.

Fan Art of Laurel and Tamani
It's really cute.

A Picture of the Author
She's pretty cute, too.