From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8–In a New York City of the future, almost everyone can fly–except for leadfoots like 12-year-old Gurl, an orphan at the Hope House for the Homeless and Hopeless. When she sneaks out one night to rummage for food, she discovers that she can make herself invisible. When Mrs. Terwiliger, the matron who runs the institution, finds out about Gurls ability, she blackmails her into stealing clothing and perfumes and into fixing a $20,000 plastic surgeon bill by hacking into his computer. Bug, a new boy determined to fly, befriends Gurl and the mysterious cat she has found. They run away, only to be caught by notorious gangster Sweetcheeks Grabowski, who realizes that Gurl is a Wall, a person born every 100 years or so who can become invisible. He, too, has designs on her and will do anything to hang on to her. This poor-little-rich-girl story is packed with wildly eccentric characters, such as the Professor, who relies on his Answer Hand, which he bought on eBay, for information. There are also rat men with red eyes and filed teeth, a zipper-faced monster, a cat that showers and blow dries her fur, and mechanical monkeys that absorb the secrets and memories of the orphans. All of this fast-paced wackiness is told with humor, often black, that will have young readers giggling even as they cheer for Gurl and Bug, the Wall and the Wing.–Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 5-8. The author of Lily's Ghosts
(2003) offers another intriguing fantasy for middle-grade readers. Twelve-year-old Gurl, a resident of Hope House for the Homeless who has a talent for becoming invisible (fading until she becomes "the wall"), adopts and tries to hide a mysterious cat. The matron discovers her pet and kidnaps it, blackmailing Gurl into a life of thievery. Eventually, Gurl escapes with another orphan, Bug, and the two become the object of a chase involving a peculiar professor, a giant rat, an infamous gangster, and a zipper-faced monster. This offbeat fantasy, which takes place in New York City, features visits to Little Italy and Central Park as well as city dwellers who can fly ("the wing"of the title). Eccentric characters are the norm: the professor lives with hundreds of cats, has grass growing out of his head, and shops on e-Bay; gangster Sweetcheeks Grabowski is a former diaper model. It takes time to sort out the large cast, but readers who persevere will be happy they did and look forward to the upcoming sequel. Kay WeismanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved