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Wall and the Wing, The Hardcover – February 28, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 770L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 327 pages
  • Publisher: HarperColl; Complete Numbers Starting with 1, 1st Ed edition (February 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060752556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060752552
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,123,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

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 Weisman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Laura Ruby is the author of books for adults, teens and children. Her titles include the Edgar-nominated tween mystery LILY'S GHOSTS (now updated for 2011), the children's fantasy THE WALL AND THE WING (3/06) and a sequel, THE CHAOS KING (5/07) all published by Harpercollins. She writes for older teens as well, and her debut young adult novel, GOOD GIRLS (9/06), also from Harpercollins, was a Book Sense Pick for fall 2006 and an ALA Quick Pick for 2007. She followed this with the teen novels PLAY ME (2008) and BAD APPLE (2009).

Her short fiction for adults has appeared in various literary magazines, including Other Voices and The Florida Review. A collection of these stories, I'M NOT JULIA ROBERTS, was published by Warner Books in January 2007. Called "hilarious and heart-wrenching" by People and "a knowing look at the costs and rewards of remaking a family," by the Miami Herald, the book was also featured in Redbook, Working Mother, and USA Today, among others.

Raised in the wilds of suburban New Jersey, Laura Ruby now lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two cats that serve as creative advisors.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Susannah Melone on March 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is such a delight that it actually provided relief from all the only-sort-of-good books I've read recently. The very recognizeable but slightly fantastic view of NY is wonderful, the characters a surprise and a joy, and the story so good that I didn't want to finish the book, because I didn't want it to be over.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on March 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The WALL AND THE WING by Laura Ruby --- also the author of the Edgar-nominated LILY'S GHOSTS --- is an original fantasy filled with colorful characters who inhabit a futuristic New York City. In this world, everyone wants to be a "wing," a person who can fly. Gurl, an orphan at the Hope House for the Homeless and Hopeless, is a leadfoot, not a wing.

One evening, while Gurl is out rummaging for food behind a restaurant, she discovers that she can make herself invisible. This talent to become a "wall" is very rare and highly prized in this future world. When her matron, Mrs. Terwiliger, discovers that Gurl can become invisible, she forces her into a life of crime. At first she blackmails the girl into stealing clothing and perfume, and later asks her to hack into computers.

Gurl befriends another orphan nicknamed Bug while she's chasing her cat down the hallway of the orphanage. The boy is named Bug because of his resemblance to a real bug. He and Gurl have something in common --- neither of them knew who they were before they came to Hope House. Bug has some special talents, like being able to pick locks, but he doesn't know why he has these special skills or how he learned them. Bug is Gurl's only friend at Hope House and she helps him discover his talent for flying. Neither of them like living at the orphanage and they want to leave as soon as possible to find out where they belong in the world.

Gurl and Bug decide to run away from the orphanage together. His skill as a flyer and her skill to become invisible complement each other. Together they face a huge cast of characters such as gangsters, giant alligators, human-sized rats, and a zipper-faced monster. Their adventure leads them to discover who they really are and where they belong.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on March 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In a vast and sparkling city that looks a great deal like New York, nearly everyone can fly--except Gurl, an orphan stuck in Hope House for the Homeless and Helpless. But Gurl soon finds she has another talent--she can become invisible. Soon she finds herself mixed up with the oddest group of friends and enemies, a belligerant boy named Bug with a penchant for punching things, a cat named Noodle who likes to blowdry her fur, a very eccentric professor with grass for hair, an orphanage matron with a serious addiction to plastic surgery, and a gangster who would like nothing more than to have a girl who can disappear.

This is one of the most inventive books I've ever read, and one of the funniest. You'll find yourself delighted and enchanted the whole time, and when you're done you'll want to go back to the first page and start all over again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Nygren on June 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book was fun, quick paced, and intelligently written. I loved it! However, as a teacher I would be apprehensive about introducing my students to it, if they are not a "mature audience." Although the reading level is about fourth grade (+/-), it is packed with figuritive language and satirical elements that make it fun for the adult reader. The problem is, that for young readers, it really depends on what they have already been exposed to and what they can handle. They may all but miss the scene where the orphans break into a plastic surgeon's office and look through the computer. Bug, a savy male orphan, notes the list of high profile patients stating, "I knew those were fake!" Other mature siuations might include the moment when Sweetcheeks Grabowski (a high level, pretty boy type of gangster) remembers back on his family, noting that his faither smelled of stale beer. Hilarious, high level, but only for kids that already have this level of life experience.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A thoughtful consumer on March 6, 2007
Format: Audio CD
We got this audio book to listen to during a family trip from Fort Worth, Texas to Michigan and it was great for our elementary school children as well as for us adults. A great story by Laura Ruby and an excellent reading by Renee Raudman. I always thought Jim Dale was great doing the narration for the Harry Potter books, but I would say that Raudman even surpasses him. Like Dale she shows the wide range of her acting ability, giving a distinctive voice to each character so that it seemed like it was being performed by a whole cast. The funny chapters were hilarious and the dramatic ones were very moving. A great book. I hope that Ruby writes a sequel and I hope that Raudman narrates it for the audio book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on June 14, 2007
Format: Audio CD
We often listen to audiobooks on long trips and it's rare to find one that entertains the whole family - Preschoolers, school-age and Mom and Dad! This one did just that. It's an interesting story with great characters. The narrator was OUTSTANDING; one of the best I've ever listened to. As soon as we got to the last disk, my son was asking me if there were other books by the same author. We just finished the Chaos King as well and are hoping Ms. Ruby continues the story.
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