Girl Coming In for a Landing: A Novel in Poems

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Overview

You walk into class—
my head clears.

No kidding.
You are my aspirin.

One girl. One school year. All poems. From friends to first dates, school dances to family ...
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Overview

You walk into class—
my head clears.

No kidding.
You are my aspirin.

One girl. One school year. All poems. From friends to first dates, school dances to family fights, this inspiring collection captures the emotional highs and lows of teen life with refreshing honesty and humor. With an authentic voice full of wit and insight, Girl Coming In for a Landing is just like high school: impossible to walk away from unchanged.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

A collection of over 100 poems recounting the ups and downs of one adolescent girl's school year.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
A teenage girl tells about the events of a school year, through autumn, winter, and spring, in over 100 pithy, heartfelt poems. We learn about her crushes, her up-and-down relationships with her sister and a friend, her inspiring biology teacher, school dances, first kisses and first boyfriend, playing the violin, getting her period, her love of writing, and more. An example, entitled "Spring Fever": "Fed up with this dull/ class, my mind pecks open its/ cage and flies away." Another, "Writing Poetry," lets us know how important writing is to her: "In the middle of the night/ I turn on my light /then slowly peel/ off layers of me/ with the press of every key." In an author's note at the end, Wayland discusses poetry writing and explains the genesis of some of these poems. She also offers advice to aspiring poets who might be interested in being published. Fanciful drawings, photos and collages form the background to each page. This accessible collection lacks the drama of Mel Glenn's novels in poems, like Split Image and Who Killed Mr. Chippendale?, but it will appeal to adolescent girls and aspiring writers. It touches on experiences and emotions most middle school and junior high girls can easily relate to, and its brevity will also help make it appealing to reluctant readers. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2002, Random House, Knopf, 144p.,
— Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 7-9-This "novel in poems" covers the school year of a girl who is young enough to be shaving her legs for the first time but old enough to be learning how to kiss. Between fall and spring, she goes from an imaginary boyfriend to a real one to the loss of that boyfriend: "-all the space in the world/wouldn't be enough for him/and as close as he could ever come to me/would never/be close enough for me." From the humiliation of getting the "Susie Spineless Award" at the drama party to the exhilaration of having a poem published in a magazine, the unnamed heroine is a girl in transition, with all the intensity of emotion associated with adolescence. Readers will relate to her boredom in school: "Fed up with this dull/class, my mind pecks open its/cage and flies away." Other observations are more personal. Wayland remembers this time of life well; in fact, some of the poems are based on her own journals. She uses simple language in a graceful yet direct way. Readers will also find the book's compact size and sophisticated mixed-media illustrations on most pages appealing. Similar in form to Sonya Sones's Stop Pretending (HarperCollins, 1999), this is a quieter, more episodic, and perhaps more universal tale.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This utterly fresh and winning collection of verse is in the voice of an unnamed teenager, whom readers will come to know really well through her introspective and spot-on observations. During the course of a school year in California that is divided into sections (Autumn, Winter, Spring), she welcomes back her best friend Leslie and then has a fight with her, plays Mozart duets on her violin with Yen-Mei, and learns about kissing with Carlo. She is a writer, and she works at it, and she's dazzled when her teacher, in his honey-sweet Tennessee accent, suggests she's good enough to be published in "Faan Powms." She tries out for drama club, hangs out with her Great Aunt Ida, and ruefully examines her pull-and-tug relationship with an older sister. Employing many forms of verse, some rhymed, some not, she even writes a sonnet; all of them are accessible and exquisitely crafted. "Rehearsal" says in its entirety: "This music is so / amazing, it builds a nest / of tears in my throat." She notes wryly when an annoying boy stops hanging around her "And lately I have missed / being annoyed." Clayton's (Three Rotten Eggs, p. 339, etc.) illustrations, a mix of collage and sketches, hint at each subject often in amusing or wry corollaries. The narrator says a great deal about writing: "I want to / make something / beautiful. / Peaches. / If I could / make peaches-grow them / from my pen . . . " She gets her wish. (author's note) (Poetry. 11-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375901584
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/13/2002
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.77 (w) x 7.27 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Girl Coming in for a Landing

A Novel in Poems
By April Halprin Wayland

Knopf Books for Young Readers

Copyright ©2002 April Halprin Wayland
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0375901582

Chapter One

POEMS FROM THROUGHOUT THE BOOK

ALL THIS SUMMER

All this summer
when I was alone,
I'd think about what he would say
and then he said it.

He did.

He'd walk with me hand in hand
in the late afternoons
along the sandbar of the Feather River.
He'd tell me, "You are the most important person in my life,"
and then he'd kiss my nose.

He would.

He'd pull leaves from my hair
and say, "Never leave me."
But I have. I've left him.
I've come back to school,
my two feet planted firmly on the ground.

I'm a teenager now.
I'll never walk with my invisible boyfriend again.

But I remember what he said.




BACK TO SCHOOL
LAST YEAR

Last year
I worried about where the rooms were
and all those kids.

I didn't know
what kind of binder to buy (three-ring?)
or how much lunch money to bring.

Last year I got my hair cut the day before school started.
Dumb me.
It was way too short that first day.

And last year I didn't know if I should buy new jeans
or if my comfortable overalls would be dorky ...
or even if anyone cared.

Last year I wasn't sure what time to set my alarm.
Last year
I was scared.


BACK TO SCHOOL
THIS YEAR

This year
I've got the perfect organizer
with pockets for every subject (except PE).

This year
I ironed my lavender shirt three days ago
and laid everything out last night.

This year
I set the alarm for six forty-five:
just right.

This year
I got my hair cut two weeks ago
so that it is exactly the right length today.

This year
I have Mr. C for science,
Mr. Barton from Tennessee for language arts

and Ms. Konigsberg
for chorus.
Aga i n .

Last year I worried: Who was I? What did I know?
This year
I put on glitter Chop Stick and go!



CARLO'S LAP

Laughing, tonight, after Christopher's party,
we pile into Yen-Mei Chen's stepfather's car.

"No room at the inn," I say softly to Leslie,
and even the kids in the front turn and grin.

We squeeze in.
The door slams shut.
I'm shoved on Carlo's lap!

words / stick
clocks /stop
blood /goes cold


The car moves.

Part of my brain still works.
It prays

never
let this
car ride
end.




IT'S PERFECTLY CLEAR

Leslie called me "unsupportive."
She said I didn't help her
make campaign posters on Friday.

Leslie called me "unsupportive."
She said she'd made it perfectly clear
she needed help on Friday.

Leslie called me
"unsupportive."
She hadn't made it clear.

Leslie
was a jerk
on Friday.




ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT


All I can think about is kissing him.

All I can write about in notes passed to Leslie

is kissing and she replies

about kissing and more.

All I can think about is kissing him and more.

GIRL COMING IN FOR A LANING


My heart
Is coming in
For a landing

Carrying a suitcase
packed with hope

I stuffed it'
Sat on it to snap the clasps

And as my heart dips from the cloud high
and slo wly descends,

finally taxiing to the gate, someone will unload my suitcase.

I am holding its tag tightly.
I have come to reclaim it.

Taking care ...
taking it
home.

Continues...


Excerpted from Girl Coming in for a Landing by April Halprin Wayland Copyright ©2002 by April Halprin Wayland. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2003

    extraordinary!

    I was sort of wary on this book before i checked it out at my school library. I opened it to read the first poem briefly and immediately checked it out! i didnt get around to starting it until 4th period spanish class after our test. i read the whole book cover to cover in 40 minutes!! it immediately became my new favorite book! it is an incredible read!

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