Wings

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Overview

Ben Delaney has a steadfast belief: Someday he will fly. He’ll sprout wings and really begin his life. But in all of his 17 years, there’s been no sign of any wings. Ben blames Gravity, his sworn enemy, for keeping him down. Yet if there’s one thing Ben isn’t, it’s a ground-dweller. He can feel his wings wanting out, just biding their time. But when will they be ready to emerge? And when will his older brother, parents, and friends accept his inevitable destiny? For flying is ...
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Wings

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Overview

Ben Delaney has a steadfast belief: Someday he will fly. He’ll sprout wings and really begin his life. But in all of his 17 years, there’s been no sign of any wings. Ben blames Gravity, his sworn enemy, for keeping him down. Yet if there’s one thing Ben isn’t, it’s a ground-dweller. He can feel his wings wanting out, just biding their time. But when will they be ready to emerge? And when will his older brother, parents, and friends accept his inevitable destiny? For flying is what Ben was born to do . . . and no one can persuade him otherwise.

From the Hardcover edition.

Ever since he was a little boy, Ben, who wanted to be called Icarus, persisted in believing that he would grow wings and would fly, a belief that perplexed and worried his family and friends.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-Ben, who prefers to be called Icarus, has been convinced since infancy that he will one day sprout wings and fly. As this debut novel is lacking slightly in the subplot department, the question of "will he or won't he" is basically the single source of page-turning propulsion throughout the first half of the book. Readers will need to make it to the homestretch to find out if the boy, who fails to fly on several attempts, ultimately soars or remains earthbound. The premise is ambitious and while Gonzalez makes it work, the story itself perhaps tries to fly a bit too high, lacking the mythological power it seeks to channel. The author keeps things aloft by employing taut, alternating first-person recollections from Ben and his empathetic older brother, Ian. Innocently rendered accounts of their early dating experiences fortunately kick in during the second half of the story, helping to keep the wings flapping by giving the tale just enough allure to sustain interest in the central question. This is a book that seems to improve slightly with each chapter; the dialogue becomes more natural, the characters more palpable. This promising first effort hints that Gonzalez is ready to take off as a fine YA author.-Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Ben wants to fly. He not only believes he should have been born with wings, but he despises any mechanical alternative and impatiently struggles to find his feathery appendages. Ian, his ground-dweller brother, alternates with Ben in telling this story of a family and child at odds. As far as his parents and brother are concerned, Ben needs to be saved from himself, but for Ben the whole world is judged by how it accepts his own sure knowledge of himself. The novel works as a metaphor for understanding identity, but even better, it also works as a suspenseful tale on its own. Starting as far back as Ben can remember and working through adolescence, reality and possibility battle with Ben's nature. The writing is clean and crisp, the chapters short. A sense of foreboding and danger builds throughout as Gonzalez gradually reveals the intensity of the conflict. Soul aerodynamics on display. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440239048
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 12/12/2006
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 208
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.19 (w) x 6.88 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Read an Excerpt

BEN

Even before I was born, I knew I could fly. I mean, I really knew I could fly. Like somewhere deep within my heart and soul lurked the magic of flight, and my task, my challenge, my life's mission, was to achieve flight. Not with machines, mind you. I wouldn't have gotten into some machine and claimed I was flying even if I was at the controls. Like if you're in a boat, are you floating or is the boat? Right . . . it's the boat floating. Without that boat you'd sink like a stone. So this was how I saw it--machines could fly, and people could operate machines. Two totally different things.
Let me tell you right off that I wasn't born with wings . . . not visible wings anyhow. Not even stubby useless ones that were surgically removed in the cold, sterile environs of some subterranean operating room. No. There were no underdeveloped little nubs poking from my sweet infant back. No extra flaps of skin connecting my arms to my torso. Nothing like that.
But I always believed I had wings. In fact, I can't tell you how many hours I spent in front of the mirror with no shirt on, searching for some sign of those wings. And, believe me, it's hard to see your own back in the mirror. You really have to twist yourself up, and if you stay that way for too long, it's miserably uncomfortable. I never saw any sign of those wings, though, no matter how hard I tried.
I decided I had some latent kind of wings, up under my skin, not yet emergent, so to speak, just snuggling in there morphing around till the time was right. Sometimes I thought I could feel them. They scratched at my skin from the inside. They wanted out!
There was something else I knew about my wings, something important. They weren't brightly feathered creations like those of birds. And any wings itching to hatch out of my back sure weren't an angel's wings. Anyone who knew me could've testified to that. Nor were my wings the tissue-thin, translucent, iridescent jewels some insects have. No.
My wings were reptilian.
You heard me. Reptilian. And I know what you're saying because I'm sure it's the same thing my brother N always used to say. "Reptiles don't have wings!" Well, just slow yourself down, because get this--dragons are reptiles and dragons have wings. So don't be in such a rush to discount my words.

IAN

My brother, Ben, who was seventeen the last time I saw him, is twenty months younger than me, but an inch taller. He has blue eyes like the ocean, and curly hair that is like my mother's wedding ring--yellow, but also gold. Ben is like fire--captivating yet unpredictable. He's smart, too. He can hear something one time and retain it for life. He never wanted to go to college, though. For Ben, higher education referred to altitude, and he said he'd achieve that when he got his wings.
Ben always did have the quicker mind of the two of us. He rarely cracked a textbook when we were growing up, yet the only thing that blew his GPA was that he never turned in his assignments. He said there had to be something better to do after school than homework, and the thing he was talking about was flying. From my earliest memories, Ben thought he could fly. I don't mean in a plane or anything like that. I mean like a bird. Or a dragon, to be truly accurate. It drove our mother crazy. She'd be in the kitchen peeling potatoes or cleaning fish, and out of the window she'd see Ben jumping from a tree or off the roof of the barn. She'd run out of the house trying to stop him, but she never reached him in time.

IAN

Ben must have been about a year old when he had his first major showdown with Gravity. He was such an innocent-looking little thing, with all these soft gold curls surrounding him like a halo gone haywire. Ben didn't learn to walk, he learned to run. Everywhere he went, those little legs would be going like the scissors of a manic hairdresser. Ben was always busy, always moving.
Usually we had baby gates at the top and the bottom of the stairs, but that morning my father had bought a secondhand chest of drawers at the flea market, so he removed the baby gates to get the chest up the stairs. To Ben, that was an invitation. He ran down the upstairs hall, flailing his arms like an angry chicken in a rainstorm. He ran right off the stairs, flapping his arms and pumping his legs, and tumbled all the way down in a noisy symphony of bumps and thumps. I stood on the landing, astonished at what my baby brother had just done. My parents came running: my father from the kitchen, where he was making lunch; my mother from our bedroom, where she was filling the new chest of drawers with our clothes.
"Ben," my mother cried out, and she raced down the stairs. By this point my father had scooped Ben from the floor and was cradling him in his arms. "Is he hurt?" my mother asked frantically.
"I'm not sure," said my father, using his thumb to brush the blood away from a cut on Ben's forehead. "Doesn't seem to be. Not seriously, anyway. Cuts and bruises."
Ben wasn't even crying. But he was furious. He kept saying, "Why didn't my wings work? Why?" Course my parents weren't sure what he was saying because they were so flustered, but I understood his babyspeak perfectly.

BEN

I remember when I was born. After nudging Mom a few gentle times from her dark, warm interior, I was delivered into the world. A healthy little full-term squawker, thrashing his arms. The midwife told Mom she'd never seen a baby thrash so! Well, of course I was thrashing . . . I was feeling for my wings. And I can tell you I was surefire mad that they didn't show themselves to me right off.
There N was, a serene, quiet little tyke sucking his thumb and looking at me like I was the devil himself! I don't suppose he was expecting me when Mom told him a surprise was coming along.
I asked N in baby language where his wings were, but he just kept chomping on that thumb. Must have tasted like chocolate milk or something. I saw him there and thought maybe his wings were underneath that extra skin he had on. It was actually his shirt, but I didn't know it at the time.
It took me a while to realize that my very brother had no wings. He used to get so mad at me when I prodded and poked at his back looking for them.
"Lie down, N, on your stomach. I wanna look at your back."
"What er ya looking for, Ben?"
"Yer wings." I rubbed his back all over, but I couldn't find any wings.
"Not again, Ben."
"Just lemme look."

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 11, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    This Book Is Good!!!!!!

    i bought this book, read it and i thought it was good. I like how it starts at Ben's birth and goes on from there.This book is readable and has an unexpected twist at the end. GET THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2014

    Ronnie

    Here.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2013

    Leader den/ medicen den

    This is on the ground so its in a cave were water trinkles down a small water fall. The cave has craks for herbs an a big tunnel that is covered with ferns that leads to the leaders part of the den were paws prents of the anchent cats.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2013

    Leaderden / bios

    Soarstar of Wingclan

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    Help

    Wwhen does he get the wings.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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