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Literature / The Girl Who Could Fly

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The Girl Who Could Fly is a book by Victoria Forester that starts out with your typical farm girl in your typical Midwestern town. Her hobbies include milking cows, speaking in a Funetik Aksent, and practicing her flying skills. Wait, what?

It's Little House on the Prairie meets X-Men (or inFAMOUS: Second Son if that floats your boat). The story follows Piper McCloud from birth, where her family discovers that she can float. Her parents try to keep her from the other children and convince her that floating is bad, but an insatiable curiosity soon grips hold of her, and one day she jumps off the roof to try flying. Luckily, she succeeds. It's not long before word gets out, and we learn that a town that could, as far as we know, be in the 1860s is still in the modern age as a helicopter arrives to take her to the Institute of Normalcy, Stability, And Non-Exceptionality. Just look at the acronym if the name doesn't convey the intention well enough.


A sequel, The Boy Who Knew Everything, was released in 2015. Another sequel, The Girl Who Fell Out of the Sky, was released in 2020.


  • Alliterative Name: Pretty much everyone in Lowland County apart from Piper and her family have alliterative names (Junie Jane, Millie Mae, Sally Sue)
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Piper is very lonely in Lowland County, thanks to her parent's insistence that she keep her powers secret.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: Millie Mae is mentioned to have kicked her dog for no reason other than she could, and she's a gossip hound who spreads rumors about Piper to ostracize her and bully Betty.
  • Blue Blood: Conrad is from a very wealthy old-money family.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Dr. Hellion is obsessed with turning powered kids normal, but she can fly.
  • Break the Cutie: Piper. She is tortured for weeks and when she is seen again, has broken legs and has been brainwashed. She gets better.
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  • Brought Down to Normal: INSANE's plan is to do this to every creature with superpowers using physical and psychological torture. It works with Bella and Piper, though in her case it is reversed.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture:
    • Dr. Hellion breaks Piper's legs and mindwipes her through torture.
    • The rest of the creatures in INSANE get tortured, as they cannot be psychologically broken.
  • Commonality Connection: Piper and Sally Sue bond over strawberry ice cream.
  • Covers Always Lie: Inverted in one of the mainstream covers which features Piper flying while Dr. Hellion pursues her and gives away a major plot twist. Of course, you could assume that it was a metaphor for Dr. Hellion holding the children down, or that she was just hanging on to Piper.
  • Disney Villain Death: Dr. Hellion allows herself to fall and drops into the mountains, where it's very unlikely she survived.
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  • Disproportionate Retribution: Conrad's reaction to having his project changed.
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: Bella can produce a rainbow.
  • Flight: Piper can fly. While it makes her a pariah in Lowland County, she is considered exceptional even among other superpowered children. Dr. Hellion has this power too, but she suppressed it after causing her sister's death.
  • Freudian Excuse: Dr. Hellion used to fly, until she accidentally dropped her sister in a storm and killed her. She suppressed the memory, which turned into a violent hatred of all things special.
  • Funetik Aksent:
    • Professor Mumbleby has a thick German accent, and it makes him hard to understand.
    • Piper has a southern accent, and uses many odd colloquialisms in the book.
  • Happily Adopted: At the end of the book, Betty and Joe take in Conrad.
  • Healing Hands: Jasper discovers his hands have healing powers when he heals Piper's legs.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Piper's powers made her a pariah in Lowland County. She is delighted to make friends at INSANE.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Conrad's an Insufferable Genius, but he really wants to stop Dr. Hellion from removing their powers.
  • Kill the Cutie: Sebastian, the cute cricket Piper saves from the lab, is killed by Dr. Hellion.
  • Love at First Sight: Boris to Lily.
  • Meaningful Name: One of the best-known light aircraft is the Piper Cub. Piper's last name, McCloud, is even more blatant.
  • Meaningful Rename: Conrad agrees to give up his last name after his parents disown him.
  • Mind over Matter: Lily has telekinetic abilities.
  • Mundane Solution: After all the elaborate plans to break out, Piper and the others just go to Dr. Hellion's office and let her know they are taking over the facility. They then lock up the guards, rescue and heal the other organisms, and let themselves out. It's pretty hard to stop a bunch of superpowered kids, after all.
  • Mundane Utility: Discussed when the kids decide what they want to do with their powers when they grow up. Most want to do things that would end up on this page, although Smitty does want to go into crime-fighting (as a detective, which his X-Ray Vision would be useful for). The epilogue reveals that many of the kids are at these jobs.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
    • Would you really expect anything good from a woman named Dr. Hellion?
    • Doubles with Fun with Acronyms: I.N.S.A.N.E, or the Institute of Normality, Stability, And Non- Exceptionality, wants to remove powers from all powered creatures — a rather insane goal.
  • Not Quite Dead After seemingly falling to her death, Dr. Hellion is revealed to have survived in the sequel.
  • The Noun Who Verbed: The title is The Girl who Could Fly.
  • Parental Abandonment: Conrad's parents were wealthy and villainous, and disowned Conrad for his power.
  • Personality Powers:
    • Piper, the idealist, can fly.
    • The extremely shy Violet literally shrinks smaller and smaller the shyer she feels.
  • Pink Is for Sissies: Junie Jane is not a soft girl: she hates pink.
  • Power of Friendship: Piper is delighted with getting along with the other children at the institute.
  • Punny Name: A lot. Names tend to reflect personalities or powers.
    • Piper McCloud (flying)
    • Bella Lovely (positivity)
    • Violet (shrinks when embarrassed)
  • Shrinking Violet: A very literal example with Violet. Violet is an extremely shy girl who even shrinks when embarrassed.
  • Shock and Awe: Kimber's power is shooting lightening out of her hands.
  • Taken for Granite: Boris can turn people and things to dirt.
  • Too Clever by Half: Conrad reflects on the fact that for all his intelligence, he has information rather than answers, and his Insufferable Genius nature prevents him from seeing the answers.
  • Twin Banter: Nalen and Ahmed Mustafa. They are identical twins, banter a lot and are always Finishing Each Other's Sentences.
  • Weather Manipulation: Nalen and Ahmed can create storms.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Piper.
  • Wonder Child: Subverting most of it.
  • Worthy Opponent: Lily regards Piper as this when the latter puts two and two together and manages to foil a prank involving a glass full of water.
  • Youthful Freckles: Piper is a small girl and has freckles. She doesn't like them.