Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

The Anatomy of Wings

The Anatomy of Wings

Spring 2009 Fiction
Ages: 14 & Up
Author: Karen Foxlee
ISBN: 978-0-375-85643-3
Hardcover Price: $16.99
Karen Foxlee’s exquisitely written debut is a somber coming-of-age. Her whispery style fits the material as well as its 10-year-old narrator, Jennifer Day, like a glove.

The story begins just after the funeral of Jennifer’s older sister Beth – a beautiful and bright but troubled girl who gets lost in the fog of adolescence and doesn’t find her way out. In attempting to learn what really happened to her older sister, Jennifer works to piece together events, people and behaviors. She observes first friendships, first loves and sexual awareness, as well as the well-meaning helplessness of adults, capturing and recounting it all through Foxlee’s gift for detail.

In conjunction with the Days’ story is the fabric of Dardanelle’s Court where they live. Foxlee skillfully weaves the stories of the neighbors who quietly watch the family unravel in individual narratives – each tragic and touching in its own right.

The “wings “of the title is a metaphor that ties into the narrator’s encyclopedic obsession with birds. There’s a lovely scene near the end incorporating this theme that perfectly punctuates this moving story. The Anatomy of Wings is one of those Young Adult novels that make adult readers question the distinction.

Teresa DiFalco   ©2009 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is an award-winning ghostwriter, writer, and mother in Vancouver, Washington. She's been a contributing editor for Parents' Choice for over ten years. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a decent soufflé.

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