________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 30. . . .April 4, 2014


Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldnít Fly.

P. T. Jones. [Pseudonym for Stephen Graham Jones & Paul Tremblay.]
Toronto, ON: ChiTeen Publications (Distributed by HarperCollins Canada), 2014.
263 pp., trade pbk. & eBook, $14.99 (pbk.), $9.99 (eBook).
ISBN 978-1-77148-173-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-77148-174-8 (eBook).

Grades 7-10 / Ages 12-15.

Review by Ann Ketcheson.

**** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



The other adults flow down the porch steps and look up. Itís really bright and the sun is directly behind the top of the tree. Everyone squints like me. Aunt Beth says, ďGet down from there,Ē and her voice is the one you use on your dog when itís up on the couch again.

And now the boyís lost in the brightness somehow. The whole tree shakes. Heís up in the thickest part of the tree.

I step back, looking up, and I keep going until I back into the kiddie pool, which takes me out behind my knees. My soccer calves are no help and I splash down butt-first into the water. No one is watching me, so no one laughs or asks if Iím okay. Iím not okay.

There, heís at the top. Definitely. Am I the only one who can---?

The light branches bend under his weight, and then he just leaps forward, into the air, into nothing.

There are screams all around, but he doesnít fall, doesnít plummet, doesnít make a body imprint on the lawn like some cartoon character. He just hangs in the air like heís getting his grip.

And then he rises.

The sun is behind him so heís a shadow. He moves his arms and legs, but I canít tell if itís gaining him any sort of direction. He drifts away, up and to the left, and somersaults in the air a few times.

Everyone is out in the yard. The kids laugh and wave. The adults grab and claw at each other, terrified. They try to herd the children away. And the kids, they only start crying because they want to watch. They want to see that other boy, that older one, the one floating away like a lost balloon.


Mary is a freshman high school student and a super soccer player. She also has anxiety attacks. Her father doesnít have a job. Her little brother is kidnapped. She has to deal with a mad scientist if she is going to save her brother and the rest of her community from some strange plague. Most of her extended family are, well, crazy. Her best ally is a boy whom she really doesnít know very well. Oh, and by the way, this boy is able to float through the air.

     Enter the world of P.T. Jones, and the surprises keep coming page after page in this young adult novel which is a mix of adventure, science fiction, fantasy and a love story. Mary is a feisty young woman who is not afraid to say what she thinks and do whatever it takes to fight for what she believes. She has a tough exterior, but when it comes to her little brother, we see the genuine person inside. She has no intention of falling in love, and she certainly canít fly, but somehow Floating Boy wins her heart as he helps her take on the madman Barron and his crazy plans. Barron wants to experiment with viruses and cures and really doesnít care who gets in his way or who he hurts in the process.

     The novel is an interesting juxtaposition of ordinary life in a high school and small town where Mary texts her friends, sneaks out of the house when her parents ground her, and deals with the jerk who is a football star...... and the imaginary fantasy world where lots of people float and fly around. Interestingly, children and teens have this particular skill; the adults who contract the same virus merely become very ill.

     Mary cannot fly like Floating Boy and some of her friends, but, in the end, she finds that she, too, has special skills and talents which are equally amazing once discovered. Readers will identify with her at every stage of the story. They will understand the anger and frustration which often erupt in her and then will applaud her as she focuses on rescuing her little brother regardless of the obstacles thrown at her.

     This young adult novel has energy, humour and imagination and presents some typical themes in a very untypical manner. Floating Boy and Mary both come to life and encourage readers to join the ride and fly along with them!

Highly Recommended.

Ann Ketcheson is a retired high school teacher-librarian and teacher of English and French who lives in Ottawa, ON. She canít fly, but sheíd like to!

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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