Set in the future of our grandchildren, the newest must have toy of the rich and famous is not a fast car or smart phone but actual wings. The dream of flight is made real but only for the elite able to afford the radical surgery. The space between the have and have nots grows larger as those with wings become more, better, than human. The fliers have their own floating spaces

Peri, whilst young, is remarkably driven and is prepared to sacrifice everything for the chance to own her own wings; however, she discovers a much more sinister plot under the glamour of the Flier world and goes on the run with her employers’ baby.

Private detective, Ezekiel (Zeke) Fowler (the name Ezekiel is a nod to the Hebrew prophet and Fowler an ironic nod to the chicken that can’t sustain long distance flight) is brought in to track her down and is allowed to observe a social circle he can never be a part of. Zeke struggles with the whole wings or no wings as his ex-wife pushes for their son to be given the procedure, knowing that his son would be entering a world he can not follow.

I went into it thinking When We Have Wings would be the usual young adult novel and, whilst one of the main characters is quite young, it surprised me with how well the narrative explored the political and ethical issues of gaining wings, symbolically representing many of the contentious issues of what makes us human as well as suggesting the futility of going against the current of mainstream ideals and beliefs. It had a hopeful ending, though, which was bitter sweet, but complimented the novel’s didactic nature as a whole.

Definitely worth a re-read.

For more insight on this amazing novel, check out my friend Stef’s review of this and many other awesome cool books at her blog dodging commas.