Cover image for Girl coming in for a landing : a novel in poems
Girl coming in for a landing : a novel in poems
Wayland, April Halprin.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Knopf, 2002.
Physical Description:
134 pages ; 19 cm
A collection of over 100 poems recounting the ups and downs of one adolescent girl's school year.
Reading Level:
710 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.2 1.0 62557.

Reading Counts RC High School 6.1 5 Quiz: 31862 Guided reading level: NR.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Young Adult
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

On Order



You walk into class-- my head clears. No kidding. You are my aspirin. One girl. One school year. All poems. From friends to first dates, school dances to family fights, this inspiring collection captures the emotional highs and lows of teen life with refreshing honesty and humor. With an authentic voice full of wit and insight, Girl Coming In for a Landing is just like high school: impossible to walk away from unchanged. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 6-12. Wayland, the author of It's Not My Turn to Look for Grandma (1995), offers an intimate, free-verse portrait of contemporary high school that is reminiscent of Mel Glenn's work. The poems follow the teenage speaker through a school year as she wrestles with common insecurities, thrills, triumphs, and humiliations. She looks forward to getting her period ("I'm going to be so thrilled I'm going to call it my / Exclamation Point"), weathers the highs and lows of a fierce crush, and yearns to be a writer. Some of the poems' observations are forgettable or cliched, and the lackluster format, in tones of gray, diminishes the quirky, scrapbooklike collages and makes the text difficult to read. Still, Wayland's spare lines and unpretentious words get right to the heart of situations and emotions, and the familiarity and candor in the speaker's voice--warm and authentic--will invite teens to value the small moments in their own experiences and put them into verse. An afterword offers more encouragement. Gillian Engberg.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Adopting the voice of a sensitive girl approaching adolescence, Wayland (It's Not My Turn to Look for Grandma!) fashions a sequence of poems unfolding over the course of a school year. The speaker takes on such topics as kissing games, crushes and close relationships ("Leslie sprinkles my path/ with wonders/ under the grin/ of the moon"). Toward the end of the collection, she shares the excitement of having her first poem published ("I woke up early,/ my body buzzy/ like a playground ball boing-ing down a long hallway"). While Wayland essentially captures the truth of the age, the poems themselves are uneven. Memorable images and sweet sentiments coexist with well-worn observations (addressing her older sister, the narrator says, "I still sometimes/ want to be you./ Did you/ ever want to be/ me?") and some preciousness ("Carlo plays cello. He's mellow./ Frank's full of drama and trauma." While the novel-in-verse format has been more effectively deployed elsewhere (e.g., Sonya Sones's What My Mother Doesn't Know or Virginia Euwer Wolff's Make Lemonade and True Believer), this work succeeds in making reading and writing poetry more accessible to teens who may otherwise find these tasks intimidating. Wayland's endnote includes specific suggestions for writing and submitting poems, noting that her Web site lists places where young writers can get published. Final artwork not seen by PW. Ages 12-up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7-9-This "novel in poems" covers the school year of a girl who is young enough to be shaving her legs for the first time but old enough to be learning how to kiss. Between fall and spring, she goes from an imaginary boyfriend to a real one to the loss of that boyfriend: "-all the space in the world/wouldn't be enough for him/and as close as he could ever come to me/would never/be close enough for me." From the humiliation of getting the "Susie Spineless Award" at the drama party to the exhilaration of having a poem published in a magazine, the unnamed heroine is a girl in transition, with all the intensity of emotion associated with adolescence. Readers will relate to her boredom in school: "Fed up with this dull/class, my mind pecks open its/cage and flies away." Other observations are more personal. Wayland remembers this time of life well; in fact, some of the poems are based on her own journals. She uses simple language in a graceful yet direct way. Readers will also find the book's compact size and sophisticated mixed-media illustrations on most pages appealing. Similar in form to Sonya Sones's Stop Pretending (HarperCollins, 1999), this is a quieter, more episodic, and perhaps more universal tale.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



POEMS FROM THROUGHOUT THE BOOK ALL THIS SUMMER All this summer when I was alone, I'd think about what he would say and then he said it. He did. He'd walk with me hand in hand in the late afternoons along the sandbar of the Feather River. He'd tell me, "You are the most important person in my life," and then he'd kiss my nose. He would. He'd pull leaves from my hair and say, "Never leave me." But I have. I've left him. I've come back to school, my two feet planted firmly on the ground. I'm a teenager now. I'll never walk with my invisible boyfriend again. But I remember what he said. BACK TO SCHOOL LAST YEAR Last year I worried about where the rooms were and all those kids. I didn't know what kind of binder to buy (three-ring?) or how much lunch money to bring. Last year I got my hair cut the day before school started. Dumb me. It was way too short that first day. And last year I didn't know if I should buy new jeans or if my comfortable overalls would be dorky ... or even if anyone cared. Last year I wasn't sure what time to set my alarm. Last year I was scared. BACK TO SCHOOL THIS YEAR This year I've got the perfect organizer with pockets for every subject (except PE). This year I ironed my lavender shirt three days ago and laid everything out last night. This year I set the alarm for six forty-five: just right. This year I got my hair cut two weeks ago so that it is exactly the right length today. This year I have Mr. C for science, Mr. Barton from Tennessee for language arts and Ms. Konigsberg for chorus. Aga i n . Last year I worried: Who was I? What did I know? This year I put on glitter Chop Stick and go! CARLO'S LAP Laughing, tonight, after Christopher's party, we pile into Yen-Mei Chen's stepfather's car. "No room at the inn," I say softly to Leslie, and even the kids in the front turn and grin. We squeeze in. The door slams shut. I'm shoved on Carlo's lap! words / stick clocks /stop blood /goes cold The car moves. Part of my brain still works. It prays never let this car ride end. IT'S PERFECTLY CLEAR Leslie called me "unsupportive." She said I didn't help her make campaign posters on Friday. Leslie called me "unsupportive." She said she'd made it perfectly clear she needed help on Friday. Leslie called me "unsupportive." She hadn't made it clear. Leslie was a jerk on Friday. ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT All I can think about is kissing him. All I can write about in notes passed to Leslie is kissing and she replies about kissing and more. All I can think about is kissing him and more. GIRL COMING IN FOR A LANING My heart Is coming in For a landing Carrying a suitcase packed with hope I stuffed it' Sat on it to snap the clasps And as my heart dips from the cloud high and slo wly descends, finally taxiing to the gate, someone will unload my suitcase. I am holding its tag tightly. I have come to reclaim it. Taking care ... taking it home. Excerpted from Girl Coming in for a Landing: A Novel in Poems by April Halprin Wayland All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.