I believe this was a standalone book, not a short story. I read it probably 10 to 15 years ago. It was a children's book. All I remember is one scene. I'm 99% sure the protagonist was male but it could possibly have been a girl.

This boy is a preteen or young teen, and has these mysterious itchy nubs suddenly start growing between his shoulderblades on his back. He does a lot of looking in the mirror to try to figure out what they are. Finally something pokes through and he tries to grab it and pull on it but is rewarded with searing pain as a result. Eventually feathery wings sprout. I think he tries to hide them from his family.

It doesn't seem to be "Black and Blue Magic," since the boy in that story used a potion to grow his wings, nor "Wings" by Aprilynne Pike or Bill Brittain.

Update: I've found the book "Wings" by E. D. Baker, which I have certainly read. It's about a girl who grows fairy wings out of her back after a lot of itching and soreness. I'm beginning to wonder if I just amalgamated several books into one and it doesn't really exist...

  • Is the boy definitely human? Unknowingly growing wing cases which eventually split open to reveal functional wings happens to Farree in Flight in Yiktor by Norton, but Farree is definitely not human. (Humanoid, but short and green.)
    – DavidW
    Dec 3, 2019 at 17:23
  • Any chance you read that in French? Or that it could have been translated from French?
    – Jenayah
    Dec 3, 2019 at 17:28
  • 1
    Are you sure it was a boy? This happens in Cory Doctorow's Someone Comes To Town, Someone Leaves Town but it was a woman. Dec 3, 2019 at 17:36
  • I definitely couldn't have read it IN French, but it could have been translated to English from French.
    – Boop
    Dec 3, 2019 at 17:48
  • David, I've read through a pdf of Flight in Yiktor and unfortunately it doesn't seem familiar. Someone Comes To Town, Someone Leaves Town is definitely not right. I specifically remember the child trying to pull on the thing s/he sees coming out of the bump and having it hurt too much to continue.
    – Boop
    Dec 3, 2019 at 17:53

1 Answer 1


Could it be that you’re talking about Wings, the first book of the The Mysterious Mr. Spines series? It’s by Jason Lethcoe.

Front cover of Wings

When Edward’s mother dies, his aunt sends him to a school for troubled youths. There, Edward develops an itch in his back that he can’t scratch, and when he gets angry it seems like he can move things with his mind. When the itch erupts into a set of wings, an evil teacher tries to cut them off. Edward is rescued by Mr. Spines, who reveals that Edward is a Guardian, a magical being who guards and guides souls in the Woodbine, a stopover between life and death. Edward will now have to battle the most evil force in the Woodbine, the Jackal, and his army of fallen Guardians. They have destroyed the bridges that lead to the afterlife, trapping countless souls. Edward is unprepared for so much responsibility and he runs away and becomes lost in the Woodbine. There he must find his own voice and learn to master his powers as he is pulled from side to side by magical forces he is only beginning to understand.

  • 1
    Welcome to SciFi.SE! Could you explain how it matches the description given in the question?
    – F1Krazy
    Dec 19, 2020 at 17:47
  • Added some details to your answer from Goodreads. Feel free to edit more in.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Dec 19, 2020 at 18:17
  • Oh my goodness I think you're correct!!! I'm astonished! I for sure thought I had completely made it up at this point! I'm going to mark it as correct, since it matches the best. I think I may well have mixed it up a bit with "Wings" by Baker as well.
    – Boop
    Dec 20, 2020 at 1:29

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