The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente, could give Alice in Wonderland a run for her money. The spunky, plucky young heroine named September takes a no-nonsense approach to her adventures in Fairyland — in a fresh new tale that readers young and old alike will find delightful.
Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland.
September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday. With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when the author first posted it online.
Valente’s writing style is quirky, plucky, and unique — giving a fresh voice to middle grade fiction. Her book really surpasses the idea of “middle grade” or YA fiction, however. This story first gained a following online, as Valente posted the story in installments. That crossover adult appeal is apparent in every page of the book.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is a story that will enchant younger readers with its magic and whimsy, while drawing in older readers as it harkens back to stories they remember from their own youths. The book is both an homage to the classic fairy tale, while also making its own stamp on the genre.
More than anything, it proves that you’re never too old for magic and adventure and wishes.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is in stores now.