24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland,
This review is from: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Hardcover)This book felt very much like The Phantom Tollbooth to me. It starts with a precocious, bored 12-year-old girl named September (even though she was born in May) being spirited off to Fairyland by the Green Wind. Once she gets through Customs, she is left to her own devices to make her way. She chooses the path that promises that she will lose her heart (a better bargain than losing her way, her life or her mind, she reasons). She comes upon three witches who tell her that they need a magical spoon that was stolen from them, so September grandly decides that stealing the spoon from the evil Marquess shall be her quest. She sets off to do so, meeting all sorts of wonderful characters along the way, such as El the Wyvern, who becomes her very best friend, and Saturday the Marid, who can grant wishes. And, as expected, she loses her heart and gains a lot of courage along the way.
If I were to sum up this book in one word, that word would be whimsical. But that wouldn't be fair because by the end of this book, there is a lot that is not whimsical. Like much young adult fiction, it's written for people at the cusp of becoming adults, realizing that their decisions have consequences and that the way they act says a lot about them. And so September thinks through every decision and never gives up, even when she is tired and homesick and lost. She is such a kind person and reminds me in a way of Bod, from The Graveyard Book. She opens her heart to all sorts of lost souls, absolutely certain of the fact that everyone deserves respect and dignity, and fighting hard to give it to them.
There are so many delights in this book and I won't ruin any of them for you, I promise. I feel the ending opens the story up for the possibility of a sequel, and I hope there is one. But if there isn't, I think the ending was quite lovely as it was. If I've piqued your interest at all, much of the story (except the ending) is available online, at Catherynne Valente's website. If you enjoy tales of whimsy and magic, I highly recommend checking it out!