The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
The Skinny: 12 year old September is whisked away by the Green Wind to Fairyland where she sets out on an adventure, meeting a Wyvern and a varied, colorful cast of characters along the way. But Fairyland is in turmoil, their beloved Queen Mallow overthrown by the evil Marquess. When September visits the Marquess on a mission to steal back a Spoon for a witch named Goodbye, she is forced to recover a sword from a casket for the Marquess or face her friend being killed. And so September sets off, unaware of the perils that lie ahead of her and what her future brings.
BFF?: I seriously ADORED September. She was so sweet and polite and caring, but was also courageous, brave, and daring. September was all those wonderful things about a character that I love, a tiny bit heartless and wholly confused about her role. I would LOVE to be her BFF, to go on adventures through Fairyland with her.
Readability: The entire time I read this I thought “I REALLY want to read this to a kid!” and “Man, I wish I was listening to someone read this to me!” It just had that feel to it. The narrator’s voice was so story-telling like that it was almost like a bedtime story. (Of course, there were a few scenes that weren’t quite bedtime story appropriate… if you know what I mean).
Crush Level: 2
There wasn’t really a love interest per se, but there was a kind of cutesy love story for the future that was hinted at towards the end. Saturday, a Marid boy who September rescues, sort of served as a love interest… you know, a 12 year old’s love interest. And not modern day 12 year olds… I’m talking 1940s 12 year old when they were actually still KIDS. He was just so sweet and cute and timid that I just wanted to ruff up his hair and pinch his cheeks!
Y’all… this world is tight. Valente definitely knows her stuff when it comes to world building and uses so many lush descriptions that I could perfectly visualize everything! And it wasn’t just the Fairyland I’ve always imagined; it was fresh and new and different, filled with parts I couldn’t have dreamed up if I tried.
I love coats. I have coats for all occasions. I probably own more coats than a Yankee. September is given the Green Wind’s coat, a long green one that is alive and forms to fit September and eventually loves her. Seriously, I want a coat like this!
Commencement Speech: I’ve kind of been putting this book off for a while now, although I don’t know why. I loved every minute of this one! There were so many visuals in it, from the elaborate and vivid descriptions to the lushness of the entire Fairyland. I think what I enjoyed most of all is that this book broke any preconceived notions I had about this world. It wasn’t nearly as dark and scary as I had once thought, but at the same time there were dark and scary places. I loved how it bordered on childhood and adulthood, how the themes weaved back and forth. I imagine this is how September felt the entire time she was there. Very excellent read and I’m so glad I finally got to it!
Yearbook Quote: “Stories have a way of changing faces. They are unruly things, undisciplined, given to delinquency and the throwing of erasers. This is why we must close them up into thick, solid books, so they cannot get out and cause trouble.”
Superlatives – Best Fairytale EVER
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