Synopsis according to Goodreads:
"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. For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful."
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is one of those rare books that defies genre. Is it a children's book, or an adult's book posing as a children's book? The answer is yes.
In the style of Alice in Wonderland, this book is delightfully convention-defying. At its self-aware surface, it's a story of one girl's adventures in fairyland.
But every action and observation holds a deeper truth about growing up, growing older, becoming yourself...and its the darker, heart-breaking truths. Still, with all its delightful prose, these dark truths don't make the story depressing, they just add depth.
This story plays on well-known fairytales (the Grimm's version, not the Disney version, thankfully). The main character, September, is an excellent role model for a young girl, without the story seeming to be preachy. I don't have children of my own, but I think this story would be delightful for both adults and children...especially read to children by their parents.
The book also contains whimsical little drawings that match the action of the story. I like the style of the drawings, though I felt there should have been more of them.
I am definitely going to read the sequel, and I recommend this to the young, young at heart, fans of whimsy and fairytales, fans of strong female characters, and those who appreciate the tongue-in-cheek.
Labels: book review, catherynne m valente, children, fairy, fantasy, female protagonist, fiction, the girl who circumnavigated fairyland in a ship of her own making, whimsical, YA