Feiwel and Friends, 2012. 978-0-312-64962-3
Synopsis: September has longed to go back to Fairyland ever since her first adventure came to an end. But when she does return, she finds that not all is well in this land she has come to love. Magic and the shadows are leaving Fairyland-Above and being invited to Fairyland-Below, ruled by Halloween the Hollow Queen, and the only way to make things right again is to wake the sleeping prince at the bottom of the world. So September ventures below to find her friends and to make things right and well again.
Why I picked it up: I loved The Girl Who Circumnavigated and when I found out there was a follow-up, I immediately went to the library to check it out.
Why I finished it: The story is a wonderful mixture of the familiar, the unfamiliar, fantasy, mythology, legend, and adventure. Valente’s world is rich with strange characters that burst from the pages and invite you to join them as the plot unfolds. September is now thirteen, and no longer being a child, has come into the possession of a heart, which adds another element to her character: she is no longer so carefree as her first adventure in Fairyland, but she is always seeking to do the right thing. The story was well-paced and doesn’t seem to waste a lot of time going down rabbit holes, as there is a temptation to do, but Valente makes sure to tie in every element introduced into the bigger picture of the journey to the bottom of the world. In many ways, the book reminds me of The Wizard of Oz or the Harry Potter books in that there are larger forces at work in the world, some that would seek to help us and some that would hinder us. The ending is as delightfully sweet as it is curious, leaving the reader wondering and wanting more.
Other related materials: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente; The Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Garden by Catherynne M. Valente; The Orphans’s Tales: In the Cities of Coin and Spice by Catherynne M Valente; Gregor the Overlander books by Suzanne Collins; Wonder by R.J. Palacio; “Who Could That Be At This Hour?”(All the Wrong Questions) by Lemony Snicket; The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy, illustrated by Todd Harris; Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz; The Wildwood Chronicles books by Colin Meloy; Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier; A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle; The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech; The Chronicles of Kazam books by Jasper Fforde; Books of Beginning series by John Stephens; Search for Wondla series by Tony DiTerlizzi; The Enchated Forest Chronicles books by Patricia C. Wrede