Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010. 978-1416983101.
Synopsis: Eva Nine has lived her whole life in an underground Sanctuary with Muthr, the robot who raised her. But when her home is attacked by an alien assassin hunter, Eva and Muthr are forced to flee to the surface, which is a much different world than either girl or robot imagined. The only clue to her continued survival is a small scrap of paper with an image of a girl, an adult, and a robot that reads ‘WondLa’, and now Eva must travel across the planet in search of WondLa and the answers about from where she came and if there are others like her.
Why I picked it up: Honestly? It was a thick book. I like thick books. And modern epic fantasy.
Why I finished it: Don’t let the heftiness of this book deter you from picking it up. DiTerlizzi has created for the reader a fantasy world that draws on the science fiction tradition and a heroine that reminds us of what it is like to have one foot still in childhood and the other stepping toward adulthood. We are drawn into Eva’s world almost immediately because it is familiar to us, but the more the story continues, we find ourselves with a sense of wonder and confusion. One of the most interesting tidbits within the story was the advice Muthr offers to Eva as she is escaping her Sanctuary: trust technology. It struck an interesting chord with me, as we now live in a world in which we are dependent upon technology for keeping up on communications, current events, etc. Few of us can leave the house without our smartphones or be away from a computer for more than an hour at a time. This belief that must Eva trust technology – namely the small Omnipod that will aid in her ability to navigate to safety on the surface – becomes a point to be contended, especially when she discovers that the technology she has available to her will have a very minor role in her survival. The reader cheers for Eva and her friends because they’re imperfect. They start their journeys with a sense of trepidation, a goal to reach, and find themselves searching instead for what was most needed, not what was wanted. It’s a delightful fantasy adventure that will enchant readers of all ages.
Other related materials: A Hero for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi; The Battle for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi; Kenny & the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi; The Spiderwick Chronicles series by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black; Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerizzi and Holly Black; The Wildwood Chronicles books by Colin Meloy, illustrations by Carson Ellis; The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente, illustrated by Ana Juan; The Girl who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente, illustrated by Ana Juan; The Girl who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente, illustrated by Ana Juan; The Boy who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente, illustrated by Ana Juan; Zita the Spacegirl books by Ben Hatke; The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C Wrede; Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi; The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John A. Flanagan; The Overland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins