I just finished Catherynne Valente’s exquisite second YA novel, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, which is the sequel to the also breathtaking (in more than one way) The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. As far as I can tell, Valente is not British, just plain ol’ American, but she puts me in mind of all sorts of quintessentially British authors, such as E. Nesbit, Lewis Carroll, Douglass Adams, and Jasper Fforde. Her use of language is what makes her work so distinctive, and when combined with her brilliant wit, reading is a joy.
In both of the novels, our heroine, September, is swept into Fairyland, where she uses her pluck and good sense to save entire civilizations of creatures she’s never met before and still gets home in time for dinner. As usual. However, it is not as usual at all. Valente’s creatures are original and her world-building is convincing. We love September and are proud of her courage. Although September is twelve in the first novel and thirteen in the second, Valente’s humor will please adults at age, well, fifty-four, as well.
I can highly recommend these two books to fantasy-lovers from a precocious ten to a young-at-heart one hundred.