Book Report: Our highly scientific analysis of a book, from the characters to the writing style to the swoon. See More...
Required Reading: Your life will be meaningless if you haven't read these superstars of literature. See More...

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Made Of Win

A book review of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente, a fairy tale that has the potential to be a new classic.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Made Of Win

BOOK REPORT for The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland Book 1) by Catherynne M. Valente

Cover Story: Cover Win
BFF Charm: Yes!
Swoonworthy Scale: N/A
Talky Talk: Imaginative
Bonus Factor: Alice In Wonderland
Relationship Status: Should Have Been My Childhood BFF

Cover Story: Cover Win

Of course I love this cover! I keep whining about how middle-grade gets the best covers and it KEEPS BEING TRUE. I love the faux leather-bound book look to the cover. And I obviously love the cover illustration. Inside the book, there is a beautiful black and white illustration at the beginning of each chapter. Why oh why don't adult or YA books get illustrations?

The Deal:

12 year old September is a normal enough young girl from Nebraska, when one day the Green Wind arrives at her kitchen window and spirits her away to Fairyland on the back on a flying leopard. If that seems extraordinary, it is nothing compared to the people September meets and places she sees throughout her journey in Fairyland. She makes friends like Ell, the half wyvern-half library beast whose wings are locked down and who knows everything about anything whose name starts with A through L. And friends like Saturday, a young boy who is more or less a water genie. But unfortunately, there is The Marquess. A seemingly young girl who has conquered Fairyland from a once-loved Queen, The Marquess rules Fairyland with an iron (literally) fist and forces September out on a dangerous journey.

The book trailer doesn't tell you much more than I've already said, but it's just so lovely I had to share!

BFF Charm: Yes!

Despite the narrator's early insistence that she was a bit heartless and slightly ill-tempered, I found September to be completely delightful. She is brave, adventurous, loyal and smart. Not only is she someone you would want by your side if you unexpectedly found yourself in Fairyland, September is someone I could have seen a younger version of myself spending time with in the regular world. She even bemoans the fact that she doesn't have friends to play games and talk about books with and HELLO those are some of my favorite things to do. I also need to give a shout out to Ell, who despite looking like one, is NOT a dragon, but it made of pure awesome.

Swoonworthy Scale: N/A

Who needs romance when you're twelve? Especially when you can have exciting adventures and make wonderful friends and eat delicious fairy foods.

Talky Talk: Imaginative

The writing in this book is descriptive and imaginative while at times being humorous or surprisingly thoughtful. Just because you're in a fantastical or absurd setting doesn't mean you can't use those situations to illustrate something true about our own world. So many different passages jumped out at me, that it was truly difficult to pick a favorite. That said, I really enjoyed September's thoughts on hats:

"Any child knows what a witch looks like. There warts are important, yes, the hooked nose, the cruel smile. But it's the hat that cinches it: points and black with a wide rim. Plenty of people have warts and hooked noses and cruel smiles but are not witches at all. Hats change everything. September knew this with all her being, deep in the place where she knew her own name, that her mother would still love her even though she hadn't waved good-bye. For one day, her father had put on a hat with golden things on it and suddenly he hadn't been her father anymore, he had been a soldier, and he had left. Hates have power. Hats can change you into someone else."

Bonus Factor: Alice In Wonderland

It obviously goes without saying that this story shares similarities to Alice In Wonderland. But Alice can be too nonsensical and a bit boring and lacks, for use of a better word, "heart". But Fairyland is full of heart, which is what makes it a real story and overall, a better book. Upgrade!

Casting Call:

Maisie Williams as September

Maisie is my favorite pre-teen actor these days and I want to cast her in everything. But she definitely has the perfect amount of spunk to pull off September.

Chloe Moretz as The Marquess

It would take a very talented young lady to pull off The Marquess's wickedness without going overboard.

Relationship Status: Should Have Been My Childhood BFF

Why did this book only come out this year? Why wasn't it around when I was growing up? We could have been the best of friends and had sleepovers every weekend and braided each other's hair and gone to Claire's to get BFF necklaces and passed notes in class all day long. While I would have adored this book growing up, being older didn't stop me from loving it now. This book made me feel like I was taking a trip back in time, to a time when I was maybe a bit more heartless and ill-behaved myself.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is the FYA Book Club selection for May 2014!

Megan Crane's photo About the Author: Megan is an unabashed fangirl who is often in a state of panic about her inability to watch, read and play all the things.