Monday, September 18, 2017

REVIEW | The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Cathrynne M. Valente

Publication Year: 2013
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Series: Fairy Land #3
Awards: Locus Award for Best Young Adult Book, 2014
Format: Audio (from Library)
Narrator: The Author

SYNOPSIS:  September is now 14 and she has waited a whole year for her birthday to roll around and her 3rd trip to fairyland to begin.  But her birthday comes and goes, and she is afraid she will never go back until, when she least expects it, an irascible Blue Wind shows up and grudgingly allows her to hitch a ride to the moon above fairyland.  After a happy reunion with L and Saturday, September and her friends must go on a journey to find a Yeti who is terrorizing the moon's citizens.  


I should really give Cathrynne Valente credit for at least co-writing this post because a big chunk of it will be in her own words.

Why?  I love this series though they are not the most riveting books in the world and they take forever to read, especially for a middle grade book.  They sometimes feel like they are just a collection of creative ideas Valente had  - really, really creative with beautiful imagery - but with a barely-even-there plot.  They are dreamy and odd.  The characters took me a bit to warm up to though I must profess that I do now adore September, A-through-L and Saturday.  Here's the thing, though. The reason I love them. I'll be listening-reading along, feeling ever-so-slightly bored and then this will happen:

“A silent Library is a sad Library. ... A Library should be full of exclamations! Shouts of delight and horror as the wonders of the world are discovered or the lies of the heavens are uncovered or the wild adventures of devil-knows-who sent romping out of the pages. A Library should be full of now-just-a-minutes and that-can't-be-rights and scientifick folk running skelter to prove somebody wrong. It should positively vibrate with laughing at comedies and sobbing at tragedies, it should echo with gasps as decent ladies glimpse indecent things and indecent ladies stumble upon secret and scandalous decencies! A Library should not shush; it should roar!” 

And this...

 “Marriage is a wrestling match where you hold on tight while your mate changes into a hundred different things. The trick is that you're changing into a hundred other things, but you can't let go. You can only try to match up and never turn into a wolf while he's a rabbit, or a mouse while he's still busy being an owl, a brawny black bull while he's a little blue crab scuttling for shelter. It's harder than it sounds.” 

And this...
“Listen to me. Love is a Yeti. It is bigger than you and frightening and terrible. It makes loud and vicious noises. It is hungry all the time. It has horns and teeth and the force of its fists is more than anyone can bear. It speeds up time and slows it down. And it has its own aims and missions that those who are lucky enough to see it cannot begin to guess. You might see a Yeti once in your life or never. You might live in a village of them. But in the end, no matter how fast you think you can go, the Yeti is always faster than you, and you can only choose how you say hello to it, and whether you shake its hand.” 
And yet again, this...
 “September tried to show her sternness. It was becoming a habit. She could show her sternness and think about this another time, when it was quiet and no new red Moon turned somersaults in the sky.
But when she reached for her sternness, all September found in her heart was the bar of a trapeze, swinging wild, inviting her to catch it.
...She leaned up and kissed her Marid and hoped it was the right thing. Her heart caught the bar and swung out, swung wild, over the lights and the gasps below, reaching for a pair of sure blue hands in the air and willing them to find hers.” 
 And finally, a whole lot of this...
“Oh, aren't you just the rottenest wet blanket whoever spoiled a sport.” 
In other words, whenever I start to get a little bored or dismiss the books for having too little plot and flow, Valente hits me with a sentiment which is made of beautiful words and a unique perspective that makes my brain stretch.  And occasionally laugh out loud.  That's why I keep coming back to this beautiful middle grade series.

FINAL VERDICT: It's always good to visit with September and her friends and this installment has a lot of great imagery and thoughts about growing up. 3.5 out of 5 Stars

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