The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two

Common Sense Media says

September goes on a moon mission in compelling installment.

Age(i)

2
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9
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

As with the other books in the Fairyland series, author Valente's ornate prose is awash in linguistic, cultural, and historical references, from the town of Mercator to a character named Turing. Those who catch them will be quite pleased with themselves; those who don't will have further adventures tracking down the backstories and discovering what they have to do with this tale. Kids who get a kick out of language will love character names like Nefarious Freedom Coppermolt III, Aeroposte, and Pentameter.

Positive messages

Strong messages about bravery, loyalty, love of friends and family, kindness, persevering through difficulties, and finding your own path in life.

Positive role models

No longer her "heartless" 12-year-old self, September is believably conflicted over issues many tweens and teens will recognize: the pressures of growing up, including how our loved ones treat us differently as we get older and bigger; how much control we really have over our lives; and, especially, the far-reaching effects of our choices. Even when she makes ill-advised decisions, September does it with the best intentions and with a sense of responsibility to help her loved ones and all of Fairyland. Her parents provide a strong, loving moral compass, even when she's far from home, and her loyal Fairyland friends Ell and Saturday show courage, loyalty, and creative thinking as well as emotional vulnerability.

Violence

World War II and its effect on September's loved ones are important to the plot and character development. In Fairyland, entire populations vanish; long ago a girl cut off the paw of a Yeti and used its magic powers with fateful consequences to September and her friends. Various characters hack and slash the living Moon, producing "moonquakes" and blood. One of the beings gives birth, a joyous event that involves a lot of gore.

Sex

September and Saturday kiss and hold hands. September has had plenty of time to reflect on her future daughter (seen in Book 1), but neither she nor the reader is much the wiser as to how the time-traveling child comes into being. The story's climax features a scene of cosmic childbirth.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The regular-world portion of the story takes place during World War II, so the products that come up are those of the period. For example, the increasingly magical Aroostook starts life as a Model-A Ford.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Occasional references to alcohol, as when a potion September drinks reminds her of the brandy her parents keep for special occasions.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the fantastic imagination, exuberant narrative, unforgettable characters, and ethical quandaries that make the two previous Fairyland books so compelling are back in full force in The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two. Protagonist September is now two years older than when the series started and grappling with grown-up issues, from helping her family to the heartbreak of living between two worlds and constantly being torn from her loved ones. Some of the teen-parent relationship nuances, romantic misunderstandings, and urgent conflicts may be lost on younger readers. World War II still weighs on the story. There are scary scenes of earthquakes, conflict, and cataclysms, and many species seem to have been annihilated; the missing paw of a mutilated creature plays a fateful role. Two young characters kiss and hold hands. A being gives birth in a joyous event that involves a lot of gore.

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What's the story?

As September's 14th birthday comes and goes and she takes on more adult responsibilities, she fears that maybe she's too old to go back to Fairyland, that the place she loves no longer wants her. When her transport arrives unexpectedly, she's quickly sent on a mission to Fairyland's moon. Her joyous reunion with friends Ell and Saturday soon leads to many dangers on the quest, encounters with strange characters, and challenging surprises as they cope with the growing complexities of inter-species, inter-world friendship.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Author Catherynne M. Valente's vivid imagination and prose continue in epic form in THE GIRL WHO SOARED OVER FAIRYLAND AND CUT THE MOON IN TWO, the third volume of the Fairyland series. Her narrative voice hustles September along the path of adventure, often pausing to deliver pithy lectures on subjects from the troubles caused by lies to fate vs. free will, all the while throwing off hilariously erudite one-liners and heartrending bits of emotional insight on the way to a cliff-hanger ending. Once again, Ana Juan's illustrations are surreal, poignant, funny, and immensely appealing.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why books about Fairyland are so popular. How does the version of Fairyland that appears in this series compare with the ones in other books? Which do you like better?

  • "What others call you you become" is a concept September tries to come to terms with, whether the names come from someone in Fairyland or the mean girls at school. Do you think you become what other people say you are? Why, or why not? Can you think of any examples?

  • If you could fast-forward through all the parts of your life you don't like and just enjoy the good parts (like fairies can), would you? What might you skip over, and what would you not want to miss?

Book details

Author:Catherynne M. Valente
Illustrator:Ana Juan
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Fairy tales, Friendship, Great girl role models, Misfits and underdogs
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Feiwel and Friends
Publication date:October 1, 2013
Number of pages:256
Publisher's recommended age(s):10 - 14
Available on:Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook

This review of The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two was written by

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