by Catherynee M. Valente
age: 11+, good for read aloud 7+
First sentence: “Once upon a time, a girl named September had a secret.”
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Others in the series: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
September is pining. Pining for Fairyland, for her adventures there because (and don’t we all know this) Real Life is So Boring. Then on her 13th birthday, she finds a way back… except it’s all Changed. Her shadow has become the Hallow Queen of the Fairyland Below, and is taking (well, encouraging strongly) all the shadows of Fairyland away to have their own party, to be free of doing Everything Their Person/Thing/Being does. Which, interestingly enough, means that the magic in Fairyland is fading. It’s up to September to convince — somehow — her shadow to give up her reign. Even if it means going to the very bottom of the world to wake up the Sleeping Prince.
In many ways, I knew what I was getting reading this one: it has the same tone, the same spirit, as the first one did. (Which, by the way, you don’t really *need* to read. This is a sequel, but it’s also a completely separate story.) But, in other ways, this one was… more than the first one. There was a darkness to it that I liked, and a maturity, too. September isn’t the flighty thing she was in the first book; she has Responsibilities, and there are Consequences. And the humor isn’t as prevalent (read: I didn’t smile as much as I did the first time around). Which means, I’m not sure K (who mostly enjoyed hearing the first one read to her) would get it. On the other hand, nearly 13-year-old C would.
In all, it’s a solid second book. And it makes me wonder if September will have any more adventures. If she does, I’ll be sure to read them.
(Just for the record: because this is a Cybils nominee, I’ve been asked to make sure y’all know this is my opinion only, and not that of the panel.)