Why live in Kansas when you can stay in Oz? Valente may well have wondered at Dorothy’s inexplicable decision.
At the end of The Girl Who Soared over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (2013), 14-year-old September ran away from home to live in Fairyland. It was one of the best cliffhangers in recent fiction. Readers hoping for resolution will need to wait a little longer, as September hardly appears in this novel at all. As the title hints, it’s the story of a Changeling named Hawthorn, who takes the place of a human boy in Chicago. The book is full of Changelings of all stripes: trolls and humans and a girl made of wood. All of them, like September, feel out of place and far from home. Their stories are so sad and astonishing that even September—when she finally appears—may not be able to help them. If the ending feels a little abrupt, it’s because the story is so rich and complex that no book could resolve it. Even the minor supporting characters deserve novels of their own. Every page of this book contains at least one stunning sentence. Valente's descriptions of the human world make it sound like an exotic place, even when she just lists things to see: "diamonds and dinosaur bones and Canadian geese and the Cathedral of Notre Dame and ballpoint pens."
Readers may wish the words were food, so they could eat them up. And they may keep reading this series for just as long as people have been arguing about Oz. (Fantasy. 10-14)