Stranded in the Other Place (aka Kansas), Amy Gumm goes searching for Dorothy's silver slippers, reputed to be somewhere in her old high school.
They are apparently the only way Amy, along with witches Glamora, Mombi, Gert (thought dead but resurrected with some authorial hand-waving), and superhot Nox, can get back to Oz. Although the magical mechanism that maroons them in Kansas is only limply explained, as a plot development, it's a welcome one. Amy reconnects with her mother, who's cleaned up her act after the tornado took her daughter away, as well as with her high school crush, Dustin, and her erstwhile bully, Madison, now the capable and loving mother of baby Dustin Jr. This represents a welcome respite for both readers and Amy from the grim reality of Dorothy's Oz as well as an opportunity for some genuine exploration of emotion. Alas, the idyll in Flat Hill is all too short, and then it's back to Oz for some more mass violence, anguish, romantic yearning, arbitrary magic, and double-crossing. At this point readers may well feel Amy's weariness that the Nome King has been introduced as a new adversary, as it guarantees that seeming victory will give way to more defeat and another volume.
L. Frank Baum churned out 14 Oz books (and his successors another 26), but at least each one had a complete story arc, unlike this dreary effort. (Dystopian fantasy. 14 & up)