Book Review: The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente

BoyWhoLostFairylandThe Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente

Published by Square Fish on March 1, 2016

Genres: Childrens, Middle Grade, Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure, Fairytale

Pages: 256 Format: Paperback Source: Purchased

4/5 Stars

When a young troll named Hawthorn is stolen from Fairyland by the Golden Wind, he becomes a changeling – a human boy — in the strange city of Chicago, a place no less bizarre and magical than Fairyland when seen through trollish eyes. Left with a human family, Hawthorn struggles with his troll nature and his changeling fate. But when he turns twelve, he stumbles upon a way back home, to a Fairyland much changed from the one he remembers. Hawthorn finds himself at the center of a changeling revolution–until he comes face to face with a beautiful young Scientiste with very big, very red assistant.


Well it’s been way too long since I read a book by Catherynne Valente. After last year’s discovery of her magnificent writing, I devoured four of her books by August. Now it’s been like ten months and I finally dived back in with The Boy Who Lost Fairyland. The fourth book in this series follows the young troll Hawthorn and explores Changelings and living in the human world.

Hawthorn’s journey into the human world as Thomas Rood is nothing short of extraordinary. With a mind so heavily influenced by the magic of Fairyland, his exuberance and passion cannot be contained. He’s constantly flummoxing his parents but finds friends once starting school. Once Tamburlaine, one of Thomas’ classmates, shares a connection with him, that’s when the real excitement begins.

Valente’s talent is on full display yet again with her outstanding imagination and masterful manipulation of language. She breathes life into inanimate objects and makes the monotony of everyday life an exciting prospect for any child or adult. Even the commentary on normalcy was excellent. Valente is just so creative and the whimsy and magic of these stories just speaks to my very soul.

The only issues I had with this story was that it was definitely more a bridge book than anything else. It felt at times like it was just serving the larger Fairyland narrative and a certain beloved character. On the other hand I totally wanted more of the characters I loved in the previous books. I craved every little mention of my faves September, El, and Saturday.

Overall, The Boy Who Lost Fairyland was another wonderful installment in Catherynne Valente’s Fairyland saga. Hawthorn and Tamburlaine were such fun protagonists and welcome additions to this world. Their journey was a rollicking time filled with ups, downs, and everything in between. If you’re not reading Valente, please start immediately. You won’t regret it!

So have you read any of the Fairyland series? Are you fascinated by Catherynne Valente’s phenomenal writing? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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