The Boy Who Lost Fairyland is written by Catherynne M Valente. It was published in 2015 by Feiwel and Friends. It is the sequel to The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two.
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, only to a Fairyland much changed from the one he remembered.
I loved The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland, but was disappointed with the next two books. The Boy Who Lost Fairyland, however, restores my love for Valente’s Fairyland: it doesn’t have the great villain that the first book did (or any villain at all, really) but it’s a wonderfully imaginative and beautiful book. The Boy Who Lost Fairyland revels in imagination and wonder and shows how a little imagination can go a long way in terms of making people’s lives better.
The book also has a surprisingly simple plot, compared to the first three books. There’s no main villain and most of the book is just “The Adventures of Hawthorn and Tamburlaine,” which is probably why I found this book so charming. It’s only until the end that we get glimpses of where the plot is going in regards to September and the fifth book. And that’s not a bad thing, since the simplicity of the plot means that you get to enjoy the beauty of the world more.
So, yes, I found Boy a significant improvement over the last two books in Fairyland; the simplicity of it was refreshing and I had more time to indulge in the world—and thus I spent less time getting bored with how long it was taking the main character to get things done (cough The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland cough). And that’s a good thing, since this book doesn’t just take you from Earth to Fairyland. It also brings Fairyland to Earth.
Recommended Age Range: 12+
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
“The Laws of the Kingdom of School,” he squeaked. “One: A Teacher is the same thing as an Empress only a Teacher wears skirts and uses a ruler instead of a scepter. Two: Be present at eight o’clock sharp or you will be marked Tardy and if you are Tardy enough you will be banished to the Land of Detention, where no food or joy can live. Three: If you write that you shall not do a thing five hundred times you cannot do it again for your whole life. Only Teachers possess this magic, as Mother and Father have never tried it. Four: A race of Giants live in the Kingdom of School. They are the Big Kids and they dwell in the Upperclassmen’s Wing. They must be treated as dragons and never bothered or they will destroy us, for they know great and terrible magic as well as how to drive cars. Five:; when the clock strikes three in the afternoon, the power of the Teacher is broken with the pealing of a bell and all go free. Six: There is a curse called Homework a Teacher may cast if she longs for her power to continue after the great bell has rung….”
Thomas stopped. Twenty children stared at him. Twenty children gawped at Thomas the Un-Normal in the wet, gray play yard. Finally, Max coughed.
“You got any more?” he whispered.
The Boy Who Lost Fairyland brings back what I loved about The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland: not the intricacies and twists of the plot, but the sheer beauty and wonder of Fairyland itself, and the beauty and power of imagination. And Boy is probably better off for its simplicity, in the end, because Fairyland now shines through without the burden of a complex plot weighing it down and distracting people from the real beauty of it.
You can buy this here: The Boy Who Lost Fairyland