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The Boy Who Lost Fairyland
Fairyland Series - Book 4
Catherynne M Valente

Corsair (Constable and Robinson)
12 March 2015 / ISBN 9781472119278
YA & Adult Fantasy

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


Hawthorn the infant troll is capriciously stolen from his home by the Red Wind and sent to live in 1940s Chicago. He is a changeling, and replaces one Thomas Rood who gets sent to Fairyland in his place. But Hawthorn vaguely remembers that things should not be so prosaic and causes trouble. Seen as a problem child by his exasperated parents and teachers he is keen to get away, but how? Is he the only changeling in the city or might there be others?

This is the fourth book in the extraordinary and unique series of books by this talented author. We get a glimpse of what September has been up to, but mostly this is Hawthorn's tale. As well as a delicious word hoard of fantastic delights piled one on top of the other this is also a story about not belonging, and of not seeing the world in quite the way as other people do (or seem to). Hawthorn sees everything as a fantasy, including school and manages to get along by having a useful talent. He is not normal, and wants to be while realizing that if he was it would probably be boring. It is easy to draw parallels between this and one's own earlier experiences with the world and at times looking askance at it in this way is also funny. But it is the imagery and poetry of the language that stays with the reader, the way she uses words and ideas. This is billed as a book for younger readers, but much of it can only be appreciated by the right kind of adult. One to savor for the unique treat that it is.

Reviewed 2015