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Osmo Unknown and the Eightpenny Woods

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A fantasy following a boy journeying away from the only home he’s ever known and into the magical realm of the dead in order to fulfill a bargain for his people. Osmo Unknown hungers for the world beyond his small town. With the life that Littlebridge society has planned for him, the only taste Osmo will ever get are his visits to the edge of the Fourpenny Woods where his m A fantasy following a boy journeying away from the only home he’s ever known and into the magical realm of the dead in order to fulfill a bargain for his people. Osmo Unknown hungers for the world beyond his small town. With the life that Littlebridge society has planned for him, the only taste Osmo will ever get are his visits to the edge of the Fourpenny Woods where his mother hunts. Until the unthinkable happens: his mother accidentally kills a Quidnunk, a fearsome and intelligent creature that lives deep in the forest. None of this should have anything to do with poor Osmo, except that a strange treaty was once formed between the Quidnunx and the people of Littlebridge to ensure that neither group would harm the other. Now that a Quidnunk is dead, as the firstborn child of the hunter who killed her, Osmo must embark on a quest to find the Eightpenny Woods—the mysterious kingdom where all wild forest creatures go when they die—and make amends. Accompanied by a very rude half-badger, half-wombat named Bonk and an antisocial pangolin girl called Never, it will take all of Osmo’s bravery and cleverness to survive the magic of the Eightpenny Woods to save his town…and make it out alive.


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A fantasy following a boy journeying away from the only home he’s ever known and into the magical realm of the dead in order to fulfill a bargain for his people. Osmo Unknown hungers for the world beyond his small town. With the life that Littlebridge society has planned for him, the only taste Osmo will ever get are his visits to the edge of the Fourpenny Woods where his m A fantasy following a boy journeying away from the only home he’s ever known and into the magical realm of the dead in order to fulfill a bargain for his people. Osmo Unknown hungers for the world beyond his small town. With the life that Littlebridge society has planned for him, the only taste Osmo will ever get are his visits to the edge of the Fourpenny Woods where his mother hunts. Until the unthinkable happens: his mother accidentally kills a Quidnunk, a fearsome and intelligent creature that lives deep in the forest. None of this should have anything to do with poor Osmo, except that a strange treaty was once formed between the Quidnunx and the people of Littlebridge to ensure that neither group would harm the other. Now that a Quidnunk is dead, as the firstborn child of the hunter who killed her, Osmo must embark on a quest to find the Eightpenny Woods—the mysterious kingdom where all wild forest creatures go when they die—and make amends. Accompanied by a very rude half-badger, half-wombat named Bonk and an antisocial pangolin girl called Never, it will take all of Osmo’s bravery and cleverness to survive the magic of the Eightpenny Woods to save his town…and make it out alive.

30 review for Osmo Unknown and the Eightpenny Woods

  1. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    For any of you, who don't know yet, I'm an absolute Valente fangirl. Here's one example why. In this newest book, we witness the matrimony of a valley and a forest. After a while, as happens often in a relationship, one side wants this while the other wants that. They also argue about the "children" a lot. Can't say I can fault the forest for its opinion. Alas, eventually humans settle in the valley and a few hundred years later their hunters have killed almost everything that can be found in the For any of you, who don't know yet, I'm an absolute Valente fangirl. Here's one example why. In this newest book, we witness the matrimony of a valley and a forest. After a while, as happens often in a relationship, one side wants this while the other wants that. They also argue about the "children" a lot. Can't say I can fault the forest for its opinion. Alas, eventually humans settle in the valley and a few hundred years later their hunters have killed almost everything that can be found in the forest. As they are growing more desperate for food, a foolish act leads to little Osmo having to be sold into marriage to a Queen. There is a slight hiccup to that though. *lol* Thus, he meets creatures he thought were only inventions for colourful stories and goes on a perilious journey into and through the underworld, Persephone-style. It's almost impossible to quantify any of Valente's stories, summarizing them usually is very tricky. There is just so much going on, so much to marvel at. Be it the enchanting writing style or the symbolism or the twist on well-known mythological elements or the endearing characters or the funny moments. It's the same with this book. There was tension, there was social commentary - but very subtly done - there was adventure, there was bravery, there was hilarity, there were lessons to be learned (no matter the reader's age). And, as I've come to expect from this author, the writing in this was off the charts once again. It was absolutely gorgeous, rich, witty and strangely perfect for both young and old readers - I'm still convinced that the author is either a witch or has made a pact with some magical creature because this doesn't seem possible and yet she pulls it off again and again. Talking animals (such as a certain, wonderfully grumpy badger or an involuntarily no-longer-solitary pangolin), a know-it-all boy, familiar mythological creatures that were just the right amount of different from how we know them already, and some flabbergasting worldbuilding have made this one of my new favorite books ever! Yes, this was even better than some of the Fairyland books and that is saying something! A comment on the different editions: the audiobook is read by the author's partner, Heath Miller, who did a fantastic job. But, as is usual for stories that are important to me, I also got the hardcover and despite the illustrations in there only being black-and-white, it was very sweet and an appropriate amount of care went into the making of the book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mari

    I have a feeling I'll enjoy this one even more on reread. I love Catherynne M. Valente so much. Her works are whimsical and dense and imaginative and full of vibrant places and beautiful characters. OSMO is all of those things. I will say that I found this one to have the same ingredients as THE FAIRYLAND SERIES, but with a plot that was a little more wandering and less defined. For that reason, I find that if FAIRYLAND was right on the edge of the whimsy you can withstand, this might be just ov I have a feeling I'll enjoy this one even more on reread. I love Catherynne M. Valente so much. Her works are whimsical and dense and imaginative and full of vibrant places and beautiful characters. OSMO is all of those things. I will say that I found this one to have the same ingredients as THE FAIRYLAND SERIES, but with a plot that was a little more wandering and less defined. For that reason, I find that if FAIRYLAND was right on the edge of the whimsy you can withstand, this might be just over the edge? We are still getting from point A to point B in both, but there was something sort of nebulous about the journey in OSMO. It also started a little slow. It took a while to start the journey and assemble the companions. It was about 40% of the way through that things really came together for me and that I also realized that I loved the characters. I think the best way to describe this is "a young boy goes on a coming of age journey along with grumpiness and loneliness." And it was excellent.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    Yes, Valente did it again. In quite the same vein as The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making with a very different story and worldbuilding, she still draws in so much mythology, such wonderful characters, and an adventure so beautiful and heartbreaking and so... CUTE that I'm honestly rather shocked. I shouldn't be shocked. Truly. I've been a fan of Valente for so long that this should be second hat, this fanboying I do, but I'm still shocked. It's a love story between a Yes, Valente did it again. In quite the same vein as The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making with a very different story and worldbuilding, she still draws in so much mythology, such wonderful characters, and an adventure so beautiful and heartbreaking and so... CUTE that I'm honestly rather shocked. I shouldn't be shocked. Truly. I've been a fan of Valente for so long that this should be second hat, this fanboying I do, but I'm still shocked. It's a love story between a valley (where the humans live) and the forest (where the others live). The rules are simple, assuming you are taught them, and even if you aren't, the rules are still there. Is it fairyland? Yes, if you go by the mushrooms. But it's also Greek in the truly delightful Persephone tale. And more, it's the characters, poor little Osmo, and his new, if unwilling, friends. It's the truly heartwarming/heartbreaking characters that I love the most. The writing, of course, is sooo damn good the way only Valente writes it, but the whole book is greater than the sum of its parts. that is truly heartwarming/heartbreaking. I love them all. And my god... the twist... the book pulled off a wonderful kind of alchemy within itself and me. :) Do I recommend? Hell yes! :)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Eule Luftschloss

    trigger warning (view spoiler)[ death of a parent, grief (hide spoiler)] The rules are simple: Do not eat what can talk. Do not kill one of theirs. Or there will be consequences. It's been so long since the last breach that nobody even remembers the treaty, so when Osmo's mother accidentally kills a quidnunc, everyone is surprised when a mushroom sprouts to take him. So many thoughts that need to be gathered. Let's start with the narration. If you've read The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a trigger warning (view spoiler)[ death of a parent, grief (hide spoiler)] The rules are simple: Do not eat what can talk. Do not kill one of theirs. Or there will be consequences. It's been so long since the last breach that nobody even remembers the treaty, so when Osmo's mother accidentally kills a quidnunc, everyone is surprised when a mushroom sprouts to take him. So many thoughts that need to be gathered. Let's start with the narration. If you've read The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, you know what to expect. If not: The narrator breaks the fourth wall to address the reader directly, which makes it feel like you're sitting down, maybe around a fire, and somebody spins a yarn. It feels intimate. Promises are made and kept, but not in the way you'd expect it. Mushrooms. This book is so cottagecore that it's not steampunk, it's mushroompunk. As in: You don't have technology, you have mushrooms, and if you ask nicely, they might work for you, for a bit. Need to cook? Mushrooms. Need to travel? Mushrooms. And since you're in a forest, they're everywhere. Reminded me a bit of One Piece and the land above the clouds, where they have mussels and conches that can do stuff. Wolpertinger. German word, meaning a creature of many parts. A taxidermist's joke, they are: Body of a hare, antlers of a deer, feet of ducks, and what else you can scrounge up. Only the animals in here have usually two natures. Osmo himself is introduced as a motter, part monkey part otter, because the thought of having a human in the forest is so weird. Works perfect as a standalone, but the world has so much stories that could be told. A publisher s dream. All in all, one of the best books I've read so far this year, if not the best. Will have to buy my own copy because this arc will run out. And then I can have the pictures that have been missing in my edition. Cat, I love you, as a friend. The arc was provided by the publisher.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    I hoped for a reading experience more like what I had with Valente’s ‘Fairyland’ series, but that was not to be. At least there is slightly less of the overused prose stylings Valente is so well known for and has drenched her recent novels in - much to my dismay - as that cutesy shit (it is a skill, but come on already!) gets tiring when there is no plot to balance it. This book is chock full of neat ideas and concepts and fantastical details but they get tiring eventually since they don't conne I hoped for a reading experience more like what I had with Valente’s ‘Fairyland’ series, but that was not to be. At least there is slightly less of the overused prose stylings Valente is so well known for and has drenched her recent novels in - much to my dismay - as that cutesy shit (it is a skill, but come on already!) gets tiring when there is no plot to balance it. This book is chock full of neat ideas and concepts and fantastical details but they get tiring eventually since they don't connect (it's alike an encyclopedia for fun), and I grew to dread every “and” that I came across since it usually meant another of the endless examples of whatever thing Valente was describing, in exhaustive detail, just so we remember how imaginative the entire enterprise is. We get it, ad nauseam. I don’t need or want a Dictionary of Differences, or whatever Valente might want to call it (she would surely have something more wow! to title such a book than this). I want a STORY. And one that isn’t constantly stopping to re-re-reiterate how amazingly different and magical and quite-possibly-real-not-fiction the ideas put forth in the story are for all its readers by listing another slew of things, colors, concepts, animals, creatures, etc. for me to slog through. Honestly, the book wore on me when almost right off we get this lameass YA insta-crush with Osmo and Ivy, the latter of this un-duo just humoring the former, the former being so weird - obviously! because our protagonist just has to be the stereotypical Child Who Doesn’t Belong, quiet, reads a lot, thinks, dresses a 'certain way', resists authority, pines for acceptance they don’t want but actually believe they need, etc. etc. etc. - that he doesn’t see he is being humored. Quite a lot of trope-y, and that’s not good. I could have done without the incessant dialogue, it just goes on and on, and while it has its funny and witty and smarty bits, eventually they get tiring - in the vein of “too much of a good thing” - and just give the impression the author is going to excessive lengths to prove their already-well-known chops for these things. The narrative was an awkward mix of Middle Grade fantasy/quest - which takes skill and craft to do well, as Valente has proven elsewhere - and YA/Adult morality fable, and I don't do YA silliness. Overall, it is too much to take on in the narrative, I think, and the unevenness hints at this genre-sprawl often. I am beginning to worry about Young Adults and Adults, who seem to need their ugly, honest truths couched in heavy-handed or cutesy metaphors for them to sink in and take root. I don’t mind metaphor and allegory, but as an intelligent adult I found a lot of this book to be frighteningly simplistic and a bit too either-or with the issues it incorporates. From a Middle Grade perspective, the story works reasonably well - who doesn’t like talking animals?!? - but the fantasy-fun of the worldbuilding and questing is too scattered, and then the story swerves into more complex things - seemingly to court the adult fan base of Valente, of which I am a member, mostly - and loses its fun and magical feel with the forced smartness and morality-pushing tone. I am reminded of Stephen King, who tirelessly and unnecessarily continues to beat his readers over the head with his anti-#45 rants. We get it, Steve, you hate what #45 stands for, and whether or not all your readers do too, we don’t need any more reminders. Really, we don’t. I think once a author has established their politics, like Valente obviously has, they need to find more imaginative or tangential or complex ways to utilize their stances, because I get bored with reading how Valente thinks, again, in the same way, in every book. I agree with Valente, but I don’t read fiction to agree or disagree with the author’s politics, I read fiction for stories. Always the stories. And this book has a rather cool idea that had potential to be truly magical but just gets lost in the, um, woods somewhere. I finished it because I just skimmed over the rat-a-tat-tat-repetitive dialogue and numerous lists of whatever quality or essence or feeling was being over-described, which pared the pages down more than I expected, or wanted, honestly. Valente has a great gift for language permutations, but I think she overuses that talent to the expense of developing the plot. Most of her fans love it, seemingly, and while I respect an artist at work, when they make it look too easy the shine starts to wear off. The icing goes on top of the cake, so to speak. It is entirely possible that I am too old and jaded and angry and sad and frustrated to enjoy the message here, but I would say that I am not. It just takes something truly special to break through, and this tale doesn’t quite do that for me. It is too much and not enough, and if that doesn’t make any sense to you then I can’t help by explaining it differently.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kenya Starflight

    At this point I will read just about anything that Catherynne Valente writes -- she's a fantastically creative writer and I love almost all of her work. "Osmo Unknown and the Eightpenny Woods" is aimed at a younger audience, but still shows a phenomenal amount of imagination, loving and sly nods to classical mythology, and while it does explore weighty issues like death and gender expectations, it's still a lot of fun. Osmo is bored of his life in the village of Littlebridge, and longs for an adv At this point I will read just about anything that Catherynne Valente writes -- she's a fantastically creative writer and I love almost all of her work. "Osmo Unknown and the Eightpenny Woods" is aimed at a younger audience, but still shows a phenomenal amount of imagination, loving and sly nods to classical mythology, and while it does explore weighty issues like death and gender expectations, it's still a lot of fun. Osmo is bored of his life in the village of Littlebridge, and longs for an adventure somewhere else... anywhere else. But when his mother kills a Quidnuk, one of the mysterious creatures that lives in the Fourpenny Woods bordering his town, Osmo is demanded as a price and must go into the Woods and marry the ghost of the dead Quidnuk to balance things out. Accompanied by a grouchy skunk/badger/wombat hybrid named Bonk and an antisocial pangolin-girl named Nevermore, he embarks on a dangerous but wondrous journey to the Underworld, and uncovers some truths about himself and the past of his village along the way... Valente has a knack for weaving elements of world mythologies -- both the most famous examples (like the myth of Persephone) and more obscure ones -- with all-new and fresh elements, creating something fantastic and wondrous. I've noticed that her language has evolved as time has gone on -- either that or she's streamlined some of her more ornate prose for a younger audience -- but the writing and tone of this book still manages to straddle that border between dark and enchanting very well, and gives it the feel of a folktale while still feeling new and accessible. The characters can start off as a little abrasive -- Bonk insults everyone, Never is prickly, and even Osmo can come across as a bit of a know-it-all. But they're not so abrasive as to be completely unlikable, and even manage to be sympathetic. And as the book progresses each sees some wonderful development, until they feel like old friends by the end of the story. This book also isn't afraid to tackle issues like death, society's expectations of boys and girls, and generational trauma, though never in such a way that it feels preachy. And honestly, some of these issues desperately need to be discussed, even in a fantasy novel. "Osmo Unknown and the Eightpenny Woods" is another phenomenal work by Valente, and belongs up there with her best-known work The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. And while aimed at younger readers, it's still very much worth reading by all ages.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    Valente does it again! Very much in the vein of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, and with more than a few references to Greek, Norse and Egyptian mythology, this book is an exploration of relationships with our families, friends and acquaintances, and how past hurts can change how we behave towards others. Some people become hard and expect others to become it too, other people get loud and rude, and sometimes, people make themselves small and follow all the ru Valente does it again! Very much in the vein of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, and with more than a few references to Greek, Norse and Egyptian mythology, this book is an exploration of relationships with our families, friends and acquaintances, and how past hurts can change how we behave towards others. Some people become hard and expect others to become it too, other people get loud and rude, and sometimes, people make themselves small and follow all the rules even when it makes them unhappy. It's also an interesting look at old grudges, held over generations, and how to break the cycle with mutual understanding. Valente does this with magic, gorgeous fantasy worlds and creatures, but the message is quite clear. As usual, her writing is clever and beautiful, and her characters are distinct and full of life. If you've never read any of her works, the beginning reminded me vaguely of Gaiman's Stardust. Always looking forward to picking up her next book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    This was a delight. The narration was welcome and did not overstay. The writing was superb. It was a long book but it never felt long because the reader was part of the journey and understood the importance of each step. One of the best books I have read in awhile.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Charity

    A love story with consequences, Osmo Unknown and the Eightpenny Woods is the tale of a young boy who finally gets the adventure he has been hoping for, but at a larger (and odder) cost than he may have expected. Once again Valente proves that she is more than capable of creating characters with amazing depth. Osmo, Bonk, and Never are just the tip of the iceberg in this smorgasbord of peculiar individuals. I can easily see young readers (and young at heart readers) connecting with the quirks that A love story with consequences, Osmo Unknown and the Eightpenny Woods is the tale of a young boy who finally gets the adventure he has been hoping for, but at a larger (and odder) cost than he may have expected. Once again Valente proves that she is more than capable of creating characters with amazing depth. Osmo, Bonk, and Never are just the tip of the iceberg in this smorgasbord of peculiar individuals. I can easily see young readers (and young at heart readers) connecting with the quirks that Bonk and Never portray. I found myself cheering them along even as they pushed back against the world and each other. If you have read Valente's Fairyland books, you won't be surprised to learn that Osmo Unknown is also filled with unexpected twists and turns, but you will be delighted by where those twists take you. Sometimes we all just need a slight step to the left to change our perspective. I recommend this book to young readers who enjoy a fantastical tale that doesn't speak down to them. Or to more mature readers who like a bit of whimsy in their daring adventure reads.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lissa Joy

    An absolutely wonderful read. I was so ridiculously hyped for this book & it didn’t let me down! Cat pitches it as “gender bent Persephone with big gender feels”. Sadly this didn’t get a big push from the publisher :( Highly recommended! A fantastic middle grade from the author of “The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making” AKA my favourite series of all time. The narration, the writing, the characters… a must read for kids and adults alike! The audiobook is narrated by An absolutely wonderful read. I was so ridiculously hyped for this book & it didn’t let me down! Cat pitches it as “gender bent Persephone with big gender feels”. Sadly this didn’t get a big push from the publisher :( Highly recommended! A fantastic middle grade from the author of “The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making” AKA my favourite series of all time. The narration, the writing, the characters… a must read for kids and adults alike! The audiobook is narrated by Heath Miller and he did a smashing job - put his whole heart and soul into it. The acknowledgements are 100% worth the read. My heart… <3

  11. 5 out of 5

    Soup

    One of those rare books that you want to tumble into entirely, head to tail, or tattoo yourself in honor of it so that it is always and forever a part of your very being. Valente plays with words and world building with a skill like Terry Pratchett (RIP) and can weave a mythic story that makes you hold your very breath as you read. For those who read it and really *get it,* this will be a book they come to again and again in either re-readings or as a formative building block of their core imagi One of those rare books that you want to tumble into entirely, head to tail, or tattoo yourself in honor of it so that it is always and forever a part of your very being. Valente plays with words and world building with a skill like Terry Pratchett (RIP) and can weave a mythic story that makes you hold your very breath as you read. For those who read it and really *get it,* this will be a book they come to again and again in either re-readings or as a formative building block of their core imagination. Thank you to NetGalley for the e-ARC, I'm off to pre-order a hardback & kindle copy so I always have a copy to hand.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    This book was a bright spot of joy in a muddled mess of a world. At times, it was excessively reminiscent of Valente's Fairyland series, but since I love that series so much, I didn't mind at all. Ultimately, this book's strong point was really the vibes. The prose was as excellent as always, the characters were engaging and sympathetic, the world building was creative, and the plot was interesting and unique, though perhaps a little too rushed at the end. That being said, the thing that makes t This book was a bright spot of joy in a muddled mess of a world. At times, it was excessively reminiscent of Valente's Fairyland series, but since I love that series so much, I didn't mind at all. Ultimately, this book's strong point was really the vibes. The prose was as excellent as always, the characters were engaging and sympathetic, the world building was creative, and the plot was interesting and unique, though perhaps a little too rushed at the end. That being said, the thing that makes this book stand out is just the overall feeling it gives you. I'm somehow left with the persistent thought that maybe life isn't hopeless bullshit after all, and that's a lovely sensation to have.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    4.5 stars, rounded up. An excellent story by Cat Valente about feelings and belonging and reconciliation and also quite literally travelling through the land of the dead to marry the ghost of the monster your mother shot. It takes a bit to really start, and there's places where I felt like I'd skipped a paragraph or two because of pacing or leaps in logic, but nothing that distracts too much from the overall vibe of the book. And I really want a bathrobe like Bonk's that can safely hold not one bu 4.5 stars, rounded up. An excellent story by Cat Valente about feelings and belonging and reconciliation and also quite literally travelling through the land of the dead to marry the ghost of the monster your mother shot. It takes a bit to really start, and there's places where I felt like I'd skipped a paragraph or two because of pacing or leaps in logic, but nothing that distracts too much from the overall vibe of the book. And I really want a bathrobe like Bonk's that can safely hold not one but two china tea sets for my travels.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Adam Maloney

    OSMO UNKNOWN AND THE EIGHTPENNY WOODS by the always incredible Catherynne M. Valente is a great book. Finished reading my copy this weekend. OSMO UNKNOWN has the uniquely imaginative flavor and almost lyricality of prose that Valente does so well; the words dance along the folds of one's brain in a deeply satisfying manner. The story, like her Fairyland series before it, manages to be very accessible to younger readers while not talking down to them and while containing rich and complex themes/s OSMO UNKNOWN AND THE EIGHTPENNY WOODS by the always incredible Catherynne M. Valente is a great book. Finished reading my copy this weekend. OSMO UNKNOWN has the uniquely imaginative flavor and almost lyricality of prose that Valente does so well; the words dance along the folds of one's brain in a deeply satisfying manner. The story, like her Fairyland series before it, manages to be very accessible to younger readers while not talking down to them and while containing rich and complex themes/subtext. I'd give more details about the story itself, but I promised the book's narrator that I'd keep its secrets, and I'd never break a promise to a book. Just trust me - it's a good one.

  15. 5 out of 5

    What Angela Reads

    Wow. This book was absolutely magical. In typical Catherynne Valente fashion the world building and the writing of this book transports you directly into the book and transforms the words on the page to a picture playing out in front of you. The characters are sweet and playful and everything you need in a middle grade novel. I hope to read more from this world because I just didn't get enough. As always, when it comes to Valente, this is a 5 star read and one that I highly recommend. Wow. This book was absolutely magical. In typical Catherynne Valente fashion the world building and the writing of this book transports you directly into the book and transforms the words on the page to a picture playing out in front of you. The characters are sweet and playful and everything you need in a middle grade novel. I hope to read more from this world because I just didn't get enough. As always, when it comes to Valente, this is a 5 star read and one that I highly recommend.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    "This is a nightmare. This is the danger of other people! They bring pain and worry and upset stomachs! You meet someone, and what's next? You just have to worry about them? Forever? That's no way to live!" Never started to snap into a protective ball. But she gave up halfway through her curl and plopped down among twisted black silk brush. "I can't protect myself against my own sadness," she wailed. "What am I supposed to do now?" "This is a nightmare. This is the danger of other people! They bring pain and worry and upset stomachs! You meet someone, and what's next? You just have to worry about them? Forever? That's no way to live!" Never started to snap into a protective ball. But she gave up halfway through her curl and plopped down among twisted black silk brush. "I can't protect myself against my own sadness," she wailed. "What am I supposed to do now?"

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rose Paris

    I was intrigued by the 'boy Persephone' tag, and within a few pages charmed by the poetic world building and the BEST supporting characters (Bonk and Nevermore!) I have read in a long while. Love the neat use of magical mushrooms reflecting their real life lesser known properties and the many nods to myth and fairy tale. Only wish I had been able to read both this and the Fairyland series as a child as well as an adult. I was intrigued by the 'boy Persephone' tag, and within a few pages charmed by the poetic world building and the BEST supporting characters (Bonk and Nevermore!) I have read in a long while. Love the neat use of magical mushrooms reflecting their real life lesser known properties and the many nods to myth and fairy tale. Only wish I had been able to read both this and the Fairyland series as a child as well as an adult.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lara

    I may have drooled directly onto the book at the brief mention of samosa trees and gulab jamun vines on the Diwali Atoll. I teared up twice, I actively cried once, and yes, I read the oath out loud with one hand raised, because I am very familiar with these bargains.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Candice

    This book is a shiny moon of a button. Full of wildness and animals with 2 (or more) natures and secrets and mushrooms like houses and trains and feelings. I loved this book so much. Another Valente must-read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    PottWab Regional Library

    O

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Extremely abstract and meaningful for a book written for such a young audience.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mello

    Does it count if the acknowledgements are the part that made me cry? Anyway, Cat Valente don’t miss!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    Another lovely book from Cat Valente. <3

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra Wright

    Cute story, very silly! I probably would’ve enjoyed it more if I didn’t read it/listen to it alongside a heavier book, but I did like it!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Are you trying to feel my feelings? Love this book so much, was great to listen to with my daughter

  26. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    The writing style was absolutely gorgeous

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    I adore this book. Highly recommend.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lorena

    Catherynne Valente is just so very good at taking your very own feelings and punching you in the face with them (but in a good way).

  29. 4 out of 5

    Miranda

    There's an explosion at the end of this book. That was the best part, but I loved all of it. There's an explosion at the end of this book. That was the best part, but I loved all of it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Patsy Frey-Davis

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