By: Catherynne Valente
Series Run: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland And Led The Revels There, The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland And Cut The Moon In Two, The Boy Who Lost Fairyland, and The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All The Way Home, and a couple of short stories available online.
Where to Start: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making
Review: A portal fantasy for all ages, the Fairyland books star a girl named September and the friends she makes in Fairyland, a wild and perilous place. It's wonderful, but it's also dangerous. Catherynne Valente's lyrical prose and strong narrator's voice makes this a heck of a read. There's a lot to unpack, something that will hold up to repeated readings--especially for a growing kid, who will find their own personal maturity and experience adding more to re-reads in later years.
Upsides: Those titles, that writing. This series will blow the mind of someone over the age of 10, and gives kids a lot of a ways to discuss feelings and ideas that they have but can't verbalize--questions of identity and values and caring. This is a fantastic setting with a lot of imagination put into it.
Downsides: It's a middle grade series about girl going to a fantastic world. That doesn't appeal to everyone. There's a couple gut punches in the plot. There's a book in the series that may make you not want to continue, but it'll be worth it if you do.