Neef is a changeling, a human baby stolen by fairies and replaced with one of their own. She lives in "New York Between," a Manhattan alongside our own, home to creatures of folklore. Protected by her fairy godmother until she breaks a Fairy Law, now she must face the challenge of the Green Lady of Central Park or be sacrificed! Neef is determined, but time is running out.
Delia Sherman (born 1951) is a fantasy writer and editor. Her novel The Porcelain Dove won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award.
She was born in Tokyo and brought up in New York City. She earned a PhD in Renaissance studies at Brown University and taught at Boston and North-eastern universities. She is the author of the novels Through a Brazen Mirror, The Porcelain Dove (a Mythopoeic Award winner), and Changeling. Sherman co-founded the Interstitial Arts Foundation, dedicated to promoting art that crosses genre borders. She lives in New York City with her wife and sometime collaborator, Ellen Kushner.
While I never really warmed up to Neef, the protagonist, I thought her changeling counterpart totally, utterly rocked. I loved Changeling from the start, and she made perfect sense to me as what a fairy changeling raised in our world might be like, too.
Also, the time spent in the Metropolitan Museum of Art was worth the price of admission (so to speak) by itself.
This was a really fun read. It is structured in your basic 'magical middle grade quest' arc that fans of Rick Riordan will be familiar with, but Changeling and Neef are both characters and I love how they play off each other. I particularly liked how Changeling exhibited several kind of autistic behaviors [even though it's never discussed explicitly in the text] because a lot of the reasons that people historically would accuse someone of being a changeling would be because they were acting 'weird' and expressing behaviors now associated with autism although they obviously didn't have a name for it back then but I thought that was a nice little touch. I also liked how the author updated a lot of the 'classic' fairy tales to fit into modern New York life, like Jack and the Beanstalk became Jack and the Extension ladder, and having fairies hold domain over things like Broadway and Wall Street instead of more traditional fairy knowes. Definitely going to be checking out the next book!
This book was really good, so the parts of it which were frustrating were really more frustrating than they would have been in a mediocre book, sadly. Fantastic world-building and a smart, self-aware protagonist -- yay! But that protagonist couldn't manage a believable interaction with any of the other people in the book -- boo! Neef had pretty much no empathy for anyone, no sense that she should be concerned in anything but a mechanical how-does-this-affect-me way with other people's feelings. There could have been a great story in there about what emotions really meant for humans raised by fairies and fairies raised by humans, but the opportunity was lost. The author's short story Catnyp, about the same protagonist when she's a bit older, was much more appealing.
Some fairy books can cross over from young reader to older reader and the fanatasy world can be interesting for both groups. This books is really only for younger readers. I would not read it again. The character is interesting enough to finish the book but not to worry for or about, you don't get attached to Neef or the Changeling. The plot is simple problem and answer. But the unique animal characters and over all fantasy aspect should satisfy a new reader.
First, this book is in the same world as Delia Sherman's "CATNYP" from the Datlow/Windling "The Faery Reel" anthology & "Grand Central Park" from Datlow/Windling's "Green Man". CATNYP introduces us to the protagnonist Neef & her friend Fleet; "Grand Central Park" gives us the Central Park Genius Loci (the seriously Big Bad here) & the fairy Bugle (mentioned in passing in Changeling). I liked both those stories; I loved the idea of New York Between.
Like others have stated here, I just couldn't warm up to Neef. Neef is a changeling, a human child stolen by Faery to live in New York Between, the modern day version of the Sidhe Realms, and the Faery left a substitute in the human world in Neef's place. When this story opens, we're thrown right into the Faery Realm & Neef's world right from the start -- she lives with her fairy godmother, a white rat named Astris, and Neef's being a typical human young teen: bored, wanting adventure, and tired of all the obvious secrets the adults aren't telling her.
We're never given a reason for the secrets, by the way. When Neef finally finds out that the Ruling Fairy of Central Park has laid a geas on Neef (Neef is not allowed to ever dance at the Summer Solstice, and she finds out about the geas by unwittingly breaking it), it's not only the first time Neef has ever heard about this, but no explanation is ever given for why that rule was so important.
Worse, the Central Park Genius (the ruler of the Park area of New York Between) promptly puts Neef under the equivalent of a death sentence for breaking said geas...which Neef never knew about to begin with because all the Faery folks around her won't/can't tell her, and we're STILL never given a reason why it's so important.
I mean, I get it, okay, Faery rules are arbitrary and nonsensical -- but that usually means they're just nonsensical to us humans. The Faery should have a reason for their rules beyond "just because": do they hate rudeness? Is politeness mandatory in Faery politicking? Are mortal dangerous to the Solstice? Is it needed because of certain magics? Nope, the Park Genius just laid that geas on Neef when Neef was just a baby, the day she was stolen into Faery, and geased everyone else to never tell why. No reason. Just because.
The whole "just because it's Faery" reasoning gets damn thin before the first chapter ends. By the time the Park Genius banishes Neef from Central Park for breaking a rule she didn't know about & that no one could even tell her about...couldn't Sherman think of any better explanation than "just because"?
At that point, I was wondering why Neef even bothered to want to try to lift the banishment, let alone remain in Faery. Sherman unwittingly has shown us that Faery is an abusive home, with Neef being blamed for the Faery's abuse because of "her actions" -- Neef doesn't come right out and apologize for making the Faeries abuse her & kick her out of her only home & try to kill her, but dammit, I was fully expecting her to.
And since Sherman has Neef putting up with all this & wanting to go home despite everything, with Neef's Faery abusers giving her a big welcome at the end, it's obvious that Sherman had no clue of the abusive subtext in her writing -- this despite writing for several of the Datlow/Windling anthologies that explicitly posit faery tales as survival stories for abused kids.
What's worse? At one point, Neef meets her Changeling, the Fairy made to look like Neef & left in Neef's place in the human world. Neef makes it plain that she considers Changeling to be a useless load. She only helps Changeling escape a nest of monsters because Changeling knows/shares Neef's True Name; Neef refuses to help any of the other trapped children who are literally **reaching out & begging for help**, and Neef makes it very plain that she simply does not care about them nor feel any sympathy. Not once does Neef show any sympathy for Changeling, either, despite Changling having been stolen from her home & loving parents. Neef considers Changling as a useless annoyance...until Changeling turns out to be able to provide something Neef needs in her quest.
By the way, Sherman describes Changeling's quirks and habits in detail, and makes it plain throughout the story that all the other Faeries think Changeling is useless, unfit, & the lowest of the low, implying that's why they stole Neef & left Changeling in the human world. It's very obvious that Changeling is meant to be autistic.
So. Implying that the "true" Neef isn't autistic? That autistic folks are not only inhuman changelings, but imperfect copies, unwanted in faery & considered useless...until they have something someone wants? Sherman, did you even think about what you were writing?
Again, why does Neef want to stay with these unfriendly, arbitrary, sociopathic, abusive Faeries?? The longer the story went on, the more unfair crap that kept getting piled on top of Neef for no reason beyond "it's just the way the Faery are" (yeah, and family members justify their abusers' crap with "it's just the way they are" in order to make the victims shut up)...jesus christ on his fuckin' pogo stick, I was waiting for Neef to flip off the entire Faery Court & return to our world with Changeling.
Look, a "just because" works in a short story. There's not much space to explain a lot. But in a novel, it doesn't work. In the short story CATNYP, the Faery Snowbell takes exception to Neef questioning Faery "love"; ok, fine, Snow's a prickly, proud faery who felt challenged by Neef. We get that. Then we're told "the stacks are dangerous", and we're also told and shown why! So it makes sense when the NYPL Genius tells Neef "stay out of the stacks". The other rules he gives her make similar sense: food can damage the books, disturbances interrupt other folks' use of the library.
But in "Changeling", none of the rules make sense. Neef's blind acceptance of the shit Faery puts on her makes no sense. Neef being told to "take responsibility" for something no one could tell her about, something she was actively put to sleep against her will over whenever the situation came up...and then Neef is blamed when Faery wants to kill her over the rules she wasn't allowed to be told??
Yeah, the abuse was all her fault. She was asking for it. Neef needs to apologize to the folks who want to kill her. How dare she not accept responsibility for everyone treating her like shit!
Y'know, Sherman, my parents pulled shit like this, too. I got in trouble over weird arbitrary rules that I didn't know existed until the parents were screaming in my face. I got in trouble & punished over things that should've been the adults' reponsibility to take care of, not a young child's.
That's called ABUSE, Sherman. It doesn't matter whether it's Faery or Human.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Changeling is funny and fresh and fine, another in the short list of fabulous books set in New York City published in the past year. It is takes place in New York Between, and Sherman balances the Between of Faerie with a terrific young heroine named Neef, ringing changes on every single New York and Faerie trope you can imagine, and a few you can't.
Altamente entretenido, me mantuvo enganchada a la historia de principio a fin, lo que más me gustó fue la cantidad de mitología que manejaron. Lo único que no me gustó fue el final, que me dejó con ganas de más.
If you're one of the maybe 3 people who actually read my reviews, I'm sure you've realized by now that I am a sucker for any book/series that involves Faeries and the fair Folk. As a result, I have read various books by various authors about the Fae, and they have ranged from absolutely amazing and unforgettable (looking at you, Holly Black!) to boring, annoying, and agonizing to read (Sarah J. Maas, please stand up). Changeling falls somewhere in the middle. It's not bad, exactly, just... meh.
Neef is a mortal child, stolen from her crib as a baby by the Folk and replaced with one of their own. Raised by her fairy godmother Astris in the Fairies' "in-between" world of New York's Central Park, she finds herself thrust back into the humans' version of New York after she breaks a fairy law and must complete several tasks in order to clear her name.
To be honest, the characters were the single most disappointing aspect of this book. They are just devastatingly dull. How is it possible that Neef is a literal mortal who was ripped from her parents and raised by fairies, surrounded by their customs, following their rules, and yet she is not in the least bit interesting?? That's actually kind of impressive, to fail so utterly at making such a character not at all relatable or engaging. Luckily, Neef wasn't travelling alone. The rest of the characters were pretty meh, which was a real shame, but it can't be helped.
The worldbuilding was where the book was really able to shine. Despite the lack of an engaging protagonist, I found myself immensely enjoying their journey and the things they saw. The book does a pretty good job of giving you an idea of what these places they're visiting look like, and what the Fairies look like as well. I also liked that, while these Fairies are much more tame than some other depictions have shown, they still indicate that they are not to be trifled with, such as the Fairy that tells Neef he'll sell her a ticket to a Broadway show in exchange for one of her hands. Very dark! I love it!
I won't lie, this book was a definite disappointment, mainly because Holly black herself rated it 5 stars so I was really excited to check it out. And again, it's not bad; I did enjoy reading it for the most part. But Neef was just so... blah. 3 stars.
I really wanted to LOVE this book but instead, I just liked it. :( From the time I turned 5 and began reading the Wizard of Oz series (Yes, I taught myself to read at the age of 3 using my brother's comic books and my reading level has always been exceedingly high!), I have loved mystical fantasy. This book had it all or so I thought.
The beginning of the book was good but then I began to realize that the fairy kingdom was as arrogant as the humans in the real world. The story got a little confusing when Neef discovered her "double" who came from the human world and that it was never truly explained whether Neef was the stolen child or if Changeling was the stolen child.
Now I will admit that I would probably have LOVED this book if I had read it in my youth. However, at the age of 64 and having seen a bit more of life than I would have liked, I found the book to be not quite so enchanting. (I did just retead the entire Wizard of Oz Series and was enthralled, so it isn't the fact that my love of fantasy has deserted me). I just didn't feel a kinship with any of the characters. In fact, Neef and Changeling were rather boring. The fact that they were pretty much the only 2 characters that got any action could have been part of the problem for me.
A child would enjoy reading this book or having it read to her/him, I'm sure. But even if you're bored like I was, I would tell you not to read this book and instead give it to someone of the age it was written for.
smiles all around... this book was amazingly fun... kind of exactly what children's literature should be... plenty of amazing characters, lots of mythological beasties, and loads of funny dialogue... kinda perfect that the important characters were girls, and not all about their appearance and "where are the cute boys??"... just a joy to read...
I truly don't think I could rate this book fairly. Some middle grade fantasy books can be enjoyed by young readers and adult readers. This story is clearly for children. I probably would have enjoyed this book if I was a child. Some of the conflicts in the story didn't make sense to me. I just came to the conclusion that I'm just too old for the story .
The in-between is the fairyland where the folk lives along with the Hunt in Central Park ... if the Hunt should catch you will most properly regret it big time. A quest is what the changeling soon realizes has some dire circumstances in store for her and her doppelganger Jennifer. I enjoyed the story and many of the charming characters.
Even though I liked many details in the book, overall, I just didn't feel like the characters are interesting. The NYC citizens might find it a better reading since many characters and places are written in a way that might be too alien to a non-New Yorker.
I am, personally, not very fond of urban fantasy as such, especially in this particular kind of setting. The stories of an Other City (in this case, New York), created in the likeness of the human one and populated by fairy versions of the actual inhabitants (here: artistic types in the Village, vampiric fairy entertainers in Broadway and gold-hungry dragons, the magical Bear-Bull and a woman named DowJones in the Wall Street, to name only a few) very, very rarely seem convincing to me, because they are too obvious, too predictable (which is why I loved Ben Aaronowitch's concept of making Mama Thames a black woman: he chose a less predictable and yet, in modern multicultural London, perfectly fitting personification for London's main river). To be completely fair, however: I do know the book and the concepts are designed... well, not exactly for me: I am neither young adult, not New Yorker in love with her strange city. It was not the setting, then, that made me like (really, seriously like) Delia Sherman's novel. What got me hooked and kept me reading was, firstly, the creation of characters, and secondly, the story as such. Sherman had a fantastic idea in creating her protagonists. The narrator is Neef, a teenage human girl who has been snatched from our world to the fairy NYC and exchanged for a fairy changeling. Neef is mortal and human, she does not perfectly fit the fairy world, but this is her home and they are her people, the only ones she knows. She, predictably, gets herself into trouble, predictably and very consciously (because, hell, she knows the fairy rules!) goes on a quest and there she meets her predicably present magical companion. Who turns out to be the fairy changeling left to her parents in her place. She is, from what we may see, a partially disabled young teenager (all signs point at her being seriously autistic), living with her loving, caring family in the modern NYC. Sherman's use of the old bit of folklore (the common belief that changelings are difficult children) to create an unusual, intriguing character. Jennifer, nicknamed Changeling by Neef, is seen by the readers only through Neef's eyes; she does not get to be the ppoint of view. But the combination of what Neef says and what a modern reader can infer from Changeling's comments, makes for a flawed, problematic, yet very humane and likeable character of a disabled girl who has to at least partially overcome her problems to survive; which, one may add, does not make her overcome them forever (she's still prone to panic attacks and she hates to be touched) and be magically made perfect; such little touches of realism are one of the book's strongers points. Both Changeling and Neef are slightly alien to the worlds they live in (a feeling, as I recall, shared by the vast percentage of teenagers of this world, fairy or not), but Sherman does not give us a wish-fulfillment fantasy in which the fairy will return to the fairies and the human girl to the humans. Neef's world is the fairy one, while Changeling, despite her origins, feels at home with humans - that is as it should be and this is the solution the characters are aiming for. Neither will there be a happy ending with undying friendship and friendly visits to the other's world, I'm afraid... The novel is beautifilly constructed, with a fairytale structure and the perfect doubling of the title characters. Neef and Changeling are completely different in characters, upbringing and attitude; yet at the same time they share the original name and surname and in fact, with Changeling being a replacement for the stolen Neef, they are, in a way, one person. And the book title, referring to both of them, makes it obvious that, indeed, we have two different-and-yet-the-same protagonists here. Only after I finished the book, I realized that this is a novel about the girls' quest and female helpers. Yes, we have important male characters here: the Pooka, Neef's tricker-turned-fairy-godfather, the Curator, Genius of the Metropolitan Museum and the unpleasant tengu called Carlyle, are the most prominent ones. Yet the majority of the actual action is done by girls (Neef and Changeling) with girls' (the vampiress Honey, the Dragon assistant-artist Fleet) help and with magical support from some men (the Curator, Pooka), but mostly from women (Bastet the cat goddess-figurine); and Neef does what she does at least partly because she wants to return home to her fairy godmother Astris, the white lady rat, who is the only mother she ever really knew.
I wholeheartedly recommend the novel to those of the readers who like young adult novel - or those who want something nice, intriguing, moderately scary and rather charming to read to the children of their families.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Changeling tells the story of Neef, a little girl who lives in New York Between. Neef, born a mortal, is a girl different from everyone else. Neef is curious, bold, but most of all, she is stubborn. Neef eventually was punished by the Green Lady and exiled from New York Between. On her journey, she is accompanied by her overly, sensitive, mortal friend Changeling. Neef and Changeling are on a journey to recover three things in order to get Neef accepted back into New York Between or the Hunt will continue to find her and will not rest until Neef is found and done for.
Neef is a changeling, a human baby stolen by fairies who lives in the Central Park of New York Between, an Otherworld Manhattan that co-exists with our own, inhabited by all sorts of Fairy Folk. Neef (whose real name she doesn’t care to disclose to just anybody since – as you know – real names have power) has been brought up by her fairy godmother the white rat Astris and lives under the protection of The Green Lady, the Genius of the Central Park. Neef’s days are spent in relative tranquillity, learning about Folk Lore and attending lessons at her world’s (awesome) version of the Metropolitan Museum.
But Neef is super curious and yearns for adventures. And it is that curiosity that lands her in trouble and she ends up (unknowingly) violating a geas put on her and breaking Fairy law. The result is that she is to be banished from home after losing the protection of the Green Lady, effectively becoming prey to the Wild Hunt. But there is always a way out or a bargain to be made when it comes to the Folk and so Neef and her friends convince the Green Lady to accept a deal: Neef is to go in search of three objects, all of them close to impossible to obtain. Even as scared as she is, Neef takes the challenge as it ought to be taken: as an opportunity to go on a quest and to finally live a Grand Adventure. And a Grand Adventure she has – from being kidnapped to meeting her fairy changeling, from facing mermaids and dragons to meeting the Bull of Wall Street, it’s all very worthy of a cool heroine who deals with all the obstacles with smarts and determination (and sometimes, tears).
At the end there is definitely some growth (as any real quester will tell you) and so Neef grows up but interestingly enough, she doesn’t grow human – or at least, I didn’t read it as such. Her sense of ethic is shaped and determined by the Folk stories she knows. She has been completed integrated to her life – she never once thinks about leaving her fairy life for a mortal life, for example. She also knows all the supposed rules of a Quest and everything that relates to stories and she uses this knowledge to her advantage, even when it means breaking those very rules. Part of what made this book such a pleasure to read was the fact that Neef has so much awareness about Fantasy and Folklore tropes. I also loved how varied those stories were as the premise is that the mortal immigrants who moved to NY from all over the world have taken the Folk – and their stories – with them and even beloved book characters become alive in New York Between.
That said, I picked Changeling to read after reading and loving Delia Sherman’s amazing The Freedom Maze and I was curious to see how both books compared (or not). I am saying this as a matter of full disclosure: this is how I read this book. So, they are very different books in the end, with very different stories and motives. But I thought it was very interesting that both heroines shared a couple of traits. Both departed on their stories because of the similar impetus that both protagonists shared: the desire to go on an adventure. Plus, both of them loved stories and had a certain awareness of tropes relating to fairytales. The difference lies in how The Freedom Maze’s heroine awareness did not help her at all because, even though there were fantastical elements in that story, she was living in the “real world” whereas Neef uses those to her advantage and with success – but then again, Changeling is a Fantasy story through and through.
That also transcribes in how the two stories progress: Changeling is a very, very light romp – even when Neef is at dangerous moments, that danger never really comes through. In fact, that is my biggest problem (if I can even call it that, considering how I enjoyed it) with Changeling: considering the stakes, considering the creatures Neef has to face, the challenges proved to be extremely easy and work out perfectly in the end. I wondered: isn’t it also part of traditional stories that there are great costs to a protagonist on a quest? In that sense, I thought that The Freedom Maze explored that idea much better. Having said that I am also very much aware of the fact that it is not really fair to compare the two books on those grounds but there you have it.
Changeling is supposed to be a light, fantastical romp with a very cool heroine and on its own, it is one of the most imaginative Middle Grade Fantasy stories I’ve had the pleasure to read.
Charming. That's the first and most obvious thing I can say about this book. If you love Folklore at all, you probably won't be able to resist this book's overall charm, despite the fact that it takes a bit (I found personally) to get into.
I loved the modern New York fairy tale alternate universe the author creates. It's a world I'd love to spend more time in, so I'd probably follow this series just for that alone. It's enchanting and does make one really want to visit the real New York just to see if it is even the TEENSEST bit as magical as this book makes it seem.
That said, I had a hard time liking the main character Neef. She was a static character for most of the book. Things just seem to happen to her and, while she angsts a lot about how 'hard' her life allegedly is, she does get out of things fairly easily, usually with the help of other characters she barely acknowledges until the end when they've all become bffs because reasons.
I guess Neef wasn't horrible, and learned SOMEthing by the end of the book but not much.
I liked Neef's fairy counterpart, the titular Changeling, a lot. I'd even say I loved her. She was just fantastic. Interesting, cute, maddening, and always saying something that made me grin at the book in my hands. Now, to be fair, I may have related to her on such a deep level because most of the things she does as a 'part fairy creature' remind me of things I do because I'm socially autistic. Such as the out of place comments about things, the hyper-focusing, the dislike for being touched, I found all of that so relatable I just wanted to give the girl a hearty air handshake (well I'm not going to hug her, we'd both hate that!) and I wanted to slap Neef every time the little snot got mad at her. Poor Changeling, she did her best!
Honestly, I would have favorited this book and given it five stars, no second thought, if Changeling had had her own POV. If we got to see her awkwardness back home, and get inside her head to see how discovering you're part fairy might feel (the book really glossed over that to have even more of a Neef pity party, which was annoying) I'd have loved this book to pieces.
Recommended reading, but fair warning that you probably won't fall in love with the main character, I certainly did not.
I will say that this book started off a bit slow and confusing for me, but I always find that with a new fantasy book. I just had to get used to the new world. It did help that it kind of took place in New York City, which I am familiar with, so I think that made it easier to grasp the new world. And once I had a handle, boy was the ride fun! Neef and Changeling are such fun characters and meeting all the fairy tale folk throughout the book was fabulous!
Mostly I am excited about this book as a teacher and I really think that students will enjoy and learn from this book.
Changeling gives us a world called The New York In-Between which is a magical world that is parallel to NYC. I love this book specifically as a teacher, though, because of a couple reasons:
1)Delia Sherman uses magical folk from folklore from all over the world in the novel. We meet Boggarts from England, Dryads from Greece, Chin Chia from China, etc. (And it has a glossary of all the fairy tale folk.) How much fun would this be to use with a folk lore lesson?!?!?
2) She also has some literary folk that live in the NY In-between such as The Water Rat from The Wind in the Willows("A writer made him up, but he was so real that he took on a life of his own").
3) Lastly, Astris, the fairy godmother, tells fairy tales to Neef, the main character, but they are all New York-ified. For example, "Little Red Riding Hood" becomes "Little Red Baseball Cap"- How much fun would it be to have students write their own version of the stories using Astris's titles?!?!?!
Neef is a human changeling living in New York Between. She has an amazing fairy godmother, Astris, who happens to also be a white rat. Neef has lots of rules to abide by, but that's mainly to keep her safe. She knows that she's a changeling and that there is a fairy living in her place but it really makes no difference to her. She pretty much loves her life.
Except she's DYING to attend the Solstice Dance. Astris manages to use magic to keep her asleep during this bi-yearly event but this time around she's determined to stay awake and attend.
Unfortunately all those stories about curiosity killing that cat that Astris had told her proved to be true. Unknowingly, she broke a promise and must now deal with the curse. Unless she can acquire the three tokens that the Green Lady challenged her to obtain, Neef will become the food for the Wild Hunt. Using her knowledge of fairy tales, Neef journeys on this quest hoping to right the wrong.
Changeling was a pretty fun read. Neef was a likable character and although there were times when I was confused by her actions, overall the story and pacing was perfect.
I really liked that Neef meets her Changeling and together they make this journey. I thought that was an interesting twist with the changeling theme in fairy tales. Plus, using New York as the setting made it almost believable, you know. Like, the movie Toy Story...how do we know that our stuffed animals don't come alive? New York Between could quite possibly exist!
Neef is a changeling, a human child taken and raised by fairy folk in Central Park. Her fairy godmother, who raised her and teaches her, is a white rat named Astris. Neef has begun to feel hemmed in by the rules she has followed all her life, and so, when she discovers there is a Solstice dance that she has never heard of, she is determined to attend. The disaster that follows sends her on a quest out into New York Between.
This is a fun book. The fairy folk, as you would expect in New York City, come from all over the world, bringing their various traits and traditions with them. Plus, there are living fictional characters, such as Eloise, and beings like the Dragon of Wall Street. You never quite know what to expect. But Neef learns to rely on her own abilities and, with help from "people" she meets along the way, brings her quest to a satisfying conclusion.
I look forward to reading the sequel.
(I would be curious to know if anyone else thought Changeling, Neef's fairy counterpart, resided somewhere on the Asperger's syndrome spectrum? I don't know if it was intended, but so many of her characteristics seem to me to fit. Basically, it was just an interesting thought, but we might want to look more closely at other faery characters with that in mind. Could they all be changelings?)
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” — Neil Gaiman (This is probably the best quote from a completely different author that I could put with this book. One, because 'Changeling' is a story about a girl raised by fairies. Two, because there is also a dragon in this story.)
Neef is a changeling. She was taken as a young child and a fairy that looked exactly like her was put in her place. She was then taken to Central Park and raised by a beautiful white rat named Astris. Neef might live with the fairies but she is just a mortal child with mortal curiousity and whims which gets her in trouble with the "Green Lady" and sends her on an adventure which may or may not put her life back to rights.
I've read a few 'Fey' or 'Fairy' books before but this one is so full of mythical creatures that I think it is probably one the best reads for those in love with fairy stories. There are so many fairy realm creatures in this book that I couldn't begin to name them all. This book is also full of adventure and is a really good quick read for young-adults. I recommend to anyone looking for something mystical and fun.