Title: Every Heart a Doorway
Series: Wayward Children, #1
Author: Seanan McGuire
Genre: YA Fantasy, mystery
My Rating: ★★★★★
Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.
But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.
Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.
But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.
No matter the cost.
This little book blew me away and it was such a damn page-turner. I devoured it within a day and cannot wait to binge the rest of the series. I totally fell in love with Seanan McGuire’s gorgeous writing. Everything was so vivid and atmospheric. Seriously, please please pick up this book!
In short, this is a story about children who have returned from magical lands. You know how Alice fell through the rabbit hole? Or the kids went through the wardrobe to Narnia? Imagine magical, strange worlds like that — these children have been there. But now they’ve returned to the real world, and they do not feel like they fit in with society. They miss those faraway worlds so much that the idea of going back totally consumes them. So, they go to live in a boarding school that’s meant to help rehabilitate these children.
Nancy has just returned from the Underworld, and she wants nothing more than to go back. She befriends several children in the school, but then horrible things start happening, and pretty soon a story about healing turns into a full-blown murder mystery.
And even though this book is small, it is full of so much inclusion. The main character is ace and becomes best friends with a trans character. There is also very straight forward talk about sex, gender roles, gender identities, and sexual orientation.
Along with the amazing diversity, I loved reading about the different worlds these children went to. There are dark worlds that have death and vampires, and also more fairytale-like worlds. But what’s even cooler is that some of these children have brought back their own magic and skills from those worlds and practice it at the school.
But what I totally did not expect was the last half of the book to turn into a murder mystery, and it definitely felt like I was reading a horror novel. It was such a treat and I loved trying to guess whodunnit.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read about the “darker” side of fairy tales and magical worlds. You will love Seanan McGuire’s writing and how she shapes each character to be so unique yet relatable. Like give me all her books now, please.
Buddy read with Jakob!