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 book is the perfect way to get out of your brain and set aside the world for a time. It will only be a short while but oh, how wonderful it is.
Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children is for children who have slipped away into different worlds. Some went to fairy lands that are akin to Alice’s Wonderland. Others visited darker places, or weirder places, or places that weren’t happy to see them. For various reasons they have returned to the real world, and many would do anything to find that door out once again.
The story is short with a simple whodunit at its core. But, much like Palimpsest, I wasn’t here for the plot. The various words described are intriguing and I want to know more about them. The characters are simply drawn but still deep and flawed and human. I especially love how the main characters cover a full range of gender and sexual identities.
And the writing! Overall it’s not difficult, pitched at the lower end of YA with a few expletives thrown in, but McGuire pops in observations that make you gasp and say “Yes, this”.
Call it irony, if you like, but we spend so much time waiting for our boys to stray that they never have the opportunity. We notice the silence of men. We depend upon the silence of women.
Some are like life lessons:
We don’t teach you how to dwell. We also don’t teach you how to forget. We teach you how to move on.
So good. As much as I loved this book, though, there are some things I would change. First, I wish it were longer because 1) I’m greedy and 2) a subplot would have helped round out the narrative. The plot felt thin for a world this rich and well thought out. Second, the characters annoyed me with their obsession for categorizing the worlds they visited. The basic classification is interesting and helpful, but the characters’ preoccupation with it drove me nuts. Granted, this has parallels with the real world (pigeonholing, stereotyping) but still. Grah.
I’m excited to see that this is the first in a planned series – I can’t wait to return to McGuire’s world.