This is a YA novella that debuted with much acclaim and has won many awards. So of course, I didn’t like it.
It was the premise that reeled me in. It’s about students at a boarding school for kids who have entered and then returned from fantasy worlds. They are obsessed with returning, but have to wait for the doorway to their world to reappear. When and where it appears is different for everyone.
I like the idea that everyone has a magical door, an opportunity at some point in their lives to shed their “real” existence. For some, the door is large and obvious. For others, it’s small and inconspicuous. No one knows when it will appear, or for how long. Some people never see their door. Others, like these kids, do and go through them. The world that awaits them could be one of their deepest desires, or worst nightmares. It might be a world of war or chaos. And depending on the child, that could be the best, or worst thing for them.
Some kids return from their worlds and want to forget about their experience altogether. And there are special schools for them. But others want nothing more than to return. And these are the kids at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.
Do you want to know more? Me too! Do you want to know what each child’s fantasy world is like? So do I! And that’s the main problem I have with this book. We only catch snippets of each child’s world. The entirety of the story takes place in the “real” world. And any flashbacks or descriptions McGuire gives us of someone’s fantasy realm is seriously lacking.
The main mystery is that students are ending up dead at the school. So we are trying to figure out who the killer is. But I wasn’t really interested in that. I guess I too, was obsessed like the kids. I just felt McGuire could have focused more on the fantasy, rather than the reality. THAT’S what I signed up for. Silly me.
I think this is one that is better in theory than execution. But plenty of people disagree with me about that. So maybe check it out? It’s short at least. And it’s a series. Maybe it gets better?
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