Published: April 5th 2016 by Tor.com
Page Count: 173
Series: Wayward Children #1
Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Novella
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.
Spoiler Free Review:
I’m sure so many people, including myself, grew up reading or listening to the story of The Chronicles of Narnia and growing through the wardrobe. I’ve always loved the idea of going through the wardrobe and dreamed of drinking tea with Mr. Tumnus and eating some (or a lot of) Turkish Delight. I was immediately interested in this book when the concept seemed quite similar. I did end up really liking this story, it was a little too short, but still held a very magical and whimsical feel to it.
The plot revolves on the idea of children entering a different through a doorway or perhaps a wardrobe. They become accustomed to the world and most of them love it there. But many do end up coming back to the real world after some time and they’re unable to reside in society. Which leads them to be sent to a boarding school where they basically try and rehabilitate. However, the children usually want to go back to the world they came from.
At first, the whole concept seemed pretty confusing, but after a while it becomes easier to understand. Usually I don’t like it when a book spends half the book explaining the world, but I loved learning about the school and all of the kid’s stories about the various worlds they lived in. There were therapy sessions and each of the character’s arcs seemed were so endearing and intriguing. The plot did take a dark turn when the mystery element came into play. The story then revolved around murderers of the students at the school. I did find this part to be a little uninteresting and I wanted to learn more about the school and kids, not so much the mystery aspect. Nonetheless, I did fly through those parts since most of them were suspenseful.
The characters was one of my favorite aspects to the story. The main character is Nancy and not much stuck out to me about her except that she is asexual. There was no beating around the bush, it’s clearly stated Nancy is asexual which I think is awesome. I’m actually asexual myself, so it’s amazing to have asexuality represented, since it hardly ever is. The rest of the characters were also very endearing. They were all so different in backstories, ethnicity, sexuality and personality. There’s a character who is transgender as well as one who’s Latino and another who’s Japanese.
Despite the novella’s short length, I overall found the story to be very magical. The concept and characters were definitely my favorite aspects. I’m really intrigued about the other character’s backstories and adventures. I can’t wait to see where the story goes in the next few books.