I really don’t want to give this book an introduction, like I do for all of my other blog posts. This novel stuck with me in such a strong way that I just want to jump right in and give you my review. So here it is:
There have been countless stories – both written and not written – about children who have fallen down into holes or gone into wardrobes and escaped into a completely different world from their own. Each of these worlds is unique in its magical properties and each child who travels to these different dimensions has a personal and unique experience there. But what happens once that world doesn’t need you anymore? At Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, those who have returned from their journeys can find a safe place, a place where they can be their new changed selves and where their stories of their experience are not dismissed as “crazy dreams”. The school’s goal is to help these children either find their way back to the magical world they had journeyed to (which rarely happens) or to help them adjust to the world they are stuck in. But when tragedy strikes, the students and Eleanor have another goal in mind: trying to stay alive.
This book is whimsical and fantastic. It’s funny yet sad; it speaks to those who have never felt like they fit in. I remember my childhood and feeling like a misfit all the time. If I could have escaped to a fantasy world where I belonged, I would never have looked back. And in a way, I accomplished that through literature. The Chronicles of Narnia series and Alice in Wonderland were just a few novels that I would pore over endlessly. This story explores what happens AFTER the adventure. Not everyone comes back and can adjust to “normal” society. It’s funny because of all of the weird tendencies these children exhibit but it is sad because they understand that they never truly belonged in this world. Add to that a murder mystery, and you’ve got a novel that will keep you hooked! Just like All the Birds in the Sky, this novel can be quite weird and for some, it may not suit them. But I really do urge you to give it a shot. Because I think you will find it just as fantastic and magical as I did.