🚪 Every Heart A Doorway – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🚪 Down Among the Sticks and Bones – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Content/Trigger Warnings: Talk of body image, fat phobia, talk of death, talk of murder, loss of a loved one, discussion of sex and nudity, mentions of racism, anxiety and panic attacks
Dearest readers, this was another fantastic book in the Wayward Children series! We get to see some of our favorites again, travel to new lands, and experience so much diversity. I had such a wonderful time reading this for Pride month and I truly enjoyed the whole experience reading this. If you haven’t started this series or heard of the Wayward Children series yet, then let this be the reason that you need to go check it out!
“There is kindness in the world, if we know how to look for it. If we never start denying it the door.”
If you’re new to the Wayward Children series, this series is based on portal fantasy, one of my favorite fantasy themes. We, as the readers, follow children who have traveled to the magical lands the doors conceal, but somehow found their way back into our world. Once back in our world, the majority of these children want nothing more than to return to the magical lands they once called home, thus Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children comes into the picture. A place where these children can either adapt to being back in our world or they simply wait for their doors to return, to call them home again. In this particular book, we’ll travel through various worlds, see some familiar faces, and meet some new characters we never had the chance to meet before.
“He liked the excuse to talk to people about their shared differences, which became their shared similarities when held up to the right light. They had all survived something. The fact that they had survived different somethings didn’t change the fact that they would always be, in certain ways, the same.”
🍬 Cora – Plus-sized, has anxiety, comes from the mermaid land, Beneath the Lake.
🍬 Nadya – Missing an arm, has an adoptive family, from the drowned world, Belyyreka.
🍬 Christopher – Mexican-American, had cancer, from the skeleton Underworld, Mariposa. (Off topic, but I love Christopher, I loved how he came into play in Every Heart A Doorway, and I’m hoping he gets his own book! I just want to see this cinnamon roll happy!)
🍬 Rini – Japanese, from a Candy Land/ Wonderland world, Confection.
🍬 Kade – Trans, from a warring Fairyland, Prism! (Another favorite that I hope we get to see so much more of! Can this cinnamon roll be happy too?!)
“It was like they had all learned to be a little kinder, or at least a little more careful about what they based their judgments on.”
As I mentioned, this book has a lot of portal worlds. Though we dabble in a few of them, a good portion of this book takes place in Confection, Sumi’s and Rini’s portal world. It’s a world that’s based off Candy Land, but has the same nonsense that Wonderland often displays.
Also, if you noticed my character breakdown, we have a wide variety of diversity and representation from the main characters just like in the first two books. From discussions of body image, race, physical disabilities, mental illness, sexuality, even religious representation, the Wayward Children series has everything you could want in it. And it’s woven so beautifully into each book. Each topic is always handled with love, care, and great knowledge. It never feels exploitative or degrading in any way. As a plus-size reader, I loved the way Cora talked about being plus-sized. It’s some of the best plus-sized representation I’ve seen in a while. Not going to lie, I shed a couple of tears because it felt like I was being seen with this book and I appreciated Cora’s character even more.
“That’s why people shouldn’t get too hung up on labels. Sometimes I think that’s part of what we do wrong. We try to make things make sense, even when they’re never going to.”
Overall, I truly loved this book with my whole heart. It’s whimsical, magical, full of moments that lighten the mood, acceptance and love, but just the right amount of importance. All the things you need to steal my breath and soul away. We also have some nods to Greek/Roman mythology with Hades and Persephone in this book, my soul just about died with the amount of love. I can’t wait to continue this series, to meet more characters, to travel through more doors, and to keep loving this series with my whole soul!
“There’s always more than one way to find something out. People only say there’s only one way when they want an excuse to do something incredibly stupid without getting called on it. There are lots of ways to find out, and some of them even involve not pissing off a man who goes by ‘the Lord of the Dead.”