Pick up the Award-Winning Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire for FREE this week -- a book each day! Come check out my review overview of the series!

Hey bookworms!

Sorry it's been a hot minute. This year hasn't been great for my energy -- or my reading. Blogging has kind of fallen to the wayside. I've tried to keep up on Instagram, but even that has kind of sputtered the last couple of weeks. *hides* I'll hopefully be back much more frequently in the new year, but today, I had to tell you about a deal where you can get FREE BOOKS ---like, every book in the series -- from a series I absolutely adore!

You may have heard me talk about Seanan McGuire's Hugo and Nebula award-winning Wayward Children series before. They're fantasy with YA crossover appeal, super diverse, and also about 200 pages each, so they don't take a long time to read. They are also largely stand-alone, so you don't have to wait years to binge them all at once and can read them freely right now!

Today, I'd like to post my review that I compiled after reading the first three books in the series, which was previously only published on Broadway World. (I'll add in a brief look at the rest of the series as well, but it doesn't impact most of the post). Later in the week, I'll re-post my review of the fourth book and, if we're all lucky, finally write my review of this year's release in the series.


To celebrate the upcoming release of the sixth book in the ongoing Wayward Children series, ACROSS THE GREEN GRASS FIELDS, Tordotcom and the Tor.com Ebook Club are giving away a free book EVERY DAY THIS WEEK. Every day a new doorway! Today, you can get the first book, EVERY HEART A DOORWAY, followed by DOWN AMONG THE STICKS AND STONES on Tuesday, December 1st, then BENEATH THE SUGAR SKY on Wednesday, IN AN ABSENT DREAM on Thursday, and concluding with this year's release COME TUMBLING DOWN on Friday!

Check back every day this week to grab each book as they release and become a journeying wayward child with the rest of us!


"You're nobody's doorway but your own, and the only one who gets to tell you how your story ends is you."


This month, I blew through Seanan Maguire's Wayward Children series. Before this year, I had heard of them, and the author was already one I wanted to read someday, but it wasn't directly on my radar. This past January, the first book in the series, EVERY HEART A DOORWAY, was on sale as an e-book. I downloaded and read the free sample and realized I was going to be obsessed with the series and would need to own a physical copies to add to my "fairy tale-inspired" shelf. It has taken me all the way until now to have time read the books, but I blew through all four in a week and am already excited for more books.

The Wayward Children books don't necessarily have to be read in order, since each features a different protagonist, but I highly recommend at least reading EVERY HEART A DOORWAY first because it sets the world and reality and introduces the characters of Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children. Think about Dorothy when she returns from Oz, Alice when she comes back from Wonderland, the Pevensie siblings, who returned to Narnia on multiple occasions. Think about kids who go to amazing worlds and have incredible adventures. What happens when they return home? What happens when nobody believes them? Are they crazy? What if our world is no longer enough, but they can't return where they belong?

Eleanor West was herself a wayward child with adventures of her own. Her Door is closed to her now, but her adventures forever changed her. She has opened a school for children like herself. She tells parents that she will save their children. When the children come, however, they find a safe haven. They may never forget. They know they're not crazy. Among others who believe them, maybe they have a chance to move on and learn how to acclimate to the world they were born into. Very few every find their way back to the world they discovered again, but they all hope to.

The first book, EVERY HEART A DOORWAY, revolves around the school and the students in it. Different realities that they discovered are mentioned in passing. The first book is different in tone from the rest of the series. It is more of a mystery; students are being murdered and body parts are being taken to build...what? And why is it children who have been to other worlds? And why is it the part of them most important to who they are?

The next book, DOWN AMONG THE STICKS AND BONES, is more of a prequel and follows twin sisters Jack and Jill as they discover the Moors, a dark, dangerous world very different from our own.

The third book, BENEATH THE SUGAR SKY, takes place after the first book and begins at the school and reintroduces us to a few students, then takes everyone on an adventure through multiple worlds--some of which are too spoilery to mention here--before winding up on an adventure in the realm of Confection. This book also reveals the origin of some alternate realities but again, it's spoilery to talk too much about it! That theme is mentioned a bit in the next book as well.

The fourth book in the series, IN AN ABSENT DREAM, once again takes place before the first book, exploring the world of a young girl named Katherine Lundy who encounters a Goblin Market and makes a decision that will fundamentally change her life forever.

With the fifth book, COME TUMBLING, we return to the  lives of Jack and Jill, whose world was fleshed out in DOWN AMONG THE STICKS AND STONES. Of all the books, this is the one least able to act as a stand-alone as we return to this world after events from BENEATH THE SUGAR SKY, and things have changed so much for many of our characters.

I really like the mix of past and future in these books. I love that two and a half of the books take place in another realm and feature "portal children." The books really come alive as readers explore these new worlds so different from their own. I think of all the worlds, Confection was the most visual and enchanting, though I was most immersed in Katherine Lundy's story. The child in me who loved My Little Pony and Saddle Club is freaking out that the sixth book in the series, ACROSS THE GREEN GRASS FIELDS, out January 12, 2021, will be full of centaurs and unicorns and kelpies, oh my! 

I love that we get to explore all of these worlds, and I think it's so intriguing to also see a study of what happens when kids return to our reality and can no longer adapt. They have changed, they are different, they have grown up and loved. Sometimes they return home the moment they left, others, time passes. It's almost impossible to readapt. I'm pretty squeamish, so I was a little taken back by the grotesque murders of the first books, but the story came together and made sense, and the rest of the books were more in line with what I was expecting. I love that we go back and forth, and that the students--and teachers!--we meet early on will eventually get their own stories. I would love a story featuring Kade, and I really want one that explores Eleanor West's own past.

The series is full of gorgeous sentences I wanted to hug and mark. There are also charming illustrations in the books from time to time that I've never seen in an adult novel, but often see in fairy tales, and added to the atmosphere. Impressively, the first two books have won back-to-back Alex Awards for their crossover appeal to teens as well as critical acclaim and are only gaining in popularity. There is also great diversity in the series. Some of them are central issues dealing with love interests or weight issues. Others are secondary characters, such as Kade, who is trans, and even a character encountered for only minutes who is Muslim. I love that there are so many types of people having adventures and that these worlds don't just open for one group of people.

I'm really glad I discovered the Wayward Children series and am already excited to hear more about 2020's COME TUMBLING DOWN. Who will be the star? Will it be another portal story, or are we going back to our reality again? With a title like that, are we going to do more with Jack and Jill again? I can't wait to learn more!

A Few Illustrations From the Series:


O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Seanan McGuire
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Tor Books
Received: Purchased

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

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.

Author: Seanan McGuire
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Tor Books
Received: Purchased

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you've got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

Title: Beneath the Sugar Sky
Author: Seanan McGuire
Release Date: January 9, 2018
Publisher: Tor Books
Received: Purchased

BENEATH THE SUGAR SKY, the third book in McGuire's Wayward Children series, returns to Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children in a standalone contemporary fantasy for fans of all ages. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the "real" world.

When Rini lands with a literal splash in the pond behind Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children, the last thing she expects to find is that her mother, Sumi, died years before Rini was even conceived. But Rini can’t let Reality get in the way of her quest – not when she has an entire world to save! (Much more common than one would suppose.)

If she can't find a way to restore her mother, Rini will have more than a world to save: she will never have been born in the first place. And in a world without magic, she doesn’t have long before Reality notices her existence and washes her away. Good thing the student body is well-acquainted with quests...

A tale of friendship, baking, and derring-do. Warning: May contain nuts.

Author: Seanan McGuire
Release Date: January 8, 2019
Publisher: Tor Books
Received: Purchased

This fourth entry and prequel tells the story of Lundy, a very serious young girl who would rather study and dream than become a respectable housewife and live up to the expectations of the world around her. As well she should.

When she finds a doorway to a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies, she thinks she's found her paradise. Alas, everything costs at the goblin market, and when her time there is drawing to a close, she makes the kind of bargain that never plays out well.

Author: Seanan McGuire
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Publisher: Tor Books
Received: Pre-ordered

The fifth installment in Seanan McGuire's award-winning, bestselling Wayward Children series, Come Tumbling Down picks up the threads left dangling by EVERY HEART A DOORWAY and DOWN AMONG THE STICKS AND BONES.

When Jack left Eleanor West's School for Wayward Children she was carrying the body of her deliciously deranged sister--whom she had recently murdered in a fit of righteous justice--back to their home on the Moors. 

But death in their adopted world isn't always as permanent as it is here, and when Jack is herself carried back into the school, it becomes clear that something has happened to her. Something terrible. Something of which only the maddest of scientists could conceive. Something only her friends are equipped to help her overcome. 

Eleanor West's "No Quests" rule is about to be broken. 

Author: Seanan McGuire
Release Date: January 12, 2021
Publisher: Tor Books
Received: Purchased

A young girl discovers a portal to a land filled with centaurs and unicorns in Seanan McGuire's ACROSS THE GREEN GRASS FIELDS, a standalone tale in the Hugo and Nebula Award-wining Wayward Children series.

“Welcome to the Hooflands. We’re happy to have you, even if you being here means something’s coming.”

Regan loves, and is loved, though her school-friend situation has become complicated, of late.

When she suddenly finds herself thrust through a doorway that asks her to "Be Sure" before swallowing her whole, Regan must learn to live in a world filled with centaurs, kelpies, and other magical equines―a world that expects its human visitors to step up and be heroes.

But after embracing her time with the herd, Regan discovers that not all forms of heroism are equal, and not all quests are as they seem…