When you were a kid did you ever wish that you could find a magic door that would whisk you away to somewhere stranger and better than your ordinary life? The kind of place where, against all odds, you fit in and made a difference? The kind of place where you had a chance at a new and wonderful life? It happens to children in fantasy novels all the time. They get new worlds full of adventure, and magic, and friendship. Then they have to come back here. As a reader, it is a let down. But imagine how it feels for the child, going to all the effort of building a new life and then losing it again.
Imagine Dorothy Gale, back from Oz. Sure, “there’s no place like home”. But it's hard to believe she didn’t miss her friends, her adventures, and her magic shoes (or belt). It must be hard to act like an ordinary farm girl when you’re busy searching the sky, hoping for the next hurricane.
In Every Heart A Doorway, Seanan McGuire points out that trying to live in the normal world after escaping to a world filled with adventure and magic must be really, really hard. Yet, if the books in the library are anything to go by, more and more children are disappearing into portals all the time and coming back changed.
To help these children survive our world Eleanor West has opened a special boarding school: Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. Some of her students have returned from bright, candy-colored lands of fantasy and whimsy. Some of her students were in darker places, filled with monsters and ghosts that somehow became family. But all of these lost children are united by two things: They don’t fit in with ordinary people anymore. They really, really want to go back to their magical lands. They’d do anything to get back. But what happens to this fragile community, this fragile home away from home, when someone at the Home for Wayward Children kills to go back home?