Every Heart a Doorway

(Wayward Children #1)

So I somehow missed that this was a novella (bad reader, no cookies for you.) I loved the beginning. I loved Nancy having gone through a portal as a child, coming back to the “real” world utterly changed and slightly magical from her time in the Underworld in her stillness and reverence for the dead, and now having to learn to live with herself amongst other returnees in a school that was a refuge for others like her.
I love that each child got their own doorway– to other worlds of logic or nonsense or virtue. And that each child, like Sumi’s frenetic energy or Jack’s yearning for science as an exploration tool was subtly enhanced and celebrated in the world where they went.
And I love, love, love the searing allegory of Kade, who was a child who went through to a portal as one gender, discovered they were a different gender, and was kicked out from the world of Kade’s dreams for that irrevocably.  Totally rejected. Ouch.
Lyrical writing, emotional depth, and with the introduction of a murder on campus, an intriguing mystery to solve (although we only get about a half dozen characters from the school to learn about so it wasn’t that hard to peg the murderer, but the best parts are Jack, Christopher, and Nancy dealing with the dead bodies– somehow magical, creepy, and beautiful all at once.)
Then the book ends.  The murderer is discovered abruptly. We lose some characters, Nancy gets some closure, and the book ends. And I was incomplete in the worst way. McGuire is such an adept writer at pulling forth feelings from the reader on the edge of horror, that I couldn’t quite forgive her for no aftercare. Well-written book, just not enough.