WHERE THE DROWNED GIRLS GO (Wayward Children #7)
Written by Seanan McGuire
Published by Tordotcom, January 4th, 2022
My star rating – 4 stars
There is another school for children who fall through doors and fall back out again.
It isn’t as friendly as Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.
And it isn’t as safe.
When Eleanor West decided to open her school, her sanctuary, her Home for Wayward Children, she knew from the beginning that there would be children she couldn’t save; when Cora decides she needs a different direction, a different fate, a different prophecy, Miss West reluctantly agrees to transfer her to the other school, where things are run very differently by Whitethorn, the Headmaster.
She will soon discover that not all doors are welcoming…
These books are always so hard to review for two reasons. #1 – They’re really short. #2 – They’re sequels and not always related to the one published just before it! So this review won’t be all that long lol.
So here we have a book that mainly focuses on Cora. She was a mermaid in another land and lives in constant struggle. Here, in this world, she is too different to be accepted. She’s overweight and people have looked down on her for her whole life because of it. They fat shame her, consider her less worthy, and assume she is less capable. But she doesn’t let anyone get her down which is why she’s one of my favourite characters! She’s strong, pushes through the assumptions, and realizes that the only person who can save/help her is herself. Get it, girl! But now, on top of those struggles, she’s dealing with the loss of the water world that made her feel like she actually belonged. She belongs swimming in the sea with her mermaid tail, but her world cast her aside and now she’s back on land with legs. She wants to forget that land and move on to accepting the world she’s in now which brings her to the Whitethorn Institute.
The Whitethorn Institute has been mentioned many times throughout the series so we’ve always been aware of its existence, but had yet to see it for ourselves. This was the first time we’re getting the experience and it was mostly what I thought it would be – awful, institution’ish, and prison like. Where Eleanor is soft and gentle, Whitethorn is harsh and brutal. Both claim to want to help children accept their lives outside of their doorways, but Whitethorn’s intentions aren’t as clear. But it was really interesting reading how a different school handles “wayward children”.
We also got more of Regan, who was our protagonist in book #6! I think that book was probably my least favourite of them all. We didn’t know anything about how she fit into the story before that book so I had no emotional attachment to her to begin with. I also didn’t enjoy her as a character and I don’t enjoy horses so… I was doomed to not like it. Luckily, in this book, she comes back and integrates her into the series as a whole, and I liked her a little better… though not by much. I also love that this series comes full circle!!!
My main issue with this book – it just wasn’t long enough. I got to the end and there wasn’t the satisfaction of an “ending”. This was more like a beginning, setting the story up to be completed in later books. This has happened before in the series so I’m not too mad about it. I love being able to go back and reread them, connecting all the dots along the way. So I’ll love this one…. later on, when I know the whole story lol.
All in all, I still loved the story for what it was. It was definitely one of the more grounded of the series, focusing more on the here and now opposed to the many worlds beyond the doorways.
Until next time, happy reading!