cover image Where the Drowned Girls Go

Where the Drowned Girls Go

Seanan McGuire. Tordotcom, $19.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-250-21362-4

McGuire’s outstanding seventh Wayward Children fantasy (following Across the Green Grass Fields) comes in darker than the previous novellas, tackling identity, body image, and trauma. Cora Miller has walked through magical doors, turned from modern girl to mermaid, been possessed by eldritch gods, and been spat out of her newfound home back to Earth all before the story begins. Exhausted and wanting nothing more than to forget her adventures, she eschews the comfort of Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, which caters to children who’ve gone on magical quests, for its rival, the Whitethorn Institute, which houses similar students, but encourages them to “believe that everything that happened on the other side of the door was just a dream, or a delusion.” As Cora’s sense of self crumbles under Whitethorn’s rules, the institute turns from school to prison, and Cora and her peers risk losing their identities—and their doorways home—forever. Throughout Cora’s harrowing adventures, McGuire’s sense of whimsy never falters. She delivers a plot dense enough for a full-length novel in her signature lyrical prose, exploring the effect of cruel, oppressive systems on children’s psyches, while keeping the series’ fairy tale tone intact. The result will captivate both longtime Wayward Children fans and new readers. Agent: Diana Fox, Fox Literary. (Jan.)