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Beneath the Sugar Sky

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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 rest 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.


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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 rest 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.

30 review for Beneath the Sugar Sky

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    But children, ah, children. Children follow the foxes, and open the wardrobes, and peek beneath the bridge. Children climb the walls and fall down the wells and run the razor’s edge of possibility until sometimes, just sometimes, the possible surrenders and shows them the way to go home. It's not often I give books in a series three five stars in a row, but these stories just speak to an inner part of me - the curious, feminist adventurer who longed for nothing more than to follow Lucy through But children, ah, children. Children follow the foxes, and open the wardrobes, and peek beneath the bridge. Children climb the walls and fall down the wells and run the razor’s edge of possibility until sometimes, just sometimes, the possible surrenders and shows them the way to go home. It's not often I give books in a series three five stars in a row, but these stories just speak to an inner part of me - the curious, feminist adventurer who longed for nothing more than to follow Lucy through that wardrobe into Narnia, or Harry through the barrier leading to Platform 9 3/4. This universe is brimming with the timeless magic of fairy tales, and it seems I just can't get enough. If you enjoyed the first two books - Every Heart a Doorway and Down Among the Sticks and Bones - I see no reason not to like this. McGuire is back with a new story, featuring some familiar faces and some newbies too. This latest adventure in the portal world sees the characters heading into the land of Confection (Candy Land, in other words), a place described in almost sickening sweetness, from its Strawberry Sea to spun sugar ropes. Given that this is only a novella, I won't give away too much about the story. I will say, though, that it is compelling, made ever more so by the gorgeous writing. And more than this, the diverse cast of characters come bounding off the pages. McGuire writes teens with diverse skin colours, ethnicities, sexualities, gender identities and disabilities. In this book, she also focuses on issues of weight and its accompanying anxiety, through Cora, who has always felt pressure from others to diet and assumptions that her size is due to lack of restraint or laziness. Growing up fat had meant an endless succession of diets suggested by “helpful” relatives, and even more “helpful” suggestions from her classmates, ones that suggested starvation or learning to vomit on command. Lots of authors are trying to break into the feminist fairy tale trend these days, but so far I don't think any of them have been as successful as McGuire. These stories are enchanting and hopeful, but underneath they are extremely important, too. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    ARC provided by Tor in exchange for an honest review. 1.) Every Heart a Doorway ★★★★★ 2.) Down Among the Sticks and Bones ★★★★★ This is my 100th review of 2017! And I couldn’t have picked a better book! Beneath the Sugar Sky is another amazing installment in the Wayward Children series and it starts out right back at Eleanor West's magical boarding school. And this book heavily centers around one of my favorite characters from Every Heart a Doorway, Sumi! “There is kindness in the world, if we ARC provided by Tor in exchange for an honest review. 1.) Every Heart a Doorway ★★★★★ 2.) Down Among the Sticks and Bones ★★★★★ This is my 100th review of 2017! And I couldn’t have picked a better book! Beneath the Sugar Sky is another amazing installment in the Wayward Children series and it starts out right back at Eleanor West's magical boarding school. And this book heavily centers around one of my favorite characters from Every Heart a Doorway, Sumi! “There is kindness in the world, if we know how to look for it. If we never start denying it the door.” This series is a portal fantasy, that surrounds kids that have traveled to magical lands, but somehow found their way back to our world. For the most part, the kids want to go back to their magical lands, so they reside at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, while waiting and hoping for their door to reappear for them. In this story, we get to see a lot of different portal worlds. And we get to see many beloved and familiar faces, while also learning about some new characters and their different magical worlds. “Nobody promised me a happy ending. They didn’t even promise me a happy existence.” (Breathtaking art by the amazing Rovina Cai!) In Beneath the Sugar Sky we follow five kids on an adventure: ➽Cora – plus-sized, has anxiety, from the Land Beneath the Lake, which is a Mermaid land! ➽Nadya – missing an arm, from Belyyreka, a Drowned World. ➽Christopher – Mexican-American, had cancer, from Mariposa, a skeleton Underworld. ➽Rini – Japanese, from Confection. ➽Kade – Trans, from a warring Fairyland! (Full disclosure, Kade has been my favorite character since the very first book in this series. His story speaks to the very essence of my heart, and I love everything about him. Kade is one of the best characters in all of literature, and I wish everyone could read about him and his journey, and I just had to emphasize how very important he is to me.) “It took me years of saving a world that stopped wanting me when I changed my pronouns to figure it out.” And even though we dabble in many portal worlds, this story mostly takes place in Confection, which is pretty much a real-life version of Candy Land. It’s sugar, it’s sweet, and it’s downright dangerous. And as you can probably tell from my breakdown above, every book is this series has amazing diversity and representation, and this book is no different. From race, to sexuality, to mental illnesses, to body representation, to physical disabilities, to religious representation, this series has it all. And it’s seamlessly woven and never feels exploitative. And this particular book has the best plus-sized representation I’ve ever read, or even seen, in my entire life. “She'd heard that sort of hatred before, always from the women in her Weight Watchers groups, or at Overeaters Anonymous, the ones who had starved themselves into thinness and somehow failed to find the promised land of happy acceptance that they had always been told waited for them on the other side of the scale.” This book is a masterpiece that I feel so very privileged and blessed to be able to read. This book is the perfect mixture of whimsical and important. This book is about acceptance and love, and how we all are always on a search for it. And I hope you all pick this book up come January of 2018. This series means so much to me that I feel like I’m at a loss for words. I’ve never read anything like this before, and I can’t sing this series’ praises enough! I love this world, and I recommend these books with my whole heart. Thank you, Seanan McGuire, for writing a once in a lifetime series that means so much to so many! I will cherish this series for my entire life. And I can’t wait to see what’s next. “Just keep getting through until you don’t have to do it anymore, however much time that takes, however difficult it is.” Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Youtube | Twitch The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Zoë

    I'm so disappointed. I've realized that I'm more in love with the idea of these books rather than the actual plots, which was never more apparent than in this installment. It didn't work for me from start to finish. For the past two novellas, I've blamed my lack of connection to the story on the simple fact that they weren't long enough. However, this plot seemed to be all over the place. There were seemingly no stakes! A large part of this book is set in a Nonsense world. Kade specifically mention I'm so disappointed. I've realized that I'm more in love with the idea of these books rather than the actual plots, which was never more apparent than in this installment. It didn't work for me from start to finish. For the past two novellas, I've blamed my lack of connection to the story on the simple fact that they weren't long enough. However, this plot seemed to be all over the place. There were seemingly no stakes! A large part of this book is set in a Nonsense world. Kade specifically mentions that it "seems like cause and effect aren't all that strict around here." One of our protagonists also mentions that they could just leave and nothing significant would happen to them! The whole quest is nothing more than a favor that helps somebody our main protagonist doesn't even know or care about. Even the reader has only spent about 75 pages with said person - two books before these events. It's sad to say, but I simply didn't care. I didn't feel like the events of this book, whether they ended positively or negatively, had any real weight in the grand scheme of things. I also didn't care about these characters as we were often told things about them rather than shown. I ultimately gave this 2 stars rather than 1 as I genuinely do enjoy her writing style, even if I didn't enjoy what she crafted. I so badly wish that I loved these books as much as everyone else seems to. They are addictive as they speak to my inner adventurous child who wished for nothing more than finding her own magical door. That's why I'm going to continue reading these books, and I'll still recommend them to my fellow dreamers! Well, maybe the first two installments.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Emma Giordano

    The Wayward Children series has stolen my heart yet again. What a wonderful third installment to an already fantastic series! As always, Seanan McGuire has one of the most eloquent writing styles of which I have ever had the pleasure of indulging in. Her prose is truly magical, allowing you to feel as if you are beside these characters, engulfed in their whimsical worlds. I’m not a writing buff in the least, but Seanan McGuide makes me melt every single time. I particularly LOVED how we got to see The Wayward Children series has stolen my heart yet again. What a wonderful third installment to an already fantastic series! As always, Seanan McGuire has one of the most eloquent writing styles of which I have ever had the pleasure of indulging in. Her prose is truly magical, allowing you to feel as if you are beside these characters, engulfed in their whimsical worlds. I’m not a writing buff in the least, but Seanan McGuide makes me melt every single time. I particularly LOVED how we got to see the world of the Wayward Children develop in this story. For such short novellas, the past two books have amazed me with how well developed the magic system and the endless variety of worlds exist in tandem. In book three, the story expands beyond that introducing new worlds, new methods of magic, and greater political relations. I’m thoroughly impressed with the way each installment builds upon the last and continues to add more unique elements to this magical universe. Beneath The Sugar Sky is probably my least favorite of the three novellas, but that’s not to say I don’t still adore it. In my opinion, Beneath The Sugar Sky doesn’t share the same amount of darkness and wickedness in books one and two (though it is definitely still present in books three!) and is more whimsical than it’s predecessors. I just personally prefer the darker installments. Overall, I really loved this story and I will continue to recommend this series to anyone looking for fun, dark, imaginative fantasy stories with a diverse cast of characters and impeccable writing. (What more could you need in a book, am I right?)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    Re-read 2/19/19: Yeeaaah, this one is definitely not my favorite. I really love the fat-girl rep and the fact that we get to hang out with some of our favorites from the first book again, but I just do not really jive with the quest aspects of this book. It's still a really fun read and I adore this series endlessly, but this one doesn't do it for me quite as much as the others do. Re-read 2/9/18: So I decided to re-read this one already because my hold of the audiobook came through at my librar Re-read 2/19/19: Yeeaaah, this one is definitely not my favorite. I really love the fat-girl rep and the fact that we get to hang out with some of our favorites from the first book again, but I just do not really jive with the quest aspects of this book. It's still a really fun read and I adore this series endlessly, but this one doesn't do it for me quite as much as the others do. Re-read 2/9/18: So I decided to re-read this one already because my hold of the audiobook came through at my library and I have to say that I ended up lowering my rating by one star. While I loved the plus size rep and all the characters in this one, I just didn’t love the story of this one nearly as much as I did with the previous two novels. Womp to the max :c Original read 1/22/18: You guys. This book was so magical and just plain fantastic. Nothing makes me happier than a series I love doing fat girls justice. God bless. What a story. Also: MERMAIDS!

  6. 4 out of 5

    karen

    oooh, goodreads choice awards semifinalist for best fantasy 2018! what will happen? "Nobody promised me a happy ending. They didn't even promise me a happy existence." i love this series so dingdang much. it’s true that i gave this one four stars instead of the five stars i gave to the other two, but it’s a really high four stars. there’s been no decline in writing quality, character development, or worldbuilding, not even a little bit. the only thing i liked somewhat less here than the first two oooh, goodreads choice awards semifinalist for best fantasy 2018! what will happen? "Nobody promised me a happy ending. They didn't even promise me a happy existence." i love this series so dingdang much. it’s true that i gave this one four stars instead of the five stars i gave to the other two, but it’s a really high four stars. there’s been no decline in writing quality, character development, or worldbuilding, not even a little bit. the only thing i liked somewhat less here than the first two books is that it’s a slightly less dark tone on top of a quest storyline, and quest storylines can be a little predictable: go here, get this, locate this other thing, go here, add this. it’s like a recipe, which is very fitting, considering that this time, we are (mostly) in the nonsense/reason world of Confection, where everything is made of cake and candy and soda and cookies. i’m not usually into quests, but i am VERY into candy, so i love this world, with its butterscotch insects and candy corn fields. and by “slightly less dark,” i mean slightly less dark. bad things can happen even in a world with chocolate quarries. and they will. but wonderful things also happen here, like the return of some characters from Every Heart a Doorway, plus new characters and new worlds to look forward to visiting in future books (RIGHT?), and the perfectly balanced blend of humor and melancholy so much a part of this series, along with some dialogue you’re not gonna find elsewhere: "A cake's a cake, whether or not it's been frosted," said the stranger primly. "You are not a cake, you are a human being, and I can see your vagina," snapped Nadya. as always, the concept of many doorways/many worlds is an ancillary approach to the diversity theme, where characters who are all drawn to worlds with different magical attributes themselves have different real-world attributes: race, ethnicity, sexual or gender identity, body type, number of limbs, and in this one - basic corporeality; one character fading out of existence, one being built back into existence layer by layer. rini is wonderfully fierce, and full of reasonable nonsense: "I like existing. I'm not ready to unexist just because of stupid causality. I didn't invite stupid causality to my birthday party, it doesn't get to give me any presents." and overall, it's another bizarre, surreal, fun, unexpected book in a series i love more than any other. may it go on and on and on and on and on **************************************** tor just posted excerpts and interior illustrations here: http://www.tor.com/2017/06/28/illustr... here is one: **************************************** i just want to capture this for posterity, because while i know this is just a teasing, placeholder synopsis: Takes place after Every Heart a Doorway and involves a great deal of nonsense. i kind of love it. GIVE TO ME THIS NONSENSE!! come to my blog!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~

    I know, I know. 2 stars? 2 stars!? Well friends, my expectations for this book were sky high & 2 stars is actually being generous. Considering it took me a whole month of slogging through 10 pages at a time of this 176 page book, I think 2 stars is being very generous indeed. McGuire largely missed the mark with her third installment of the Wayward Children series. In fact, the only part of this I thoroughly enjoyed was her writing style. She is whimsical & straightforward in the same bre I know, I know. 2 stars? 2 stars!? Well friends, my expectations for this book were sky high & 2 stars is actually being generous. Considering it took me a whole month of slogging through 10 pages at a time of this 176 page book, I think 2 stars is being very generous indeed. McGuire largely missed the mark with her third installment of the Wayward Children series. In fact, the only part of this I thoroughly enjoyed was her writing style. She is whimsical & straightforward in the same breath, and it really serves the offbeat tone of this series well. Otherwise, this book is a bit of a disaster for me. It begins with the introduction of a new main character, Cora. The thing I know about Cora is that she is very fixated on how other people think of her as fat. Now, I don't want to be misunderstood here, so please pause with the pitchforks at least until I finish my point. This series has thus far used a very small amount page space to tackle some very prominent & important issues with grace & clarity. Obesity & the abuse that can be experienced because of it absolutely fall under that umbrella of importance. However, Cora's allusions & inner monologue about being only seen as "the fat girl" came up so often that I began to feel beaten over the head with the message. Most of us know what it's like to get stuck in a mental loop about our imperfections, and so in that singular way Cora is relatable. But as a main character being introduced two books after the group has been established, it felt as though this was the only reason I was given to really care about Cora. Her personality is sort of flat, and I found her quips & interactions with other characters borderline annoying. She's nowhere near as compelling as the characters we've been introduced to in the previous books, so the overall lack of connection was a bit of a let down. By the end of the book there's not any real unique & hard hitting conclusion about Cora overcoming how others view her in favor of realizing her personal worth, which is what I was expecting after all the page space that was dedicated to acknowledging the problem. Again, I want to emphasize that my issue is not with the topic itself, but more with how it was presented in context of this particular character. To continue on the subject of characters, the familiar faces from the past two books may as well have not even shown up for this adventure. Kade's southern charm & happy go lucky sense of justice are reduced to a lackluster minimum, Christopher's clever sarcasm is all but gone, and Sumi's abundant & nonsensical energy is completely absent. For a series with such consistently strong & diverse characters, this is the last thing I expected to be disappointed in. Now we come to the plot. I just... did not care about it at all? I won't tell you that the plots from the first two books are most distinctive stories I've ever read, because they aren't. But I was captivated by them, and I was engaged with the other aspects of the series enough that the combination is what made it special. Unfortunately the plot of Beneath the Sugar Sky felt like a tangled & directionless mess for much of the time. It's worth noting that much of the story centralizes around adhering to a world that employs "Nonsense" rules, and so to a degree it makes sense that nothing makes sense. However, I spent a lot of time thinking "Is this ever going to go somewhere interesting? Needless to say, it didn't. I'm distressed over posting a negative review for this book, because I really really really really wanted it to be amazing. But it isn't. It just isn't. The nature of this series is to tell smaller stories that are mostly encompassed within each book. The characters overlap & books should be read in order, but the stories aren't necessarily told sequentially. Because of this, I will likely read the next book & pray that it's on par with Every Heart a Doorway and Down Among the Sticks and Bones. As for this one... truly the best part about it is the gorgeous cover. *shrugs*

  8. 4 out of 5

    Elise (TheBookishActress)

    This series just keeps getting better. “Adults can still tumble down rabbit holes and into enchanted wardrobes, but it happens less and less with every year they live. Maybe this is a natural consequence of living in a world where being careful is a necessary survival trait, where logic wears away the potential for something bigger and better than the obvious.” This is seriously one of the best worlds I've ever come across in YA and I want 10,000 more of these novellas. But wow, let me just gu This series just keeps getting better. “Adults can still tumble down rabbit holes and into enchanted wardrobes, but it happens less and less with every year they live. Maybe this is a natural consequence of living in a world where being careful is a necessary survival trait, where logic wears away the potential for something bigger and better than the obvious.” This is seriously one of the best worlds I've ever come across in YA and I want 10,000 more of these novellas. But wow, let me just gush about this series for a little while. Maybe my favorite thing is how expansive the worldbuilding has gotten. We've explored so many worlds and so many different people, and I just keep getting more interested. I am rarely this invested in a certain world, but I am so invested in this world. This book actually taught even more about the Worlds. For example, now we know it's not just nonsense and logic. There's also confection, which is nonsense with rules. I don't even want to know what nonsense will be like. And of course, there's the loose underworld / higher world binary. It's all just really interesting. I'm also really loving the themes presented here. Book one talks about women in society, being trans, and being ace. Book two talks about gender roles with the added addition of a lesbian character. Now we're in book three and we're talking about disabilities and how society treats fat people. Early on I wished this series could be a more racially diverse, but this novella improved a lot on that aspect. Her third mother had been the first to fit her with a prosthetic hand, which had pinched and dug into her skin and done nothing to improve her quality of life. The only things she hadn’t been perfectly capable of doing with one hand were things the prosthetic didn’t help her do anyway, lacking the fine motor control necessary to apply nail polish or thread a needle. If she’d been younger, maybe, or if she’d wanted it more, but the way it had been presented, like it was a great gift she wasn’t allowed to refuse, had only served to remind her that in the eyes of her adoptive family, she would always be the poor, pitiful orphan girl with a missing hand, the one they needed to help. She had never wanted that kind of help. She had only wanted to be loved. I think we might get a few more of these novellas, actually, considering how open that ending was. So, quick recap of everything in this book and all the last for the next time I read one of these. MAJOR SPOILERS IN THIS PARAGRAPH.(view spoiler)[Nancy's back in the halls of the dead. Nadya has made it back to her turtle underworld. Kade's in our world, right where he wants to be. Sumi isn't out of our world yet, but she's going to make it just fine and have her life with Rini. Jack and Jill are back in their world, though I STILL need closure on Jack's girlfriend?? Are they okay?? I also need to know that Cora will get back to her beautiful mermaid land and Christopher will get back to Skeleton Girl!! And there's some great setup for my baker child Layla to show up again in the next book. I love them all so much. (hide spoiler)] Anyway. I feel like I just consistently love these books so much, even though I initially was disappointed by book one. They're all so different. Blog | Goodreads| Twitter | Youtube

  9. 4 out of 5

    emma

    THIS BOOK IS SET IN CANDYLAND. That’s both the single biggest positive of this book and about the only thing I remember from it. Even though this book is teeny-tiny, it managed to drag a bit. It felt weirdly paced - maybe the fact that it was so short made the plot feel half-baked. (Pastry pun semi-intended.) I did not exactly fall in love with the characters, and Every Heart a Doorway remains far and away my favorite installment of this series so far. However - and I cannot stress this enough - C THIS BOOK IS SET IN CANDYLAND. That’s both the single biggest positive of this book and about the only thing I remember from it. Even though this book is teeny-tiny, it managed to drag a bit. It felt weirdly paced - maybe the fact that it was so short made the plot feel half-baked. (Pastry pun semi-intended.) I did not exactly fall in love with the characters, and Every Heart a Doorway remains far and away my favorite installment of this series so far. However - and I cannot stress this enough - C A N D Y L A N D. That about covers it. Bottom line: candyland. Not much else, but is that not enough?! ------------ pre-review me: wow, i found a fantasy series i actually like! also me: *waits over a year to read the third book for literally no reason*

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    A delightful confection! This is the sequel to Every Heart a Doorway and Down Among the Sticks and Bones. Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature: In Beneath the Sugar Sky, the third book in Seanan McGuire’s WAYWARD CHILDREN series, we return to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, that haven for children and teens who once found their way through portals to other, magical worlds but have been involuntarily returned to ours. At Eleanor West’s boarding school, at least they find oth A delightful confection! This is the sequel to Every Heart a Doorway and Down Among the Sticks and Bones. Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature: In Beneath the Sugar Sky, the third book in Seanan McGuire’s WAYWARD CHILDREN series, we return to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, that haven for children and teens who once found their way through portals to other, magical worlds but have been involuntarily returned to ours. At Eleanor West’s boarding school, at least they find others who believe them and empathize, and desperately hope with them for a way to return to a magic world where they truly felt they belonged. At Eleanor’s there’s a new girl, Cora, cautiously making her way through the halls and through daily life. Cora’s been teased and abused as overweight all her days, except for that glorious time she slipped through a portal to a world called the Trenches, where she was a particularly excellent mermaid and her fat was wonderfully functional. The only thing now remaining from her mermaid world is that Cora’s hair is still a dozen shades of green and blue (though Eleanor knows if these colors ever fade, Cora will never be able to find her way back). A new adventure for Cora and her friend Nadya, another returnee from a watery world, begins with a splash: (I love this illustration!) A girl falls from the sky into the pond behind Eleanor’s school, startling Cora, Nadya and the turtles. The falling girl is Rini, daughter to Sumi, a character from Every Heart a Doorway who died as a teenager while she was at Eleanor West’s school. Rini informs them that in her own timeline, Sumi was able to return through the portal to the magical Candyland-type world called Confection and defeat the evil Queen of Cakes, after which she married and had her daughter Rini. But now the malicious Queen is alive again and back in charge of Confection, and Rini is slowly disappearing, à la Marty McFly in Back to the Future, albeit far slower. Clearly Rini, Cora, Nadya and other friends (who will be familiar to readers of the first book) need to find a way to change the current reality! And so their quest to bring Sumi back begins. Readers who enjoyed the first two books in the WAYWARD CHILDREN series will likely be equally charmed by Beneath the Sugar Sky. This novella throws open more portals, and readers are lucky enough to visit some magical worlds that we had only heard about before. McGuire balances imaginative whimsy with her insightful and thoughtful writing and engagement with meaningful issues of diversity and belonging. As always, McGuire has an understanding and sympathetic eye for those youth who feel like outsiders in our society. In Beneath the Sugar Sky we engage not just with characters of alternative sexuality but also those who are overweight, disabled, of minority religion and races, and more. Cora struggles with self-acceptance because of her weight; Nadya is missing one arm, which she refuses to let hold her back; and there’s a delightful cameo by a girl wearing a hijab. It’s a pleasure to meet up again with several characters from Every Heart a Doorway, some of whom I hadn’t expected to see again. I found Beneath the Sugar Sky much lighter in tone than the prior two novellas in this series, which makes it a more pleasant read, though it does deprive it of some of the heft and impact of the other two books. The multiverse/different timelines aspect of this story didn’t really hold water logically, but I suppose that can be excused at least to some extent where the world of Confection is, quite explicitly, a Nonsense world. The last paragraph of Beneath a Sugar Sky gave me goosebumps, along with a heartfelt wish to visit these characters and their worlds again. I received a free advance copy of this book for review from Tor. Thank you!! Content notes: scattered F-bombs and some mature language. Initial post: The ARC just landed on my doorstep! YAY!! It was accompanied by two other Tor ARCs I hadn't even requested (The Armored Saint and The Red Threads of Fortune). Just when I felt like I was making a dent in my ARC pile, lol. #firstworldproblems

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)

    *4.5/5 I love this series so much. I want a hundred books.

  12. 5 out of 5

    April (Aprilius Maximus)

    1.) Every Heart A Doorway ★★★★ 2.) Down Among The Sticks and Bones ★★★★.5 3.) Beneath The Sugar Sky ★★★★.5 4.) In An Absent Dream ★★★.5 ----------------------------------------------- Delightful!

  13. 4 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    #1 Every Heart a Doorway ★★★★★ #2 Down Among the Sticks and Bones ★★★★★ #3 Beneath the Sugar Sky ★★★★★ #4 In An Absent Dream ★★★★★ Every time I think I can’t love Seanan McGuire any more than I already do, I read another of her stories, and I’m proven wrong. She is such an incredible storyteller, and she portrays the most necessary, important perspectives on the world and on how humans treat one another, and I am so here for it, always and forever. Day after day, she had learned that “fat” was ano #1 Every Heart a Doorway ★★★★★ #2 Down Among the Sticks and Bones ★★★★★ #3 Beneath the Sugar Sky ★★★★★ #4 In An Absent Dream ★★★★★ Every time I think I can’t love Seanan McGuire any more than I already do, I read another of her stories, and I’m proven wrong. She is such an incredible storyteller, and she portrays the most necessary, important perspectives on the world and on how humans treat one another, and I am so here for it, always and forever. Day after day, she had learned that “fat” was another way to say “worthless, ugly, waste of space, unwanted, disgusting.” She had started to believe them by the time she was in third grade, because what else was she supposed to do? In each of the Wayward Children books so far, we’ve seen how Seanan has taken a specific point or two and honed in on it—in Every Heart a Doorway, it was asexuality and transmisia. In Down Among the Sticks and Bones, it was gender stereotypes and neglectful parenting. In Beneath the Sugar Sky, it is fatphobia—and as a plus size woman reading this series, the perspective of the protagonist Cora, the kindly and brave plus sized mermaid, was all I wanted yet never knew I could have in a story. Maybe Christopher had the right of it, going someplace where people had figured out how to do without the fleshy bits, where they would be judged on their own merits, not on the things people assumed about them. I have never read a book that tackled the issue so damn well and so unapologetically, and to the many people who consider it “over the top”, I ask that you please check your privilege and recognize that the rep had to be in-your-face because almost nobody else is saying these things, especially in the world of SFF fiction. There are so few authors who are willing to even portray fat characters in a positive light, much less to tackle the struggles we undergo in everyday society and the misconceptions that people form about us and our bodies and health statuses. Seanan paints Cora as an incredibly healthy and capable young woman who also happens to be plus size (which is a reality for more individuals than society would have you think), but she also is willing to point towards the harm that any form of abuse and bullying wreaks upon a person’s psyche, as there is a subtle mention of Cora having attempted suicide simply because she was so weary of living in a world that believed her size diminished her worth. Everyone who wound up at Eleanor West’s School—everyone who found a door—understood what it was to spend a lifetime waiting for something that other people wouldn’t necessarily understand. I could honestly gush for ages about how much it meant to me to see myself represented in this book, to see a portrayal that I had, until this year, literally given up on ever seeing in fiction—but I know you guys want to hear about the story itself, too. This is the first novella in the series that actually follows a “quest”, and it brings a few new characters into play that are wholly lovable and, as always with Seanan’s writing, fleshed out to be so complex and three-dimensional in such a short span of time. We also get to spend more time with a few old favorites from the first book, as well as revisiting someone I thought we might not get to see again. This is our first glance at one of the wilder worlds, and it is so fascinating and well described that I couldn’t help but picture every single scene vividly in my mind. The rules of the school are simple. Heal. Hope. And if you can, find your way back where you belong. I can’t honestly pick a favorite from this series so far, because they all are so incredible and fun to read, but as far as the representation goes, Beneath the Sugar Sky is the one that meant the most to me on a personal level. I literally cried (more than once), and it really put into fresh light for me, how important diverse representation in stories is—because I want every single person in the world who is a part of any marginalized community, whether it is based upon their sexuality, gender identity, race, disability, size, etc.—to be able to pick up books that act as mirrors, and for them, too, to have that moment of happy tears streaming down their face when they finally see a character and get to say, “Wow, that’s me.”

  14. 4 out of 5

    Trina (Between Chapters)

    Audiobook Re-read Review (2018): So I stand by everything I said in my original review (below) about the fat rep being too heavy handed for my preference, but it's either less noticeable in the audio format, or some of the mentions were taken out of the finished copy. I could still notice some instances where it felt pointless and like the character was being reduced to this one thing, but the statements about weight were overall positive and I do feel like positive fat rep is MUCH needed. So f Audiobook Re-read Review (2018): So I stand by everything I said in my original review (below) about the fat rep being too heavy handed for my preference, but it's either less noticeable in the audio format, or some of the mentions were taken out of the finished copy. I could still notice some instances where it felt pointless and like the character was being reduced to this one thing, but the statements about weight were overall positive and I do feel like positive fat rep is MUCH needed. So fiiiiiine, I'm bumping my rating up to 5 stars because regardless, MY LOVE FOR THIS SERIES IS ENDLESS. As for the audio, all 3 of the books in this series that are published so far have different narrators and each time I cry a little that the previous narrator isn't returning... and then each time I absolutely fall in love with the new one. This one was narrated by Michelle Dockrey and the only flaw I can say about her narration was that her voicing for a few of the characters was sometimes too sugary sweet (but hey, that fits this world). The characters with accents were more distinct. Overall, you can't go wrong with the audio versions because the writing just lends itself perfectly to verbal storytelling. I DEVOURED this audiobook and highly recommend it! Original ARC review (2017) I was sent an advance copy of this book from the publisher and it was the first time I had read the print format of this series. I listened to the first two books on audio. Both formats are delightful and well suited to McGuire's storytelling. The series is absolutely wonderful and darkly whimsical. This installment goes back to Eleanor West's school and we spend a lot of time with characters we knew from the first book, as well as some new characters as they all embark on a quest. I really enjoyed the new world we got to explore and the story was compelling - I kept wanting to know how they would pull off their goal. I'm docking a star because I *personally* did not enjoy the representation of a fat main character (I'm fat, so this is an ownvoices review of the fat rep). It wasn't anything malicious or harmful, in fact it felt very genuine, relateable, and actively defies stereotypes (YAY!! Not downplaying these things!). My issue was just that it was much too heavy handed. 80%+ of this character's page time is spent reminding us that she's fat. In a book this short, it made it seem like there wasn't much else to her character. There are other minority characters - trans, asexual, disabled, Mexican American, Japanese American - whose identities are mentioned maybe once in passing and not as heavily emphasized, so the constant mentions of Cora's weight just felt unfairly othering. She seemed (to me) reduced to just this one thing, even though it was portrayed positively. I just wanted to know more about her because OMG she's a mermaid and I NEED a future book about her world! Anyway, this is just how it struck me and like I said I think many people will find it relateable, and I do *definitely* appreciate getting fat rep in amazing characters and series. I wouldn't hesitate one second to recommend this book/series! It's a 5 star series overall to me.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Philip

    3.5ish stars. Maybe my most anticipated read of the year. To say I loved Every Heart a Doorway would be an understatement, and I thought Down Among the Sticks and Bones was really wonderful, too. Couldn't wait to get back to the school! While the world is still enchanting and creative, and while it's often funny and sometimes profound, it also feels like McGuire phoned this one in. It seems rushed and sloppy. There isn't as much character development as I expected there to be, based on the first 3.5ish stars. Maybe my most anticipated read of the year. To say I loved Every Heart a Doorway would be an understatement, and I thought Down Among the Sticks and Bones was really wonderful, too. Couldn't wait to get back to the school! While the world is still enchanting and creative, and while it's often funny and sometimes profound, it also feels like McGuire phoned this one in. It seems rushed and sloppy. There isn't as much character development as I expected there to be, based on the first two books. The plot is all over the place. Which kind of works, I guess, since it's literally all about nonsense, but that's no excuse for lazy writing. This is the first book in the series that feels like a novella instead of a full-length novel. Obviously, although it was sort of a disappointment, I still enjoyed it. McGuire is one of my favorite authors and I love this universe she's created, so that means I have high expectations! I'll be eagerly waiting the next installment with fingers crossed it returns to the greatness of its predecessors. Posted in Mr. Philip's Library

  16. 4 out of 5

    Raeleen Lemay

    Read for Popsugar's 2018 Reading Challenge #34: Read a Book That's Published in 2018 There is just something so magical about Seanan McGuire's writing that makes reading her books feel almost nostalgic, all while being completely original. In this series, tons of different worlds exist and they each have their own set of quirks and rules, which completely reminds me of how I felt discovering the Wizarding World or Narnia for the first time. Mix that with an amazingly diverse cast of characters, a Read for Popsugar's 2018 Reading Challenge #34: Read a Book That's Published in 2018 There is just something so magical about Seanan McGuire's writing that makes reading her books feel almost nostalgic, all while being completely original. In this series, tons of different worlds exist and they each have their own set of quirks and rules, which completely reminds me of how I felt discovering the Wizarding World or Narnia for the first time. Mix that with an amazingly diverse cast of characters, and this series is quickly becoming one of my favorites!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Hamad

    “There is kindness in the world, if we know how to look for it. If we never start denying it the door.” 🌟 This series simply keep getting better and that is always a good thing although keeping this progression may be hard. My favorite introduction was the one for the 2nd book but this had a good intro nonetheless. 🌟 This takes place after the first book so it is a continuation of the story, but the main character is not Nancy this time and it was the other characters from book one in addition to “There is kindness in the world, if we know how to look for it. If we never start denying it the door.” 🌟 This series simply keep getting better and that is always a good thing although keeping this progression may be hard. My favorite introduction was the one for the 2nd book but this had a good intro nonetheless. 🌟 This takes place after the first book so it is a continuation of the story, but the main character is not Nancy this time and it was the other characters from book one in addition to a couple of new characters. The good thing regarding the characters is the Diversity in this series, there is an asexual character, a fat one (Although she was so focused on her weight while others were not! a bit annoying honestly), transgenders and bonus points for the Hijabi character! 🌟 Mix the wonderful writing style with the ability to discuss and tackle many real problems that authors may not want to write about and you will have a great script, which McGuire has been doing since the first book in the series! “That’s why people shouldn’t get too hung up on labels. Sometimes I think that’s part of what we do wrong. We try to make things make sense, even when they’re never going to.” 🌟 This was a bit more interesting than the second book plot wise as was expected, because this carried the story forward rather than being a prequel. And the pacing was perfect as always. 🌟 After keeping up with the series now, I totally get why it has all this hype and I think it deserves even more attention.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Warda

    [Completed my Potions exams for the OWLs Readathon! 🧙🏼♀✨] These stories are like crack to me. I need to disappear into one of these worlds. [Completed my Potions exams for the OWLs Readathon! 🧙🏼‍♀️✨] These stories are like crack to me. I need to disappear into one of these worlds.

  19. 5 out of 5

    ✨ jamieson ✨

    “Just keep getting through until you don’t have to do it anymore, however much time that takes, however difficult it is.” FULL REVIEW NOW POSTED I AM SO GLAD I HEAR SEANAN MCGUIRE IS WRITING MORE WAYWARD CHILDREN BOOKS BECAUSE I CANNOT ACCEPT THIS IS THE END God, I love these book soo much. I love this series and this world and these characters so much I actually think I possibly liked Beneath the Sugar Sky the most of the three? Even more then Every Heart a Doorway?? But it was just SO FUNNY AN “Just keep getting through until you don’t have to do it anymore, however much time that takes, however difficult it is.” FULL REVIEW NOW POSTED I AM SO GLAD I HEAR SEANAN MCGUIRE IS WRITING MORE WAYWARD CHILDREN BOOKS BECAUSE I CANNOT ACCEPT THIS IS THE END God, I love these book soo much. I love this series and this world and these characters so much I actually think I possibly liked Beneath the Sugar Sky the most of the three? Even more then Every Heart a Doorway?? But it was just SO FUNNY AND GOOD AND CUTE. And had all my favourite characters (KADE, SUMI) and cool new characters and oh my god did I mention it's SO FUNNY I was dying laughing at the nonsense of Confectionary as a world. Beneath the Sugar Sky begins after the events of Every Heart a Doorway, when Rini - the daughter of Sumi from book one, drops out of the sky - looking for her mother. The death of Sumi in book one has caused a shift in her world of confectionary, and now Rini is slowly disappearing, because Sumi's death means it's like she never existed (I swear I made this sound SO MUCH MORE CONFUSING THEN IT IS) but it makes sense in the book Anyway, the children from Eleanor Wests home must embark on an epic quest that takes them across worlds, and eventually, into Confectionary, to save Sumi and defeat the Queen of Cakes I absolutely loved pretty much everything about this book but I think my two favourites things were A: the return of the old characters and B: the world of confectionary and all its nonsense lets talk about characters In Beneath the Sugar Sky, some old favourite characters make a return. Kade and Christopher from book one are part of the main group, and so is Nadia who was a brief part of the first book. Nancy also makes a reappearance, as does Sumi. Jack and Jill aren't in it but they're discussed. The only new character is Cora, a fat girl who's returned from a drowned world where she used to be a mermaid. I absolutely loved the cast of this book and their dynamics. Kade was also my favourite character in book one and I LOVE HIM EVEN MORE NOW. Christopher got so much more development and it was so nice to see, plus it was cool seeing Nancy again! As for Cora, I really enjoyed her as a new character and I'd love to know more about her drowned world. But her friendship with Nadia, and potential romance with Christopher, was really nice. I just loved all the joking and the way the characters bounced off eachother as they traipsed through Confectionary. I think McGuire writes such well rounded loveable characters you can get behind and I really hope some of the kids, especially Christopher and Kade, get books written about them. now lets talk about the world-building I already find the worldbuilding so interesting. I love the concept of kids coming back from worlds and needing help coming to terms with that. But the world of Confectionary was what I wanted to talk about specifically. CONFECTIONARY IS SO FUNNY AND WEIRD AND COOL. So basically, it's a whole world made of baking goods. There's a Queen of Cakes, and a Big Oven god who's the Big Baker of the world, and an entire backstory of all the bakers who created the world, and theres gingerbread castles and prophecies and ALL OTHER GOODNESS and it's just soo interesting. I loved getting to know more about this world, it was just so well constructed in such a short time? I also, really loved how the mapping of the worlds was expanded. How each world connects to eachother and the different types is so interesting and I really want it to be explained even more ? Christopher blinked. "You mean the world rearranges itself so that everyplace you want to go is within a day's walk from where you are?" "Well, sure," said Rini. "Isn't that how it works where you're from?" "Sadly, no." "Huh," said Rini. "And you call my world nonsensical." Christopher didn't have an answer to that. Aaah this book just makes me so happy. ALL these books do. And one thing that also makes me so happy is the way diversity is handled. The main character Cora is fat and has anxiety, Nadya has a missing arm, Christopher is mexican/american and had cancer, and Kade is trans, Rini is Japanese and we also meet a hijabi character. I just think making such a beautiful, effortlesly diverse and interesting cast is such a highlight, especially because the rep is always so nicely done and the kids are so considerate of eachother. This world makes me SO HAPPYYY “We’re teenagers in a magical land following a dead girl and a disappearing girl into a field of organic, pesticide-free candy corn,” The last thing I want to mention, is that I listened to this (like I did for all the other books) on audiobook and I ADORE THESE AUDIOBOOKS. I'm glad the original narrator has returned for this book because she does such an excellent job. I especially love the accent she does for Kade. Anyway, I highly recommend this audiobook series! (This art is by Rovina Cai!) I just absolutely adore this series and this book and I hope soo muuuch there is more to come. I could honestly read a hundred books in this series, because each one is so unique and interesting and every character makes me happy. Beneath the Sugar Sky was such a fun, quirky ride that really fleshed out the world even more. I loved catching up with the old characters and I hope there is more to come!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    may ❀

    🎉🎉 book #7 done for the booktubeathon ✔ 🎉🎉 this series is so deliciously whimsical and just the right amount of creepy and ughhh i love. its like i want to live in seanan mcguire's head bc it seems like such an imaginative, unrestricted place just like the physical book, the audiobook was fantastic and very short in length. i had so much fun listening to it. this book is like basically like walking through a darker version of candyland and i approve 4.5 stars!! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Buddy read 🎉🎉 book #7 done for the booktubeathon ✔️ 🎉🎉 this series is so deliciously whimsical and just the right amount of creepy and ughhh i love. its like i want to live in seanan mcguire's head bc it seems like such an imaginative, unrestricted place just like the physical book, the audiobook was fantastic and very short in length. i had so much fun listening to it. this book is like basically like walking through a darker version of candyland and i approve 4.5 stars!! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Buddy read with my mc partner in crime🌝 i've been looking forward to this for like 3 years 😭😭😭 im so ready for thisss

  21. 4 out of 5

    ALet

    The Reading Rush day 4: Read a book with purple on the cover. ★★★ /5 It was quite a surprising and refreshing read. This short, little story was very engaging and easy to process, but didn’t lose its meaning, wasn’t too preachy, everything in the story was beautifully balanced out. So far this is my favorite book that I read for The Reading Rush. Of course, because this was so short, it felt a little bit rushed and hadn’t as much impact as it could have. From my point of view, this little story for The Reading Rush day 4: Read a book with purple on the cover. ★★★½ /5 It was quite a surprising and refreshing read. This short, little story was very engaging and easy to process, but didn’t lose its meaning, wasn’t too preachy, everything in the story was beautifully balanced out. So far this is my favorite book that I read for The Reading Rush. Of course, because this was so short, it felt a little bit rushed and hadn’t as much impact as it could have. From my point of view, this little story for sure is worth your time.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    Modern fairy tales. Gotta love them, especially when they take twelve core hearts and totally run with them, allowing an almost meta world-building full of magical doors taking the young at heart (or obsessional) directly to their best dreamland. :) This third book in the Wayward Children novellas doesn't disappoint. It's Candy Crush land and Mermaids, with a little mix of the skeletal dead and some time travel. Everything a fantasy lover needs, right? Right! And I think I liked this one a bit mor Modern fairy tales. Gotta love them, especially when they take twelve core hearts and totally run with them, allowing an almost meta world-building full of magical doors taking the young at heart (or obsessional) directly to their best dreamland. :) This third book in the Wayward Children novellas doesn't disappoint. It's Candy Crush land and Mermaids, with a little mix of the skeletal dead and some time travel. Everything a fantasy lover needs, right? Right! And I think I liked this one a bit more than book 2. :) It had more of the characters I loved and better emphasis on what I loved the most in the first book: the doors and the obsession and the quirk. :) As I said, it's a fully modern fairy tale with the essence of fairies spiriting away little children, adults losing the magic, and the whole idea that wanting something hard enough or just BELIEVING hard enough will bring you right where you need to be. :) It's quite pretty, but don't start assuming this is totally light. It's not. It's quite dark at times. :) In other words, fantastic! Seanan always satisfies. :)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elena May

    “They can be hard for their families to understand, those returned, used-up miracle children. They sound like liars to people who never had a doorway of their own. They sound like dreamers. They sound... unwell, to the charitable, and simply sick to the cruel.” The Wayward Children series continues to be strong, but I felt this book doesn’t reach the same level as the previous two. We are back at Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children, where children who have spent time in portal worlds are “They can be hard for their families to understand, those returned, used-up miracle children. They sound like liars to people who never had a doorway of their own. They sound like dreamers. They sound... unwell, to the charitable, and simply sick to the cruel.” The Wayward Children series continues to be strong, but I felt this book doesn’t reach the same level as the previous two. We are back at Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children, where children who have spent time in portal worlds are trying to support each other and survive being away from the unreachable places they call home. The book has the same charming weirdness as Every Heart a Doorway, but it’s missing the sense of loss and sacrifice. Everything is way too easy. In Every Heart a Doorway and Down among the Sticks and Bones, children go to insane lengths to open their portal, and here they are hopping between worlds with minimal effort. All the characters’ struggles are cheapened. Travel between worlds is cheapened. Even death is cheapened. Many reviewers are praising the book for its amazing representation and diversity, and for a good reason. However, I think it’s not perfect, and the problems are worth highlighting. I’m not going to talk about what the author does right – it’s a lot, and it’s been mention by many reviewers. I’ll just talk about the points that could have been handled better. Nadya and disability We have a child born without an arm, who has no problem with this and rejects useless prosthetics, which are more cosmetic than functional. Great! But then she goes to her portal world and gets a magic arm. This sets her apart from all other children we see – none of them have their source of difference “fixed” in the portal world. Cora doesn’t magically become thin. That would have been absurd, and, thankfully, the author knows it. But then why does Nadya need fixing? Disabled kids reading this story won’t be magically cured, so it would have been nice for them to see they can have fun adventures and a fulfilling life just the way they are. Cora and fatphobia One of the main characters has experienced severe fat shaming. She is also extremely athletic and is living a healthy life. So far, great. But then her athleticism becomes such a huge point that I think it shifts the message in the wrong direction. Every single paragraph she appears, we hear about what a great swimmer she is, and what a great jogger, and how flexible she is, etc, etc. I feel at the end the message became “You shouldn’t fat shame people, because they might actually be super athletic and you don’t know it” instead of staying “You shouldn’t fat shame people. Period. Whether they do sports or not is none of your business.” I was also bothered by Cora spending much more time angsting about how fat she thinks she is, than she does missing her mermaid world and trying to come in terms with living on dry land. The previous two books have established how important the portal worlds are to the kids and how painful it is for them to be away, but it didn’t feel this way here. In the end, this isn’t a 5 or even a 4-star read for me because I feel it isn’t adding anything new. Every Heart a Doorway has a great idea, and Down among the Sticks and Bones reveals the backstory and motivation of some important characters, while this book reads like a random adventure set in the same world – fun enough, but nothing memorable. Still, it is a solid book, and I will definitely keep reading the series.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Heidi The Reader

    Beneath the Sugar Sky takes readers back to the world of Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children, but not to a moment in time before the events of the first book. It is a sequel rather than a prequel. I found it strangely satisfying in a way that Down Among the Sticks and Bones was not. "They can be hard for their families to understand, those returned, used-up miracle children. They sound like liars to people who never had a doorway of their own." pg 7, ebook. And instead of just one world other Beneath the Sugar Sky takes readers back to the world of Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children, but not to a moment in time before the events of the first book. It is a sequel rather than a prequel. I found it strangely satisfying in a way that Down Among the Sticks and Bones was not. "They can be hard for their families to understand, those returned, used-up miracle children. They sound like liars to people who never had a doorway of their own." pg 7, ebook. And instead of just one world other than our own, readers get to experience a couple in Beneath the Sugar Sky. The trouble begins when someone from a different world shows up in the everyday world and asks to see her mother. The thing is, her mother died in the real world some time ago. The world that the girl comes from doesn't pretend to follow time the normal way- it's a nonsense world. Now, this visitor is disappearing and needs help from some of the residents of Eleanor West's Home before she vanishes altogether. "That makes no sense at all," she said. "That means it may well work. Go, my darlings, and bring your lost and shattered sister home." pg 29, ebook. A new character in this book is Cora, a girl who went to a water world. She has an insightful way of viewing reality and seems able to see to the heart of people with little trouble: "They always had their shoes, their scissors, whatever talisman they wanted to have to hand when their doorways reappeared and they had to make the choice to stay or go." pg 19, ebook. Kade, Christopher and Nancy are in this book as well. "So many different doors, and yet here you are, all of you together, trying to accomplish the impossible." pg 40, ebook. I recommend reading Every Heart a Doorway before this book, to get the most enjoyment out of it. It's perfect for young adults or readers who like fairy tales.

  25. 4 out of 5

    amy ☂︎

    fairytales on crack is my new favorite book genre

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sara (sarawithoutanH)

    I loved this! This may be my favorite in the series. I need more!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nadia Awadi

    Reading this book in Ramadan is a fun way to torture yourself. I mean all those sweets made my mouth water, and I couldn't even drink anything. Rating 3,75 stars The Plot I seriously can't think of anything to write. Sorry. The Characters We have a crew to save the day which reminded me of Six of crows: Kade I love you! That's all you have to know. Cora I liked her a lot. She saved a boy twice which regardless of her personality makes her a bad ass in my book. She is a new student at the school Reading this book in Ramadan is a fun way to torture yourself. I mean all those sweets made my mouth water, and I couldn't even drink anything. Rating 3,75 stars The Plot I seriously can't think of anything to write. Sorry. The Characters We have a crew to save the day which reminded me of Six of crows: Kade I love you! That's all you have to know. Cora I liked her a lot. She saved a boy twice which regardless of her personality makes her a bad ass in my book. She is a new student at the school who lost her door. She was a mermaid before coming back to earth. Did I mention that I love swimming? She had weight issues which was great to read about but I has some problems with that part. Which I will talk about later. Nadya I loved her ending. And she has my name so she was probably cool like me. Rini In a nonsense world, her values are the only things that made sense to me. Her ability to sacrifice herself for the greater good was amazing to see. Sumi For someone who was supposed to stay dead she left her mark in the book. Layla A muslim character with a Hijabb is in the house! This one hit close to home with me. And I loved how her character was represented. And her picture was so beautiful. Thoughts *if you're easily offended please don't hate me* This series is well known for being diverse which is awesome. One thing rubbed me the wrong way was how the author handled weight issues. Cora is overweight and here's what I had a problem with. She was used to having people assume that her size was a function of her diet, when in fact it owed more to her metabolism and her genes, neither of which she could control. Okay, it's true that there are people who are overweight and not because of their eating habits. But in most cases it's lack of exercise and unhealthy diet that leads to weight problems. I'm not here to say that we should go and call people fat or anything like that. But I'm just saying that in Cora's case *which is a speacial one* she's healthy, a great runner and the only thing that makes her overweight are genetics and slow metabolism. Which is awesome. But in most cases it's not like that. I'm not saying that if you're 'fat' you're not beautiful. It's just if you're struggling with your weight you should try to live a healthier lifestyle for yourself. But it felt like the author was saying: 'No one has to lose weight and if someone tells you to slim down a little. They are wrong!' Which I don't think is a great message. Hope that made sense. Why 3.5 stars? The writing is as amazing as always. But it was kind of boring a times. It felt like the book was longer than it actually was. I recommend this series to every single reader on goodreads. Hope you have a good day!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Imane

    “There is kindness in the world, if we know how to look for it, if we never stop denying it the door.” ―Seanan McGuire, Beneath the Sugar Sky Not my favorite of the series but still a very enjoyable read. Seanan McGuire writes beautifully and the ideas within this novel are amazing, the flowery and striking writing fit perfectly the overall whimsical tone, but when it came to the plot, i found it to be a bit boring and felt like it didn't go anywhere or matter much.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Robin (Bridge Four)

    Kindle Monthly Deal July 2019 for $2.99 totally worth that price. Section I: This has nothing to do with the content of the book but only the pricing of the book. Please skip down to Section II for all specific book review information. I really enjoy this series but I probably won’t buy the next book right when it comes out. I say this because I really think they are ridiculously priced. Normally I don’t throw price considerations into my reviews but lately it seems that I lot of the books/author Kindle Monthly Deal July 2019 for $2.99 totally worth that price. Section I: This has nothing to do with the content of the book but only the pricing of the book. Please skip down to Section II for all specific book review information. I really enjoy this series but I probably won’t buy the next book right when it comes out. I say this because I really think they are ridiculously priced. Normally I don’t throw price considerations into my reviews but lately it seems that I lot of the books/authors/publishers I like have set their price points pretty high. Beneath the Sugar Sky and the other books of this series are about 150-180 pages and Tor is asking $9.99 for each. Well I will say I got book 1 of this series from Tor as a free download and I did buy book 2 when it was a kindle daily deal for $1.99 or $2.99 I don’t remember but right now if you want to buy them they are $9.99…eh I really don’t feel like I can recommend a book when it is a short story and is more than this authors other full length novels published by someone else. Look I don’t know anything about the costs of publishing maybe this isn’t a price gouge, but it kinda feels like one. I want to be fair and I want to pay an author for their work. But I don’t think a short story should ever be more than $5.00 in ebook format. Section II: Where Down Among the Sticks and Bones (DAtSaBs) was a trip into a world built on the concepts that are reminiscent of a Sci-Fi black and white monster movie Beneath the Sugar Sky (BtSS) is a trip into the Candyland game. Again McGuire has built a fantastical world and while I liked the logic of DAtSaBs the nonsense of BtSS while a little boggling at times was also a ton of fun. Imagine lakes made of soda, soil that is cookie dough and brownies and a sky with no stars but cake sprinkles and candy that were thrown up and stuck in the sky. Christopher blinked. "You mean the world rearranges itself so that everyplace you want to go is within a day's walk from where you are?" "Well, sure," said Rini. "Isn't that how it works where you're from?" "Sadly, no." "Huh," said Rini. "And you call my world nonsensical." Christopher didn't have an answer to that. This is a land where time isn’t linear and so a daughter that wasn’t supposed to be born since her mother died was and now she needs to find a way to bring her back to life or she will fade away sorta like Marty McFly in back to the Future. The thing that Seanan McGuire did the best in this was the misfit kids that don’t really fit into this world and fall through doors to others. You can see how they fit in the other world so much better and even if you don’t understand it, you want them to find their door back to the home they want to be in. You can definitely see why they end up at the Home for Wayward Children. The children disliked pretending to be ordinary delinquents, sent away by their parents for starting fires or breaking windows, when really they had been sent away for slaying dragons and refusing to say that they hadn’t. Everyone of them have their own story from being a mermaid or a drowned girl to being the daughter of the future woman that lived in Candyland (or Confection) and defeated the Queen of Cakes. This is a trippy ride so save it for a time when all you need is a little nonsense in your life. Because for part of the magic to work you have to also be willing to walk through a door to a new world and suspend disbelief and the rules of our nature and just go with the flow for awhile. “We’re teenagers in a magical land following a dead girl and a disappearing girl into a field of organic, pesticide-free candy corn,” While I wouldn’t push you to grab this at the current price point I will say that if it ever drops below $5.00 grab it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Celeste

    You can find this review and more at Novel Notions. It’s sad when a perfectly decent story leaves you disappointed, but that’s how I feel about this little novella. I absolutely loved Every Heart a Doorway and Down Among the Sticks and Bones. They were both deep and meaningful and had important things to say about accepting yourself no matter how different you are and finding your place, whether it’s in this world or another. They spoke about how adults don’t see children as their equals, and un You can find this review and more at Novel Notions. It’s sad when a perfectly decent story leaves you disappointed, but that’s how I feel about this little novella. I absolutely loved Every Heart a Doorway and Down Among the Sticks and Bones. They were both deep and meaningful and had important things to say about accepting yourself no matter how different you are and finding your place, whether it’s in this world or another. They spoke about how adults don’t see children as their equals, and undervalue their experiences and opinions and value just because of their age. Because I was so moved and inspired by the first two books, I was expecting some of the same from this third installment. But that’s not what I got. One the surface, this book fit well with the rest of the series. It returned to the school setting of the first book, featured characters from the first book, and involved visiting worlds mentioned in that first book. We have a few new characters who round out our diverse cast and bring in even more representation. Cora, our main perspective character, has been labeled “fat” her entire life. People see her and assume that she is a glutton who never gets her butt off the couch and exercises. People couldn’t be more wrong. Cora might have lost the genetic lottery when it comes to weight, but she’s a runner and a powerful swimmer. So powerful a swimmer, in fact, that her door to another world led to an aquatic realm where she found her true self in the form of a mermaid. She got caught in a current and swept back to the world of her birth, which is how she finds herself at Eleanor’s school and part of our story. My problem with Cora was this: for someone who yearns to not be defined by her size, that is seriously all she thinks about. Wherever she is, she automatically assumes that she’s being judged because of her weight. I know this is a struggle, but it’s so unhealthy for it to be the defining characteristic within your own mind. Something you dislike about yourself or wish you could change should never be the first way you describe yourself, even to yourself. The children at the school are all different; if they were “normal,” they wouldn’t be here. But the others don’t seem to spend as much time belittling themselves over something they can’t change as does Cora. We learn that diet and exercise don’t alter her weight; she’s simply a product of her genetics. But then we have someone like Kade, who was failed even worse by genetics when he was born female but views himself as male, who doesn’t let his physicality define him or how he views himself to nearly the extent Cora does. I don’t know why, but in my opinion she lacked the depth of characters we’ve come to know in the previous books, in large part due to her constant focus on her physical form. Something else that bothered me was the insinuation that some doors, if not all, are found through near-death experiences, particularly suicide attempts. I feel that this is unhealthy thought to plant within the minds of readers. This series appeals to people who view themselves as outcasts and misfits, people who feel like they don’t fit as comfortably into this world as those around them. It’s an amazing thing to find yourself represented in books like these, and to see a physical representation of the mental escape you crave. But to plant the idea that suicide might provide that escape within the minds of those whose unhappiness leaves them impressionable, even if the idea is only vaguely implied, isn’t helpful. This is just my opinion, and others might read things differently than I did. But it’s something that bothered me. This was a quest story, and we actually visit more worlds than we have in any of the previous books. I felt that the settings were the strength in this novella. The descriptions were lovely and transportive. But the depth of characterization present in the preceding novels wasn’t present. The prose felt like a hollow imitation of McGuire’s writing in the previous books. On the surface, this was a fun story that was engaging and an interesting escape from the realm of normal. If this would have been written by someone else, I honestly would probably rate it higher. But McGuire created something really special with the first two novellas in her Wayward Children series, and the expectations created by those two little books were unmet in this story. She’s capable of more than this, and I hope the next installment delivers the depth and proclaims the message that were both so present in those first two novellas. You can read my review of Every Heart a Doorway here, and my review of Down Among the Sticks and Bones here. This was a gift from my darling Mary. Even though I didn't love it as much as the first two, I still deeply appreciate the gift!

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