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By Miranda Boyer

I’ve already pre-ordered book three – which comes out in January 2018. I couldn’t put DOWN AMONG THE STICKS AND BONES down. I’m not even sure how to start this review, but I’ll say this: I’m stuck among the moors and by Jack’s side. I’ve been gifted into McGuire’s world and I don’t want to leave yet. EVERY HEART A DOORWAY was a portal to many worlds and DOWN AMONG THE STICKS AND BONES was but one.

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

What McGuire has written is, in its own way, a doorway for the rest of us. For those of us who weren’t chosen as children to find the world in which we truly belong. She’s gifted us with such atmosphere, such beauty, it will be as if for these brief pages, you too have found a door to another world.

There is a discussion of gender roles and the impact that they have on children and society as a whole. Sometimes these forced roles are done so knowingly and worse, unknowingly.

“She had tried to make sure they knew that there were a hundred, a thousand, a million different ways to be a girl, and that all of them were valid”

What I loved about this book, was it took on that discussion and did so with grace. Far more grace then I’ll have trying to explain it to you. It’s okay to be a girly-girl and it’s okay to be a tomboy and it’s okay to be both or neither. Defining anyone by gender stereotypes does the world a disservice. McGuire never shies from diversity in her books. Without having to explain to readers what Mysophobia is, McGuire paints a picture so vividly, the reader never has to ask because it’s clear what it must feel like to suffer from Mysophobia. Toss in a pinch of first love and a sister bond in a gothic and dark place, who can resist such a book? I think these two books have just risen into my true favorites list.

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