Down Among the Sticks and Bones

192p. Doherty Bks. Jun. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780765392039.
RedReviewStarJacqueline and Jillian's parents were more taken with the idea of having children than the reality of raising them. The Wolcotts are now too busy making sure that the identical twins are the perfect accessories to their perfect lives to see how unhappy the sisters are about the roles they are shoved into. So when they discover a trunk containing a set of stairs instead of old clothes, the siblings take flight. They find themselves in a bleak, desolate, brutal land where good girl Jacqueline can be Jack, the mad scientist's apprentice, and tomboy Jillian is Jill, the pampered, proper companion to a vampire. This stand-alone prequel to the Alex Award winner Every Heart a Doorway features the same haunting and lyrical prose. Tightly crafted chapters compare the mundane horrors of the girls' childhood with the horrors of the Moors and invite readers to meditate on what really makes a monster. Coupled with McGuire's examination of the strained relationship between the sisters in both worlds, this is a work that will deeply resonate with teen readers.
VERDICT Beautiful and devastating, this gem of a novel lingers and will garner many more fans for McGuire.—Jennifer Rothschild, Arlington Public Library, VA

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