Down Among the Sticks and Bones

Down Among the Sticks and Bones

eBook - 2017
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Winner: 2018 Alex Award
Winner: 2018 ALA RUSA Fantasy Award

Seanan McGuire returns to her popular Wayward Children series with Down Among the Sticks and Bones-- a truly standalone story suitable for adult and young adult readers of urban fantasy, and the follow-up to the Alex, Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning, World Fantasy Award finalist, Tiptree Honor List book Every Heart a Doorway

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 .

The Wayward Children Series
Book 1: Every Heart a Doorway
Book 2: Down Among the Sticks and Bones
Book 3: Beneath the Sugar Sky
Book 4: In an Absent Dream

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Publisher: 2017.
ISBN: 9780765392046
Branch Call Number: eBook overdrive
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Overdrive, Inc

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Opinion

From Library Staff

The second in the Wayward Children trilogy, this book is technically a prequel to Every Heart a Doorway, though you can read it before or after the first published novella. Jack and Jill are perfect little representations of their parents gender role expectations, though they aren't living the li... Read More »

187 pages. A companion novella to Every Heart a Doorway, this gives the backstory to Jack and Jill and their misadventures in a fairy-tale horror land. You don't need to have read the first to enjoy this one!

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LPL_KateG May 03, 2017

I happened to read this BEFORE the first one (Every Heart a Doorway) and it works very well as a prequel or a sequel, depending on what camp you're in. I really loved how McGuire eased me into the spooky weird world, so if you've been waiting to read Every Heart..., start here first!


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ReadingAdviser_Sally Nov 28, 2020

This was book two in the series and I had no idea and just picked it up. I LOVED this dark, adult fairy tale. I will definitely be reading book one and three in the series but this one could be read on its own- no problem. The fairy tale was dark, twisted, new and very well told. I highly recommend.

I really enjoyed learning more about Jack and Jill pre-EHaD. These books are basically novellas and go by SO fast, but in this case, I found it really worked.

Jacqueline and Jillian are born into a family that tells them who they need to be. They never want for anything - except that that's not true at all. Both girls long to break free of their princess and tomboy roles, and when a doorway appears, they descend into a land of darkness, where vampires and werewolves prowl the moors...and where both girls can become exactly who they want to be.

Seanan McGuire is such a master of atmosphere. This one nailed the classic monster vibes, with the brooding vampire and the eccentric scientist, but then wove those characters into a narrative about finding yourself. The girls at the heart of this story are so much fun to read about - you never quite know who to root for, who to love, who to cringe at, because both are just trying their best given the upbringing they have.

Knowing the events of Every Heart a Doorway makes it all more interesting too. This could easily be read as a standalone, but knowing where the girls eventually end up and then going back and learning how it happens makes everything even more intriguing. I mean, the idea of descending through a clothing chest into a world with foggy moors and supernatural creatures is already intriguing af, but there are just so many layers to these stories.

It's amazing to me how those layers can develop over the span of 2 200 page novellas, but here we are, and here is Seanan's ridiculous talent for wordcraft on display. I can't wait to continue with this series. I don't know what I want more, stories of the worlds these characters fall into, or stories of the school they end up at back in ours...

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michaelwager
Mar 28, 2020

12-year-old twins Jacqueline and Jillian, raised by parents who had children only to increase their social standing and molded them into roles that were against their natures, find a mysterious staircase in a closet that takes them to the Moors, a wild and dangerous world inhabited by vampires, werewolves, and mad scientists. Trapped in this strange world, they carve out very different niches for themselves until disaster pulls them back together.

McGuire's powerful narration feels like a parable and provides dramatic insight into the human psyche and its failings. Constantly pointing out things that the characters do not consider that would have been simply common sense and would have fixed everything, she helps readers examine their own assumptions while telling a thrilling and spectacular story. The vivid characters and settings are breathtaking and the story left me wanting to read the rest of the series.

f
Fuzzy_Slippers
Feb 24, 2020

Another great book! I want to read the series in order but I also want to skip ahead to the next Jill and Jack book. What to do...

s
Sherri_Fox
Jan 06, 2020

This grabbed my eye and I was intrigued by the title and cover and the subject of twins/sisters. Found it very modern and highly insightful in to the female/sister psyche. Didn't care for the ending as a stand alone novel, but maybe should look for a sequel...

haushallmartinez Aug 13, 2019

Jack and Jill, introduced in Every Heart a Doorway, get their tale told in full here; their controlling parents, their grandmother who tried to save them, and the dark world out of horror films that accepted them. Jaqueline, raised to be the perfect daughter, flees from the vampire master and into the care of a mad scientist. Gillian, raised to be a tomboy, jumps at the chance to be a pampered princess in that same master's castle. The tale of their fate and breaking is wonderfully told (and read, in the audio version).

JCLBeckyC May 28, 2019

This dark fairy tale describes the circumstances that lead twins Jack and Jill away from their control-freak, high society parents into a Gothic world of mad scientists and vampires. Those who wanted more backstory in Every Heart a Doorway will devour this prequel.

j
jlandgraver722
Feb 16, 2019

Another of my favorite series because it is fantasy like and takes you to a different realm no matter where you are in life.

JCLChrisK Nov 10, 2018

A brilliant little gem of a fairy tale, narrated with a deliciously sarcastic voice. The story is spare, haunting, and lyrical, about two unwanted and unloved siblings who stumble into a twilit world of danger and darkness. The twin, twelve-year-old girls see the opportunity to to be self-defining and self-determining for the first time in their lives, but when the choices are identities like vampire and mad scientist there are always unwanted consequences lurking just out of sight. And a happy ending might not be one of the options.

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BohoBookDragon
Aug 06, 2018

Seanan McGuire is a gift for those of us who love dark fantasy with just a touch of realism. For a series whose books are short, the characters stick with you and get into your head. I've read this one and "Every Heart a Doorway" and I devoured both in one sitting because I was enthralled.

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ReadingAdviser_Sally Nov 28, 2020

There are worlds built on rainbows and worlds built on rain. There are worlds of pure mathematics, where every number chimes like crystal as it rolls into reality. There are worlds of light and worlds of darkness, worlds of rhyme and worlds of reason, and worlds where the only thing that matters is the goodness in a hero's heart.

ReadingAdviser_Sally Nov 28, 2020

Some adventures require nothing more than a willing heart and the ability to trip over the cracks in the world.

JCLChrisK Nov 10, 2018

A single revelation does not change a life. It is a start.

JCLChrisK Nov 10, 2018

This, you see, is the true danger of children: they are ambushes, each and every one of them.

JCLChrisK Nov 10, 2018

Hope only got you hurt. Hope was her least favourite thing, of all the things.

s
scifiid
Mar 15, 2018

"I think the rules were different there. It was all about science, but the science was magical. It didn’t care about whether something could be done. It was about whether it should be done, and the answer was always, always yes."

s
scifiid
Mar 15, 2018

"Jacqueline and Jillian, who were crying for some of the many reasons that babies cry—they were cold, they were distressed, they were offended by the existence of gravity—continued to wail."

s
scifiid
Mar 15, 2018

"I could give you children,” said Jack, sounding faintly affronted. “You’d have to tell me how many heads you wanted them to have, and what species you’d like them to be, but what’s the point of having all these graveyards if I can’t give you children when you ask for them?"

a
AceOfSpadefish
Jul 29, 2017

...and "yet" is such a powerful, unforgiving word that there is no questioning its truth, and no hiding from its promise.

a
AceOfSpadefish
Jul 29, 2017

People who knew Chester and Serena Wolcott socially would have placed money on the idea that the couple would never choose to have children.

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haushallmartinez Aug 13, 2019

haushallmartinez thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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shayshortt
Jul 19, 2017

Once upon a time, twins Jacqueline and Jillian Wolcott opened a trunk in their attic, and found an impossible staircase that led down, down, down, to a magical world called The Moors. A world where Jack didn’t have to be the perfect girly girl for her mother, and Jill didn’t have to be the sports-loving tomboy standing in for an absent son. But still a world where they would have to be polar opposites in a different way, choosing between The Master and Dr. Bleak, the vampire, and the mad scientist. If they still have one thing in common, it is that they want to stay on the Moors forever. But we all know that doorways come calling when you least expect them.

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