Book Review: Beneath the Sugar Sky

Beneath the Sugar Sky
McGuire, Seanan
4 stars = Really Good

This series, the Wayward Children series, has become one of my favorite series this year and Beneath the Sugar Sky, Seanan McGuire’s third installment is no different, it has stolen my heart. This series center’s around a school Eleanor West’s home for Wayward Children. It is a boarding school for children, who have found themselves in magical worlds of all types and then had to come back to “the real world”, to become reintroduced to society. But, to the children, the school is a waiting place, a holding cell, a place to stay until they find their door back into the magical world from which they came. This series explores the curiosity of children, their adventurous spirit, and their willingness to believe in the impossible.

In this story, we join our heroes right after the events that took place in Every Heart a Doorway. Right at the beginning we meet Sumi’s daughter Rinni, who comes from one of these magical lands. In it her mother, Sumi, was foretold to birth a daughter that would save their magical land from great evil, but Sumi died in our world before she could fulfill her destiny. But Rinni is born anyway and comes back to our world to bring her mother back from our world, a world without magic. Our heroes then embark on an adventure through many dangerous, intriguing, and beautiful worlds to bring back Sumi and right the wrong that has been committed.

I love Seanan Mcguire’s writing style. It is dark, whimsical, and at times serious and sad, with a touch of magic thrown in. She tackles issues such as how families and children relate to each other, and obesity with grace and clarity. I really enjoyed the fact that one of the main characters in this book, Cora, was overweight and portrayed as a hero. While I do agree with others that have read the ARC of this book, that the character of Cora does, I think, dwell too much on her status as “the fat girl”, it seems like every other page; I also think the character’s inner dialogue of the subject is a good portrayal of how many teens who deal with this issue, think about their weight. I also love the world building in this series and in this book, particularly the world of Confection, the world Sumi and Rinni come from. It is particularly atmospheric, alluring and to be honest, a child’s dream. Finally I really enjoy the diversity of characters in this book from a Mexican American to a child with a broken arm, to a bisexual character, it has a character that is relatable in it for just about anyone.

Studded with beautiful worlds, engaging and believable characters, and atmospheric literary prose, Beneath the Sugar Sky is a diamond in the rough of YA fiction.

Thank you to Macmillan-Tor/Forge books and Netgalley for the E Galley of this book for review! This book isn't out till January 9th but you can put a copy on hold today.

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