Published by Tordotcom on October 6, 2020
Also by this author: Imaginary Numbers, Across the Green Grass Fields, Calculated Risks, Backpacking Through Bedlam
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Over the Woodward Wall is a middle-grade fantasy by A. Deborah Baker, Seanan McGuire’s pseudonym. And yet, it’s so much more!
About Over the Woodward Wall
Avery and Zib, school children, live on the same street yet their lives don’t cross. Until the day they’re walking to their separate schools and become hopelessly lost in a strange world with only each other and the occasional talking tree or giant owl to depend on.
Avery is a quiet, well-behaved boy with pressed chinos and shiny shoes. Zib is wild and free, enjoying nature which frequently gets enmeshed in her springy wayward curls. They’ll need to learn to put aside their differences and trust each other if they’re going to overcome the challenges and threats that stand between them and finding their way home.
My thoughts about Over the Woodward Wall
Seanan McGuire has written a stunning portal fantasy with well-developed and engaging characters both the human and the not so human. One of her gifts is to create characters that dare the reader to not care about them and get emotionally entangled.
She’s created a magical though slightly menacing world filled with places that I want to know more about.
Lots of whimsy in this world, reminiscent of Oz or Wonderland. And also like those stories, this one has menace and fear. Not all of the characters want to help Avery and Zib find their way home.
No spoilers but like a lot of Seanan’s books, the ending was a hard punch to the feels.
Despite being written for middle-grade readers, fans of her Wayward Children will feel right at home with Over the Woodward Wall.
Do you have a favorite fantasy trope? Even as a child, I loved the idea of portal fantasies. Open a door, tumble down a rabbit hole and discover a magical world. Tell me your favorite trope in the comments below.
If you’re looking for other portal fantasy novellas, try Seanan’s Wayward Children series. The first book is Every Heart a Doorway.
The Oz books are favorites that I regularly reread. Dorothy revisits Oz several times, using lots of portals before Ozma invites her to live there permanently. The Road to Oz has one of my favorite secondary characters, Polychrome, the Rainbow’s daughter.
Over the Woodward Wall is a beautifully written middle grade reader that will also resonate with older readers and lovers of portal fantasies.