Where the Drowned Girls Go: 01/12/22
Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire is the seventh book in the Wayward Children series. Cora, the girl who had drowned and become a mermaid and then gotten the unwanted attention of the Old Ones transfers to a different school. The Whitehorn Institute promises to make her forget her door, thus shutting her off from the nightmares and on-going threat from the monsters on the other side of it.
Where Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children encourages children to talk about their experiences — to fully embrace what happened to them — the Whitehorn Institute forces the children to focus on their harsh, non-magical reality until they graduate. Cora who arrives with mermaid hair and sparkly rainbow skin would have drawn unwanted attention and teasing from the staff and students. That she's also fat only makes things worse but she is here of her own decision and has unfortunately come to expect this treatment.
From the very introduction of the Whitehorn Institute it gave me a Promised Neverland vibe even though the girls Cora interacts with are all older than the characters in the manga/anime. There's also the fact that despite it's off-putting atmosphere, students aren't being harvested. They, are though being abused and given false hope in a way similar to how Neverland is described in Sisters of the Neversea by Cynthia Leitich Smith (2021).
Like the previous six volumes, Where the Drowned Girls Go has a place on the Road Narrative Spectrum. As this series grows the relationship between volumes becomes more complex. The black arrows on the chart show the progression of the series in publication order through the spectrum. The gray arrows show specific relationships between volumes.
Like Volume three, this book has a scarecrow/minotaur dichotomy for the traveler (99). Cora, while treated by many as a monster (or minotaur) she sets out to save those at her new school who want to be saved when it becomes abundantly clear that there is an evil running the place.
Cora's destination is the wildlands in the form of the school's remote location. Furthermore the school grounds include a walled in forest (again, similar to The Promised Neverland). Finally there is the longer range goal of returning through personal doors, many of which are quite wild.
Cora's route is through the maze. There is the lingering threat of the Old Ones. There is the unspecified, undefined but ever present wrongness of the Institute. There is physical evidence of the danger posed by the powers behind the Institute. Cora and everyone else there are in danger or are already victims of that danger.
Book eight is Lost in the Moment and Found. It's scheduled for a January 2023 release.