Regan is an eleven-year-old girl who after being bullied by her former best friend runs out of her school and through a door to another world–the Hooflands, where unicorns, centaurs, and all kind of mystical creatures are real. In this world, humans are the magical beings, and every human must become a hero.
First of all, I have never read any of the other Wayward Children books, so I am extremely grateful that this is a standalone novel. So much of what Regan goes through in the human world reminds me of my own childhood. No, I’m not intersex, but I remember how mean middle school girls could be. Yes, I even had a “best friend” who bullied me into being “more of a girl,” and I wished I could run away to a magical world of unicorns, centaurs, and even kelpies because kelpies are far less terrifying than middle school. For that reason alone, I found myself instantly drawn into this story.
I stuck with this story because it avoids the cliches found in stories like this, and Regan is a well-written protagonist who is neither saint nor villain.
The only reason this isn’t a five-star read in my opinion is because it is too short. It’s a great light afternoon read, but it could have been so much more.