I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.
But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.
Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.
But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.
No matter the cost.
What if you weren't reliant on authors to be transported to another reality? What if, like Alice, you really fell down a rabbit hole, or like Dorothy, you were carried off by a tornado to a magical world where you fit in perfectly? When the saying, "There's no place like home" sounds like a curse.
You've been forced back to "reality" and find that no one believes your story or even cares about it. All they from you is a return to "normal," a state which you've always hated.
There's grief, mourning your lost perfect world. Now surround yourself with others in the same predicament from very different worlds, doing group therapy to try to come to terms with this old, unsatisfactory existence.
This lovely little novella explores this dilemma beautifully. I think each of us probably has a "golden age" in our past that we remember with nostalgia and we can recognize that longing in this book.