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).
Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.
This is the story of what happened first…
Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.
Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you've got.
They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.
They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.
A dark fairy tale, told in Seanan McGuire style.
This is a prequel to Every Heart a Doorway and although I think I liked that book just a titch more than this one, this is still an excellent book. It follows Jack (Jacqueline) and Jill (Jillian) through their childhood and the experience of finding “their door,” the portal to The Moors, another world where fictional people and beasts roam. Up to this point, Jack has been sculpted by her mother into a perfect, clean, nearly-immobile little princess and Jill has been encouraged by her father to be the tomboy, almost-son that he desires. On the Moors, the tables are turned—Jack gets to be active & competent, Jill gets to try out her ultra-feminine side. Each of them explores both extremes of femininity.
Even with the role reversal, they still struggle to understand one another and care for one another. Just as family members do. There are many ways to be a girl (and a boy) and there are many ways to deal with family. This is an interesting exploration of both of those issues.