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The Door in the Forest Hardcover – March 22, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[A] moving fantasy . . . Townley provides revelations that are both comic and awesome. Reminiscent of the work of Diana Wynne Jones, this lovely tale should impress young readers."
Publishers Weekly

About the Author

RODERICK TOWNLEY has taught in Chile on a Fulbright Fellowship, worked in New York as a journalist, and now devotes his time to writing. His highly acclaimed novels include The Blue Shoe, The Red Thread, Sky, and the three books of the Sylvie Cycle: The Great Good Thing, Into the Labyrinth, and The Constellation of Sylvie. You can read more about his work at RoderickTownley.com.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 600L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (March 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375856013
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375856013
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,793,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
18%
4 star
35%
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See all 17 customer reviews
Though this novel is intended for younger readers, adults will enjoy it as well and will see more of the allegory in it.
D. Williams
I'd read that this book was like a Diana Wynne Jones book, so I expected a twist at the end, and while there was a twist it was foreshadowed too much to be a surprise.
Myra
Emily and Daniel just seemed so much older than they were that when they actually did act like kids, it was jolting and hard to believe.
Chapati

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By justjan on April 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Mr. Townley starts off with an intriguing sentence: "Some people claim it was enchanted, others swore it was cursed; but, really, it hardly mattered what you thought because you couldn't get to it." And he proceeds to take you on an engaging journey from `There' to `Here' and `Now'. He weaves his tale of rural eccentrics with believable dialogue and effective descriptions so that you always know where you are and how you got there. His writing style allows the story to flow without awkward stops and starts and carries you along, second guessing the next adventure.

This is an ideal story for young adults as it centers on the experiences of 14 year old Daniel, who could not tell a lie, a dreamer that yearned to explore the "forbidden place where no one had ever been", and his scholarly 10 year old brother Wes, and, most necessary, his new enigmatic friend, Emily, that had come to stay with her grandma Bridey Byrdsong, who could read the future in the bubbles of her bath. This trio slowly builds a relationship of trust and confidence that enables them to step through the door in the forest and eventually unravel the secrets that swirl around them, saving the town and themselves from ruin.

This is an ideal story for adult readers because it is realistic, even in its fantasies, and enjoyable in its creative and forthright writing style. While maintaining a lyrical descriptive approach to the surroundings, his prose is economical but well thought out and reads very well indeed.

I would definitely recommend this book to, well, anyone who enjoys a bit of fantasy and mystery, a bit of adventure, the triumph of good over evil, and a look into the secret places.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Chapati VINE VOICE on February 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Door in the Forest, by Roderick Townley, is a young adult fantasy that takes place somewhere in Europe shortly after the first world war. Daniel is a tall, lanky boy in his early teens who physically cannot tell a lie. He lives with his younger brother and his parents in a very small, rural town. But strangers from town are coming through, including a fascinating girl named Emily who barely speaks. She moves in with her grandmother Bridey, a local witch. And then the soldiers come, creating havoc and fermenting unrest.

I've heard a lot about Roderick Townley's book The Great Good Thing, about a character in a fairy tale who decides to take her story into her own hands. I've been wanting to read the author for a long time because he is well-regarded for his young adult fantasy. But this book wasn't quite what I expected.

First of all, it was very dark. The kids don't have much fun at all, and no one has much of a sense of humor. This is often the case in fantasy novels, but with a whimsical title like The Door in the Forest and a character who reads the future in her soap bubbles, one would expect just a little bit of humor.

I also didn't fall in love with any of the characters. Daniel was kind and good and honest, and I liked him, but he was so serious that it was hard to imagine him being just fourteen. The same went for Emily. The two just seemed so weighed down with their cares and worries that it was easy to respect them, but I couldn't warm to them. Emily and Daniel just seemed so much older than they were that when they actually did act like kids, it was jolting and hard to believe.

With characters so weighed down, it's probably no surprise that this book tackles some pretty heavy themes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Karen K. Hart VINE VOICE on March 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If it makes any sense, I'm not sure if the world in The Door in the Forest is supposed to be our own world and we are supposed to assume the magic in the book is/was in our world and we just don't know about it, or if it is supposed to be an alternate world that had similar wars/cultures/etc.
If it WAS supposed to be our world, some little circumstances here and there made me question the plausibility a little (yes, I know that it is a fantasy novel, but there is disbelief you can suspend to enjoy the story and then there is disbelief that can't be ignored). At one point, one of the characters observed that there weren't supposed to be white leopards in this part of the world. Well, if the leopards are SNOW leopards, I'm not sure a person in a culture like that of Everwood would have known about them back in this time period. If I remember correctly, the first photos of snow leopards weren't taken till the 1970s, and before that people thought that snow leopards might just be mythical. Then there was the casual use of the word "guys" by a kid to describe peers. Was that term used so long ago? Since I didn't know for sure, I could just put that question aside and ignore it, but I did wonder.
Anyway, all that aside, taken as a young adult fantasy, The Door in the Forest works pretty well. It may be a little darker than some books of the genre, but it is certainly not as dark as, say, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The Door in the Forest is a quick, exciting read. The characters are engaging; the island is intriguing; there's a lot to think about here. There are also plenty of unanswered questions, should Townley decide to write a sequel or series. Or the reader's mind can create its own sequel.
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