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Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children) Hardcover – April 5, 2016
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From School Library Journal
This new story from a veteran fantasy author offers writing that's full of imagery and evocative emotions and helps build suspense from the very first sentence. Behind the titular doorway lie alternate worlds, some magical, some dangerous, and some both. The children, mostly girls, who go through the doors become irrevocably changed, many of them becoming mature beyond their actual years. When they return to the real world, their families and friends no longer understand them. And some, like Nancy, want desperately to return to their alternate world, where they felt welcomed and loved. Eleanor West was once a young traveler to those worlds, and now she runs a home for these wayward children, helping them adjust to reality. Just as Nancy begins to make a place for herself, a puzzling and gruesome series of murders threaten the students and the home's very existence. The characters are well drawn, and their feelings about their impossible situation are believable. The alienation they experience and their struggles to find a way back will appeal to teens. When the murderer is revealed, the motivation will be understood by characters and readers alike. VERDICT Though short (this tale is more novella than novel), this clever inside out fantasy will intrigue fantasy fans and those who loved Ransom Riggs's Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.—Gretchen Crowley, Alexandria City Public Libraries, VA
"A jewel of a book that deserves to be shelved with Lewis Carroll's and C. S. Lewis' classics, even as it carves its own precocious space between them." ―NPR
"This is a gorgeous story: sometimes mean, sometimes angry, and always exciting" ―Cory Doctorow for BoingBoing
"McGuire's lyrical prose makes this novella a rich experience." ―Library Journal starred review
"This amazing fantasy pierces the shimmering veil of childhood imagination by reminding adult readers that their own doorways still exist deep in the champers of their all-too-human hearts." ―Booklist starred review
"This gothic charmer is a love letter to anyone who's ever felt out of place." ― Publishers Weekly
"This gothic novel is ideal for fantasy fans who have longed for a world of their own, as well as readers looking for books with diverse casts." ―Bookish
“Girl Interrupted meets Grimm's Fairy Tales. Let it in and it will touch your heart and open your mind.” ―Geek Syndicate
"The broken doors are open, and you should come and enter. Every Heart a Doorway feels like home." ―B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog
Top customer reviews
This the first of a new series. I can't wait to read the next - which really tears me in two, because I also eagerly await the next Incryptid book.
An asexual main character
A transgender teen heartthrob
A school matron that strictly enforces respect for neurodiversity and personal identity.
Large quantities of acid.
To some extent this also speaks to all of us who dreamed of other worlds -- we who checked the depths of wardrobes or the other side of mirrors, who clicked our heels three times just in case -- and never found our doors.
Beautifully written, and it could have gone on ten times as long as it did; I found myself surprised first by the actual plot (since I could easily read so many stories about this school and the children in it) and second by how short it felt once I reached the ending.
As a bonus, two main characters are transgender and asexual (one of each, not both of both), which is a delight, especially since they are people first and foremost, rather than Token Sexual Minority.
It had an intriguing set up, an original world, and interesting style. About half way through it took a right turn half way through and turned into a murder 'mystery' for no good reason, ended with a bit of a deus ex machina. It's like the author had this glorious world, and couldn't think of what adventure to have in it.
But that' isn't what stayed with me about the book. It's the characters, they feel like people, the vignettes of fantasy worlds glimpsed through doorways, remembered lovingly by those desperate to make their way back, that is what I liked about the book.
TLDR: I loved the world and the characters, could have done without the murder as plot device.
The only major problem I had with this book is that it was to short :) I really enjoyed it as its a unique tale that grabs the reader quickly. It could have for sure been even better if there was more to the story as the climax comes extremely quick. As a reader I like it when the main characters have to struggle a little more to find their resolution.
Hopefully there are more 'Wayward Children' stories as I would for sure be interested in reading more about them.