- Series: Wayward Children (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 176 pages
- Publisher: Tor.com; First Edition edition (April 5, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765385503
- ISBN-13: 978-0765385505
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.7 x 0.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (304 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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
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Top Customer Reviews
I think my biggest disappointment is that this was so short, a novella, because there's so much promise to this world. The premise is the children who somehow found a way to those 'other worlds', the underworlds, the fairy world, the worlds without logic or light.... Eleanor/Ely West runs a school/boarding house where she takes them in to give them a home, and it starts off with Nancy's arrival. Nancy has returned from an underworld and wants to return more than anything. In part, the school is there to help her accept that she most likely can't.
Not long after Nancy's arrival, one of the other children is murdered, and that sets up the main plot of the book, who is the murderer and why. Being a new arrival and from a 'dark' world, Nancy is considered suspect and so she, along with some of the other children, set out to figure out the reason for the death(s). The plot is suspenseful, something McGuire does well, and there are clues left for the reader so the ending doesn't come out of left field or seem too illogical. My main complaint is the ending of the book does seem a bit rushed, especially Nancy's ending, making me wish that this had been a bit of a longer book. I wish we could know a bit more about some of the children and the worlds, seen a little more about their background... perhaps there will be more in the future books. But what is here is more than enough to get me hooked, I will say, to want the next book. The writing is great and so is the premise, and I enjoyed the characters the author did focus on as some of them were refreshing and not your average takes ( such as Sumi).
Every Heart a Doorway is told with the haunting descriptions and fantastic characterization I expect from this author, but there were so many delightful surprises in a book that is honestly very dark and full of pain. An asexual main protagonist! And it's no big deal! A trans man! And it's no big deal! (Actually a deal is made of it for about half a page, and the person making a deal of it is a total jerk, and it totally crosses the line for everyone else). People exist and it doesn't change the story in any way because it's not about sex nor gender!
So honestly, if you're a Seanan McGuire fan, you already know you'll love this -- it's everything she does in a stand-alone, top-notch read. If you're new, then prepare yourself, because you are going to feel ALL the feels. Murder mystery in a boarding school was never so emotional! Especially with the paranormal elements.
I love the idea that the children who find the doorways -- the ones we've heard of, from The Door In The Hedge to Narnia (which is mocked, hah) to The Door In The Wall (which has stuck with me since I read it as a child) -- to magical lands, lands where they are wanted, where they finally fit in, where they live heroic or tragic lives... and for one reason or another come back to our world. Some voluntarily, others not -- but what the students here all share is that they want to find their doors again. They want to go home. This resonates on such a deep level, because I'm sure we all wanted to find a place of magic and adventure and be whisked away because we felt like we didn't belong.
This book made me cry. The descriptions of the doorways that were there, patiently waiting for their children to return, even after they've died. The sacrifices made in the name of love and family. The pain of waiting, of wishing, of wanting to belong again, of finding yourself returned to a world where you're a square peg in a round hole.
I highly recommend this story if you enjoy books by authors such as Robin McKinley, TJ Kingfisher/Ursula Vernon, or liked Naomi Novik's latest fantasy book. This was an instant comfort read for me, and is sticking around on my Kindle for re-reads in the future.
Every Heart a Doorway isn't a story about those portal worlds, but rather about what happens after, after the portal world becomes your home for years and then spits you back out into reality, where your parents think you've been kidnapped for months or years, and their home can never be your home. You're different now--the portal world has taught you how to be truly you.
These teens are sent to Eleanor's home for wayward children. Everyone in the home has been through a portal world, and everyone wishes to find their door again and return. Nancy is a new student whose portal world was where Death reigned. She's assigned to room with Sumi, a nonsense girl. This could be a new home for Nancy, but when a student dies, and then another, this new home is threatened, unless the students can figure out what's happening.
I loved the concept and the bizarre mental states of all the teens. The characters are oddly dissociative when the murders start happening, but then, that's not altogether surprising considering where they've been, and how they've had to adapt to a new way of being in their portal worlds. I'm definitely reading the next.
Also, such a lovely cover and title!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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