Winner: 2017 Hugo Award
Winner: 2017 Alex Award
Winner: 2017 Locus Award
Winner: 2016 Nebula Award
Nominated: 2017 World Fantasy Award
Nominated: 2017 British Fantasy Award
2016 Tiptree Honor List
"A mini-masterpiece of portal fantasy a jewel of a book that deserves to be shelved with Lewis Carroll's and C. S. Lewis' classics" NPR
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 things.
No matter the cost.
The Wayward Children Series
Book 1: Every Heart a Doorway
Book 2: Down Among the Sticks and Bones
Book 3: Beneath the Sugar Sky
Book 4: In an Absent Dream
PRAISE FOR EVERY HEART A DOORWAY
"Seanan McGuire has long been one of the smartest writers around, and with this novella we can easily see that her heart is as big as her brain. We know this story isn't true, but it is truth." Charlaine Harris, New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series (TV's True Blood)
"Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire is one of the most extraordinary stories I've ever read." V. E. Schwab, New York Times bestselling author of A Gathering of Shadows
"Seanan McGuire once again demonstrates her intimate knowledge of the human heart in a powerful fable of loss, yearning and damaged children." Paul Cornell, author of London Falling and Witches of Lychford
"So mindblowingly good, it hurts." io9
"With Every Heart a Doorway, McGuire has created her own mini-masterpiece of portal fantasy 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
About the Author
Seanan McGuire is the author of the October Daye urban fantasy series, the InCryptid series, and several other works, both standalone and in trilogies. She also writes darker fiction as Mira Grant.
Seanan lives in a creaky old farmhouse in Northern California, which she shares with her cats, a vast collection of creepy dolls, and horror movies, and sufficient books to qualify her as a fire hazard.
She was the winner of the 2010 John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and in 2013 she became the first person ever to appear five times on the same Hugo ballot.
Read an Excerpt
Every Heart a Doorway
By Seanan McGuire
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 2016 Seanan McGuire
All rights reserved.
COMING HOME, LEAVING HOME
THE HABIT OF NARRATION, of crafting something miraculous out of the commonplace, was hard to break. Narration came naturally after a time spent in the company of talking scarecrows or disappearing cats; it was, in its own way, a method of keeping oneself grounded, connected to the thin thread of continuity that ran through all lives, no matter how strange they might become. Narrate the impossible things, turn them into a story, and they could be controlled. So:
The manor sat in the center of what would have been considered a field, had it not been used to frame a private home. The grass was perfectly green, the trees clustered around the structure perfectly pruned, and the garden grew in a profusion of colors that normally existed together only in a rainbow, or in a child's toy box. The thin black ribbon of the driveway curved from the distant gate to form a loop in front of the manor itself, feeding elegantly into a slightly wider waiting area at the base of the porch. A single car pulled up, tawdry yellow and seeming somehow shabby against the carefully curated scene. The rear passenger door slammed, and the car pulled away again, leaving a teenage girl behind.
She was tall and willowy and couldn't have been more than seventeen; there was still something of the unformed around her eyes and mouth, leaving her a work in progress, meant to be finished by time. She wore black — black jeans, black ankle boots with tiny black buttons marching like soldiers from toe to calf — and she wore white — a loose tank top, the faux pearl bands around her wrists — and she had a ribbon the color of pomegranate seeds tied around the base of her ponytail. Her hair was bone-white streaked with runnels of black, like oil spilled on a marble floor, and her eyes were pale as ice. She squinted in the daylight. From the look of her, it had been quite some time since she had seen the sun. Her small wheeled suitcase was bright pink, covered with cartoon daisies. She had not, in all likelihood, purchased it herself.
Raising her hand to shield her eyes, the girl looked toward the manor, pausing when she saw the sign that hung from the porch eaves. ELEANOR WEST'S HOME FOR WAYWARD CHILDREN it read, in large letters. Below, in smaller letters, it continued NO SOLICITATION, NO VISITORS, NO QUESTS.
The girl blinked. The girl lowered her hand. And slowly, the girl made her way toward the steps.
On the third floor of the manor, Eleanor West let go of the curtain and turned toward the door while the fabric was still fluttering back into its original position. She appeared to be a well-preserved woman in her late sixties, although her true age was closer to a hundred: travel through the lands she had once frequented had a tendency to scramble the internal clock, making it difficult for time to get a proper grip upon the body. Some days she was grateful for her longevity, which had allowed her to help so many more children than she would ever have lived to see if she hadn't opened the doors she had, if she had never chosen to stray from her proper path. Other days, she wondered whether this world would ever discover that she existed — that she was little Ely West the Wayward Girl, somehow alive after all these years — and what would happen to her when that happened.
Still, for the time being, her back was strong and her eyes were as clear as they had been on the day when, as a girl of seven, she had seen the opening between the roots of a tree on her father's estate. If her hair was white now, and her skin was soft with wrinkles and memories, well, that was no matter at all. There was still something unfinished around her eyes; she wasn't done yet. She was a story, not an epilogue. And if she chose to narrate her own life one word at a time as she descended the stairs to meet her newest arrival, that wasn't hurting anyone. Narration was a hard habit to break, after all.
Sometimes it was all a body had.
* * *
NANCY STOOD FROZEN in the center of the foyer, her hand locked on the handle of her suitcase as she looked around, trying to find her bearings. She wasn't sure what she'd been expecting from the "special school" her parents were sending her to, but it certainly hadn't been this ... this elegant country home. The walls were papered in an old-fashioned floral print of roses and twining clematis vines, and the furnishings — such as they were in this intentionally under-furnished entryway — were all antiques, good, well-polished wood with brass fittings that matched the curving sweep of the banister. The floor was cherrywood, and when she glanced upward, trying to move her eyes without lifting her chin, she found herself looking at an elaborate chandelier shaped like a blooming flower.
"That was made by one of our alumni, actually," said a voice. Nancy wrenched her gaze from the chandelier and turned it toward the stairs.
The woman who was descending was thin, as elderly women sometimes were, but her back was straight, and the hand resting on the banister seemed to be using it only as a guide, not as any form of support. Her hair was as white as Nancy's own, without the streaks of defiant black, and styled in a puffbull of a perm, like a dandelion that had gone to seed. She would have looked perfectly respectable, if not for her electric orange trousers, paired with a hand-knit sweater knit of rainbow wool and a necklace of semiprecious stones in a dozen colors, all of them clashing. Nancy felt her eyes widen despite her best efforts, and hated herself for it. She was losing hold of her stillness one day at a time. Soon, she would be as jittery and unstable as any of the living, and then she would never find her way back home.
"It's virtually all glass, of course, except for the bits that aren't," continued the woman, seemingly untroubled by Nancy's blatant staring. "I'm not at all sure how you make that sort of thing. Probably by melting sand, I assume. I contributed those large teardrop-shaped prisms at the center, however. All twelve of them were of my making. I'm rather proud of that." The woman paused, apparently expecting Nancy to say something.
Nancy swallowed. Her throat was so dry these days, and nothing seemed to chase the dust away. "If you don't know how to make glass, how did you make the prisms?" she asked.
The woman smiled. "Out of my tears, of course. Always assume the simplest answer is the true one, here, because most of the time, it will be. I'm Eleanor West. Welcome to my home. You must be Nancy."
"Yes," Nancy said slowly. "How did you ...?"
"Well, you're the only student we were expecting to receive today. There aren't as many of you as there once were. Either the doors are getting rarer, or you're all getting better about not coming back. Now, be quiet a moment, and let me look at you." Eleanor descended the last three steps and stopped in front of Nancy, studying her intently for a moment before she walked a slow circle around her. "Hmm. Tall, thin, and very pale. You must have been someplace with no sun — but no vampires either, I think, given the skin on your neck. Jack and Jill will be awfully pleased to meet you. They get tired of all the sunlight and sweetness people bring through here."
"Vampires?" said Nancy blankly. "Those aren't real."
"None of this is real, my dear. Not this house, not this conversation, not those shoes you're wearing — which are several years out of style if you're trying to reacclimatize yourself to the ways of your peers, and are not proper mourning shoes if you're trying to hold fast to your recent past — and not either one of us. 'Real' is a four-letter word, and I'll thank you to use it as little as possible while you live under my roof." Eleanor stopped in front of Nancy again. "It's the hair that betrays you. Were you in an Underworld or a Netherworld? You can't have been in an Afterlife. No one comes back from those."
Nancy gaped at her, mouth moving silently as she tried to find her voice. The old woman said those things — those cruelly impossible things — so casually, like she was asking after nothing more important than Nancy's vaccination records.
Eleanor's expression transformed, turning soft and apologetic. "Oh, I see I've upset you. I'm afraid I have a tendency to do that. I went to a Nonsense world, you see, six times before I turned sixteen, and while I eventually had to stop crossing over, I never quite learned to rein my tongue back in. You must be tired from your journey, and curious about what's to happen here. Is that so? I can show you to your room as soon as I know where you fall on the compass. I'm afraid that really does matter for things like housing; you can't put a Nonsense traveler in with someone who went walking through Logic, not unless you feel like explaining a remarkable amount of violence to the local police. They do check up on us here, even if we can usually get them to look the other way. It's all part of our remaining accredited as a school, although I suppose we're more of a sanitarium, of sorts. I do like that word, don't you? 'Sanitarium.' It sounds so official, while meaning absolutely nothing at all."
"I don't understand anything you're saying right now," said Nancy. She was ashamed to hear her voice come out in a tinny squeak, even as she was proud of herself for finding it at all.
Eleanor's face softened further. "You don't have to pretend anymore, Nancy. I know what you've been going through — where you've been. I went through something a long time ago, when I came back from my own voyages. This isn't a place for lies or pretending everything is all right. We know everything is not all right. If it were, you wouldn't be here. Now. Where did you go?"
"I don't ..."
"Forget about words like 'Nonsense' and 'Logic.' We can work out those details later. Just answer. Where did you go?"
"I went to the Halls of the Dead." Saying the words aloud was an almost painful relief. Nancy froze again, staring into space as if she could see her voice hanging there, shining garnet-dark and perfect in the air. Then she swallowed, still not chasing away the dryness, and said, "It was ... I was looking for a bucket in the cellar of our house, and I found this door I'd never seen before. When I went through, I was in a grove of pomegranate trees. I thought I'd fallen and hit my head. I kept going because ... because ..."
Because the air had smelled so sweet, and the sky had been black velvet, spangled with points of diamond light that didn't flicker at all, only burned constant and cold. Because the grass had been wet with dew, and the trees had been heavy with fruit. Because she had wanted to know what was at the end of the long path between the trees, and because she hadn't wanted to turn back before she understood everything. Because for the first time in forever, she'd felt like she was going home, and that feeling had been enough to move her feet, slowly at first, and then faster, and faster, until she had been running through the clean night air, and nothing else had mattered, or would ever matter again —
"How long were you gone?"
The question was meaningless. Nancy shook her head. "Forever. Years ... I was there for years. I didn't want to come back. Ever."
"I know, dear." Eleanor's hand was gentle on Nancy's elbow, guiding her toward the door behind the stairs. The old woman's perfume smelled of dandelions and gingersnaps, a combination as nonsensical as everything else about her. "Come with me. I have the perfect room for you."
* * *
ELEANOR'S "PERFECT ROOM" was on the first floor, in the shadow of a great old elm that blocked almost all the light that would otherwise have come in through the single window. It was eternal twilight in that room, and Nancy felt the weight drop from her shoulders as she stepped inside and looked around. One half of the room — the half with the window — was a jumble of clothing, books, and knickknacks. A fiddle was tossed carelessly on the bed, and the associated bow was balanced on the edge of the bookshelf, ready to fall at the slightest provocation. The air smelled of mint and mud.
The other half of the room was as neutral as a hotel. There was a bed, a small dresser, a bookshelf, and a desk, all in pale, unvarnished wood. The walls were blank. Nancy looked to Eleanor long enough to receive the nod of approval before walking over and placing her suitcase primly in the middle of what would be her bed.
"Thank you," she said. "I'm sure this will be fine."
"I admit, I'm not as confident," said Eleanor, frowning at Nancy's suitcase. It had been placed so precisely.... "Anyplace called 'the Halls of the Dead' is going to have been an Underworld, and most of those fall more under the banner of Nonsense than Logic. It seems like yours may have been more regimented. Well, no matter. We can always move you if you and Sumi prove ill-suited. Who knows? You might provide her with some of the grounding she currently lacks. And if you can't do that, well, hopefully you won't actually kill one another."
"Your roommate." Eleanor picked her way through the mess on the floor until she reached the window. Pushing it open, she leaned out and scanned the branches of the elm tree until she found what she was looking for. "One and two and three, I see you, Sumi. Come inside and meet your roommate."
"Roommate?" The voice was female, young, and annoyed.
"I warned you," said Eleanor as she pulled her head back inside and returned to the center of the room. She moved with remarkable assurance, especially given how cluttered the floor was; Nancy kept expecting her to fall, and somehow, she didn't. "I told you a new student was arriving this week, and that if it was a girl from a compatible background, she would be taking the spare bed. Do you remember any of this?"
"I thought you were just talking to hear yourself talk. You do that. Everyone does that." A head appeared in the window, upside down, its owner apparently hanging from the elm tree. She looked to be about Nancy's age, of Japanese descent, with long black hair tied into two childish pigtails, one above each ear. She looked at Nancy with unconcealed suspicion before asking, "Are you a servant of the Queen of Cakes, here to punish me for my transgressions against the Countess of Candy Floss? Because I don't feel like going to war right now."
"No," said Nancy blankly. "I'm Nancy."
"That's a boring name. How can you be here with such a boring name?" Sumi flipped around and dropped out of the tree, vanishing for a moment before she popped back up, leaned on the windowsill, and asked, "Eleanor-Ely, are you sure? I mean, sure-sure? She doesn't look like she's supposed to be here at all. Maybe when you looked at her records, you saw what wasn't there again and really she's supposed to be in a school for juvenile victims of bad dye jobs."
"I don't dye my hair!" Nancy's protest was heated. Sumi stopped talking and blinked at her. Eleanor turned to look at her. Nancy's cheeks grew hot as the blood rose in her face, but she stood her ground, somehow keeping herself from reaching up to stroke her hair as she said, "It used to be all black, like my mother's. When I danced with the Lord of the Dead for the first time, he said it was beautiful, and he ran his fingers through it. All the hair turned white around them, out of jealousy. That's why I only have five black streaks left. Those are the parts he touched."
Looking at her with a critical eye, Eleanor could see how those five streaks formed the phantom outline of a hand, a place where the pale young woman in front of her had been touched once and never more. "I see," she said.
"I don't dye it," said Nancy, still heated. "I would never dye it. That would be disrespectful."
Sumi was still blinking, eyes wide and round. Then she grinned. "Oh, I like you," she said. "You're the craziest card in the deck, aren't you?"
"We don't use that word here," snapped Eleanor.
"But it's true," said Sumi. "She thinks she's going back. Don't you, Nancy? You think you're going to open the right-wrong door and see your stairway to Heaven on the other side, and then it's one step, two step, how d'you do step, and you're right back in your story. Crazy girl. Stupid girl. You can't go back. Once they throw you out, you can't go back."
Nancy felt as if her heart were trying to scramble up her throat and choke her. She swallowed it back down, and said, in a whisper, "You're wrong."
Sumi's eyes were bright. "Am I?"
Eleanor clapped her hands, pulling their attention back to her. "Nancy, why don't you unpack and get settled? Dinner is at six thirty, and group therapy will follow at eight. Sumi, please don't inspire her to murder you before she's been here for a full day."
"We all have our own ways of trying to go home," said Sumi, and disappeared from the window's frame, heading off to whatever she'd been doing before Eleanor disturbed her. Eleanor shot Nancy a quick, apologetic look, and then she too was gone, shutting the door behind herself. Nancy was, quite abruptly, alone.
Excerpted from Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire. Copyright © 2016 Seanan McGuire. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Part I: The Golden Afternoons,
There Was a Little Girl,
1. Coming Home, Leaving Home,
2. Beautiful Boys and Glamorous Girls,
3. Birds of a Feather,
Part II: With Your Looking-Glass Eyes,
4. Lightning to Kiss the Sky,
5. Survivors, for a Time,
6. The Bodies We Have Buried,
8. Her Skeleton, in Rainbows Clad,
9. The Broken Birds of Avalon,
10. Be Still as Stone, and You May Live,
11. You Can Never Go Home,
And They All Lived,
About the Author,
Also by Seanan McGuire,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This has been on my to read list for quite some time due to rave reviews, so when it finally went on sale I jumped at the opportunity to read it. Several things to note: This is a very short story. The timespan of the storyline is just a few days, so not only does everything seem rushed but you have zero emotional attachment to the characters. There are a lot of characters and just not enough time to do them justice. The short timing also makes the whole second half of the book almost laughable. (So much death). Its a fair split between fantasy and mystery, however, the twists (if you can even call them that) were predictable. If you want to waste away two hours on a quick trip to a home for wayward children then maybe the few well written lines thrown in will distract from the fact that this is such a disappointment.
This little book packs amazing writing, plot,and concepts into 173 pages, and one of the best stories I've read in the last few years.
I can't recommend this book enough. It's everything that I never knew I needed and absolutely perfect.
Highly recommend for fans of Miss Peregrine and A Series of Unfortunate Events. This was so close to a 5 star read, but that ending just felt rushed and Scooby-Dooish to me. Plus, after having read the other books in the series, I would say that this is the weakest one for me. So 4.75 stars. This is the kind of book that I've always wanted to read -- it's a darker, more adult version of Miss Peregrine and Series of Unfortunate Events. I love the diversity and representation in this story -- with transgender and asexual representation being the dominant ones. I loved all these characters and their relationships and I can't wait to read more from them. Seanan McGuire's writing is also just so, so good. I highlighted a whole bunch of quotes that I just loved and I found myself having to slow down and really take in her prose because every paragraph is just packed with information. Like, I said above, my only critique is the ending and the rushed, easy resolve to the mystery. I wasn't a fan. But other than that, I highly recommend this book and this series. I loved it and it's my newest favorite. TW: anorexia, abandonment, language, sexual dialogue, murder, gore, violence
The idea of this book is better than the writing. But I was intrigued, I read it through and I will probably read any following books.
Nancy once found a doorway to a different world. She entered and loved where she ended up. However, her time there wasn't unlimited and she's back. Staying with her parents proves to be difficult after all the time she was elsewhere, so she ends up at Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children, a home that's filled with children like Nacy. They've all found ways into some kind of magical world and most of them long to be there again. Something isn't right in the home, the peaceful existence they've managed to achieve has suddenly come to an end. Someone is committing horrible crimes and the staff and the children who are staying in the home are at risk. Nancy and her friends need to discover who's behind the gruesome attacks, so they can keep themselves and others safe. Will they be able to find answers before it's too late and this person strikes again? Every Heart a Doorway is a fantastic story. I was immediately intrigued by the worlds Seanan McGuire describes. She divides them into Nonsense and Logic worlds, which is a brilliant idea. I loved the mystery behind the crimes in the home, the various magical lands and the memories the children have of them. Nancy is a strong and clever girl and I liked her from the beginning. She can stand up for herself, she's a good friend and she knows what she does and doesn't like. This makes her an amazing main character and I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to see what would happen to her. Seanan McGuire's vivid writing style always manages to pull me into her stories straight away. Every Heart a Doorway is spellbinding and original. It's an impressive and incredibly well written book. I love how creative Seanan McGuire's plots are, how skilled she is at world building and how thoroughly she makes every scene come to life. Every Heart a Doorway is a very special story filled with suspense, magic and power. I highly recommend this beautiful book.
If you've ever wondered what happened after Alice left wonderland, read this novella. It's short, yes. But it's well written and a spin on a trope I've loved my entire life. Definitely worth it.
Such a beautiful read! As a novella, you can get through it in 2-3 hours, but it packs the punch and has the world and character depth of a full-length novel. It tackles belonging, family of choice vs blood, gender issues, and the danger of longing for something you may not be able to get back. It is truly a stunning read.
Interesting concept - not very fleshed out.
McGuire does it again; breaks your heart and puts it back together all within a few pages
Realistically I'd give this book a 4.5 out of 5. I thought it was such a unique concept and the writing was very magical. Don't let the size of the book deceive you because I feel it's very dense. Not that it's hard to read. There's just so much information packed into it. I feel like you need to read the book to get a proper feel for the synopsis. Basically, it's about children or teenagers that find these doorways in their every day lives and they go through them and get cast into these other worlds that are much different from our own. If these children happen to get tossed back out of these worlds they go to special schools to learn how to adapt after they leave those other worlds. There's different schools depending on whether or not you had a good experience in those other worlds. This story had such a cool concept and had a very unique, fairy tale-esque writing style. That being said, this book is definitely not for children. I felt like there was so much detail but not overwhelming. I could imagine every part of the book without feeling exhausted from reading it. I can't wait to pick up the next one.
Every Heart a Doorway was a little confusing at the start, but once I got into the story, I was pleasantly surprised. Nancy ends up at a very unique boarding school after returning from a world that isn’t the one we know. All of the children at Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children have stumbling into other worlds – some ruled by logic, some fueled by nonsense. It’s rather like Alice in Wonderland only imagine there are hundreds of Wonderlands, each unique as the child who visited it. Nancy makes a handful of friends, but most of the students are weary of her since bad things begin happening to some of the students at the school soon after Nancy arrives. Nancy and her friends are determined to solve the mystery and catch the murderer. This book combines fantasy, a genre I don’t read very often, with mystery/suspense, something I’ve been reading more of lately. I picked this book up because I read that the main character is asexual, which intrigued me. It’s a very short book (only 173 pages), but it still had a decent plot. I loved the characters, and I’m excited for the next book in the series, which comes out in June. http://opinionatedbooklover.com/review-every-heart-a-doorway-by-seanan-mcguire/
I absolutely loved this book and how different it is. I loved the characters, however, I can not speak upon the diverse representation. There is something really important that I got from reading this book, and that is while we are all different, our differences need to be respected and accepted. The characters in this book are all different and come from different backgrounds, but they all respected and accepted the differences of each other. Another important thing that I got from this book, I got from the following passage: "For us, the places we went were home. We didn't care if they were good or evil or neutral or what. We cared about the fact that for the first time, we didn't have to pretend to be something we weren't. We just got to be. That made all the difference in the world." I feel like this is something that everyone wants, to be able to just be without so much judgment. This book was fast paced and I loved all the different adventures I felt like I was going on reading about the adventures of the characters. I definitely can't wait to read the second book!
A very enjoyable novella. You can get this book from the library without paying what b&n is asking for.
Seanan McGuire's novels transport the reader into mythic worlds both beautiful and terrifying. She captures what is just out of view and draws it into the light. Every Heart a Doorway considers what becomes of those children who step into alien worlds, experience grand adventures, and return home forever changed to a world that no longer fits. Their parents cannot understand. Their perception of reality is too rigid to allow other worlds. Nor can they understand their children's longing to return to a magical world that no longer wants them. After living an adventure, seeing sights that amaze, wouldn't you too want to return, even if the cost is dear? Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children is a place for these children to learn how to live if they cannot find a way back. After her own adventure, Nancy is sent to Eleanor West's home. Here she discovers she is not only believed but that there are others, who have been to different places and had different experiences, worlds of nonsense or logic, of virtue or wickedness, and even more bizarre places almost beyond imagining. Yet trouble is brewing, and murder follows. Whether you should read Every Heart a Doorway, my answer is a paraphrase of a segment of Every Heart a Doorway - the question wasn't whether or not it could be done, but should it be done - and the answer is always yes. A good fantasy entertains, a truly great fantasy lingers in the mind long after the final chapter has been read. Every Heart a Doorway is truly an amazing novel. 5/5 I received a copy of Every Heart a Doorway from the publisher and netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. --Crittermom
Set in Evelyn West's School for Wayward Children, the children in question are not your typical troublemakers - they are the children who found the doors to other worlds, go walkabout in them, and then come back and must learn to deal with all that entails. Nancy, a recently enrolled student, is having a tough time adjusting to the world of her birth. No longer truly "home" for her, she - and all the rest of the students - longs to find the door back to that other world. Bewildered at first, she does make some friendly acquaintances who try to help her acclimate to the school. But then the murders start, and she's a suspect. It's a race to find the culprit before the outside world learns of the problem. I read this in less than a day, and it speaks to everyone who ever looked for one of those special doors to anywhere else. It's also for all those who feel different from everyone around them (Nancy is asexual, Kade is transgender, and there's more than one neuro-atypical person) and longs to be understood. It's a fantastic read, and I hope this is but the first foray into this world.
4.5 Stars Yes, yes, yes! Every Heart a Doorway is a powerhouse of a book, stuck into a novella. It had everything I look for in a story; interesting characters, diversity, a surprisingly compelling storyline and all the feels. The premise is very interesting, children who have tumbled into different lands and come back changed. Nancy traveled to the Land of the Dead and wants nothing more than to return to her Lord. Her parents do not know what to do with her so they bring her to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. There, Nancy realizes that she is not alone, all of the children there have traveled to their own unique world and all miss them. Her roommate longs to return to her candy corn farmer love, the twins in the basement to their vampire master, and the others to their specific doorways. Each person has had the chance to be in their perfect place and no longer know how to fully function in the world they are now stuck in. Add in a bit of murder and the story is complete. The plot of Every Heart a Doorway is super unique. It blends fantasy, gothic and teen angst in such a different way that somehow works perfectly together. The writing of Seanan McGuire is great. She was able to spin such depth and range into only 174 pages, I was left wanting much more. The pacing was spot on, rapid and never stopping, it packed everything needed in. The world created was a bit confusing at first. The story dropped you right in and because of that I had to figure out the multiple dimensions on the fly. But, really that is the only slightly negative thing I can say about Every Heart a Doorway (other than that I need more, it was too short). Oh, the emotions; I felt, I cried, I hoped and sometimes all three within the same chapter. The characters were where the story shone, full of diversity, heart and angst, I loved them all. When one story can meld an asexual main character, a bestie with gender dysphoria, beautiful high gothic imagery and all the feels, I want to run up to people and shout “READ THIS BOOK”. So this is my virtual shout, Every Heart a Doorway is a special read and I suggest you experience it. I have not head of Seanan McGuire before this, but now must go stalk her a bit and find out what else she has written. I really hope she returns to this world at some point, as I did not get nearly enough. I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
As soon as I saw this book, I knew that I just had to read it. I really don't know why I was so eager to read this book. I have actually never read anything by Seanan McGuire so there isn't a lot of logic in my need to read this book. I think that the cover pulled me in but the description sealed the deal. I actually pre-ordered this book which I only do once or twice a year. I was really afraid when I finally had the book that my expectations were so high that I was in the perfect position to be let down. I am happy to report that I ended up liking this book a lot. This is a short book. Amazon lists the hardcover length at only 173 pages. Don't let the size of the book fool you because this is a big story. I was immediately pulled in by the characters. I love stories with interesting characters and this book was filled with them. There isn't a single average character in the story and I think that every one of them added something to the story. The premise of the book was amazing. It was just such an originally presented concept that I couldn't help but be captivated by it. The book takes place at a school for children who have spent time in other realms. They aren't traumatized by their experiences as one would expect. They are only traumatized by the fact that they can't get back. Every student at the school wants to go back to the magical worlds that they have spent time in. Every one of these worlds are unique and different and have a huge impact on who the student the become. When strange things start happening at the school, they must also start to deal with fearing for their safety. I really liked the mystery aspect of the story. I really had no idea what was going on but loved watching the group of kids work to make things right. I thought everything was just creepy enough to make this a very compelling read. This was a book that I didn't want to put down at all because the pacing was terrific. I thought the the overall writing was beautifully done. I would recommend this book to fans of books that are just a little bit different and out of the ordinary. This is a book that I am sure that I will pick up again in the future. I am incredibly excited to learn that this book is the beginning of a new series. I will definitely be continuing with the series. This is the first book by Seanan McGuire but I will be checking out some of her other works soon since I really enjoyed her writing style.
First, I want to say that I love Seanan McGuire's October Daye series & her Incryptid series. This book cost $9.99 & had no free sample - that should have been a clue. For $9.99 you get a 114 page novella. The story's world is complex for such a short work, the main character is unlikable. I'm sure there are readers who like weird stories with odd characters and uncomfortable endings. Me, I'm waiting for the next October Daye book.
No novella should cost $9.99. I am an all time fan of S Mcquire and drool over her Incryptid character novels. Although I'm not into young adult schemed stories I will read them if written well with a solid beefy story line. I have never rated a book without reading it but in this case since I refused to pay the bucks and have spent beaucoup dollars on this authors books I decided to step outside the norm on this one. I wish Ms Mcquire many many more excellent writings but have decided to remain firm on this decision. I'm sure my disappointing remark wont affect the outcome of her success and have no intention of doing so. Thx for all your terrific books that kept me up many a night when I couldn't put the darn newly released ones down. You remain high on my list of great authors.
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