Every Heart a Doorway has gotten quite some attention in my bookish circle, or at least it feels that way. This book had been on my want-to-read for a while now and seeing everyone gushing about it had made me want to read it even more. When we had a pride event last month in the Facebookgroup TBR and Beyond I figured that was the perfect opportunity to finally pick up Every Heart a Doorway. And so I did! Did the book live up to my expectations? Read on to find out!
Every Heart A Doorway – Seanan McGuire
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.
This cover is what drew me to the book in the first place. That door standing in the middle of the woods, seemingly going nowhere fits perfectly with the story and intrigues me right away. I love the sunlight coming from behind the door, it somehow sets the atmosphere for the book. This is simply a stunning cover in my opinion.
Every Heart a Doorway is only 169 pages, seems pretty short for a well developed story, characters and world right? Somehow we’re all wrong about that! This book is about a school for kids that fell through the cracks of the world, visited another world and unfortunately came back. They all felt like the world visited is their actual home, the place they belong and they want nothing more than to go back to that place. Everyone is this book went to another world and it seemed to be the place they needed to be themselves, because they couldn’t be themselves in our world.
“For us, 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.”
While this concept is amazing it felt a bit thin to be the actual plot. Luckily the author also wrote us a mystery going on at the school. I personally didn’t see the mystery coming, probably should’ve read the synopsis again before starting the book, but that made it such a nice surprise! This plot gave the story a little extra but it did feel like more of a backdrop for what the story was really about. And in my opinion that were the characters and the whole concept of the book. There are so many quotes in this tiny book that I would love to share with you. I really liked the writing style that resulted in so many great quotes but I do think that while that style worked for this book I don’t think it would work for other stories and books. Especially if those books are double the page count. But as I said, it worked perfectly for this book that was filled with friendship, acceptance, trauma, and healing from said trauma.
I loved the characters in this book! There were quite a lot of important ones in a story this short and they were all well developed. What I loved most was how diverse the characters were, there was diversity in gender identity, sexual orientation, race, and some mental issues.
Eleanor West is the guardian of the school, she went through a door herself but came back is now counting the days until she can finally go back to her world. She set up this school for kids like her and she clearly cares a lot about them. At the same time she isn’t like any other ‘principal’ and deals with things her way. I loved how excepting she was and how she tried to teach that to all the kids.
Nancy is new at the school and is our protagonist. She learns more about traveling to other worlds and that gives us a nice introduction to it all as well. Nancy is asexual and while I’m not it read like great representation. I enjoyed reading those parts a lot and actually felt like a learned a thing or two as well.
“We notice the silence of men. We depend upon the silence of women.”
Sumi was so nonsensical and highly enjoyable to read about! I can’t really seem to capture my thoughts about her, and that actually does somehow describe her. Kade was a such a cutie, he’s a trans boy and the tailor of the school. He provides everyone with clothes that fit better with the world they came from. I loved reading about him and would love to read more about him. These 169 pages were not nearly enough.
“Just because I wouldn’t go back if you paid me, that doesn’t mean I want to forget a second of what happened to me. I wouldn’t be who I am if I hadn’t gone to Prism.”
Jack and Jill are twins that went to some kind of Frankenstein-town with a vampire as Master. They were both very different and while I didn’t really care for Jill, I absolutely loved Jack. She was my favorite character by far. I was very happy to find out that book 2, Down Among the Sticks and Bones is about Jack and Jill and their time in their world.
“I think the rules where different there. It was all about science, but the science was magical. It didn’t care about whether something could be done. It was about whether it should be done, and the answer was always, always yes.”
The last character that really deserves being mentioned is Christopher, he was so adorable! Another person I would like to read more about, especially about this world. I imagined it a bit as the Halloween town from the movie, although thinking about it it might’ve been more like The Corpse Bride. Any way, loved reading about it and about him.
“You’re nobody’s rainbow.
You’re nobody’s princess.
You’re nobody’s doorway but your own, and the only one who gets to tell you how your story ends is you.”
I would highly recommend this small book that really does contain so many worlds. The characters are to die for and the writing is amazing. There are so many great messages woven into the story and I hope that everyone gets to read and enjoy this book.