Other worlds love to pull children in – but they don’t always like to keep them. Enter Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, a boarding school for the children who were taken, chewed up, and spit back out. They all think their door will open again, especially Nancy. The Lord of the Dead had told her she needed to be sure – of what, she didn’t know. But tragedy comes right on the heels of her arrival, and she and her new classmates must solve the mystery before it’s too late.
I’ve always loved stories about the people who come back from other worlds unwillingly. Old books never tell you, after all, what happened to Alice when she woke up. Every Heart a Doorway has a fantastic cast of characters from a slew of wondrous worlds, some kinder than others. No matter the world, each child has been brutally ripped from it, and must learn to cope with the world they’re now trapped in while desperately clinging to the hope that their door will open again. They’re all wonderfully strange, fundamentally changed by a world that doesn’t abide by the rules of our own. After all, many of them were away for months or even years and intended to stay for life. This book truly is a tribute to those who never understood why storybook characters were so desperate to leave the worlds they had found.
One criticism I do have is that the book felt far too short. The pacing at the beginning was nice, with an exposition slightly overwhelming that allows readers to sympathize with Nancy’s experiences. However, once the mystery began, it felt a bit like everything happened too fast. I’m glad this book is the first of a series because I’d love to learn more about the characters’ worlds and the system of organization that the school had set up for classifying them. Overall, I found this book fascinating, if a bit short and quick-paced, and I’m eager to continue the series.
Yours in love and literature, Page.
Content warning(s): swearing, discussion of sexual activity, violence, murder, death
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