Title // Every Heart a Doorway
Author // Seanan Maguire
Publication Date // April 2016
Publisher // Tor
Genre // Young Adult, Fantasy
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 the matter.
No matter the cost.
Every Heart a Doorway is a poignant and (at times) heartbreaking look at what happens to the children who enter magical worlds and then find themselves back in reality.
There’s a lot to love in Every Heart a Doorway, one of the highlights being, for me, the huge range of diversity included in the book. Just about every character falls into a minority category of some description. Nancy, our entry point into the world, is asexual and her best friend is a trans boy. There are characters who don’t conform to gender norms, characters of colour, characters suffering from various forms of mental illness or disability as the result of traversing strange worlds that are so different to our own.
The school for these characters – the children who’ve returned – is a lovely setting, particularly the added details of how it is marketing to the parents of these children, and how the children themselves are actually treated once they arrive. Eleanor was an amazing headmistress, who has her own story to tell, and one that is slowly revealed.
The murder mystery woven through the story was pretty predictable, but in the face of such wonderful themes of identify and self, it was easy to put that aside and focus on the wonderful strengths of the various characters and the worlds that they came from. I was utterly engrossed in each and every character’s story and couldn’t stop turning the pages.
I gave Every Heart a Doorway 5 out of 5 stars.