Review: Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire


I was just browsing through book haul videos a couple of days ago and stumbled upon Katytastic’s Birthday Book Haul. This is one of the ways I find out about books that I might want to pick up. Halfway through the video I see Kat talk about Every Heart a Doorway and how everyone was raving about it last year. I was surprised on two fronts – 1) I had never heard of it and 2) The author, Seanan McGuire seemed familiar. I instantly went on Goodreads to check what else she had written and then it hit me. She had another pen name – Mira Grant, writer of the Newsflesh trilogy. That was an awesome series and now I had to pick this book up.

Every Heart A Doorway is a book about lost children. And when they come back to their families they are changed. You would think it’s obvious, most of these children are probably runaways who’ve come back home or those that have been released or escaped from their captors. To their parents they are not the same child that went missing. So what do they do? They put them in a special school that specializes in children like them. Little do they know who this school really caters to.

Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children is just what it says. It’s a school for children who have lost their way. Just not the way it is sold to the parents. The children at this school didn’t get kidnapped or get lost, they went through doors in basements, trees etc to a different world altogether. To worlds where they feel safe and happy. A place where they belong. For one reason or another all of these children have been kicked out of these world back to this one. All of them are  trying to get back, to find their doors again. Eleanor West knows what these children are going through, she’s one of them. She started this school because she too went through a door once. She knows most of the children will probably not find their doors again. The school tries to teach the children how to move on with their lives, knowing they will be unable to go back to their worlds.

This story has a variety of characters. I never thought I would come to like so many characters even though the story is so short. This book is less than 200 pages long and it is just jam packed with atmosphere and relatable characters. This book gave a different spin to the children/people we see who feel they do not fit in to this world and some create worlds to escape to. McGuire just put a spin on it and made the worlds real.

This book has elements of fairy tales (the worlds that the children go to through the doors), coming of age , sexual identity (There’s a transgender and an asexual protagonist in the book) , mystery (a murder mystery!) and so much more. You would think it would be a little difficult to mix all of these into the story, but McGuire does a great job of it.

This book was just a wonderful way of telling us that each and every one of us that it’s OK to be who we are, that there is a place/someone out there who will love you for who you are. But it is important to first love yourself.

I know I seem disjointed when it comes to expressing how I felt reading this book because I am not a writer per se. But do read this book. It’s a short read but a really great read. I finished this book in less than a day. To me this was a 4.5 stars read

If you read this book and like it, there’s other books you might like –

  1. Alice by Christina Henry. This is a retelling of Alice and I think this is a lot like this book
  2. Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant. I am recommending this book because this is another story by this author and is a great short story. It has the same atmospheric feeling for me.
  3. Beauty by Robin McKinley – Another retelling. This one of Beauty and the Beast. (You will notice a trend, though I like retellings of Fairy tales, I like them a bit darker than usual)