Book Review: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

“She was a story, not an epilogue.”   

I knew I would like Every Heart a Doorway but I never expected to LOVE it. It is my first 5 star read of 2017 and I couldn’t be happier. It’s not a hidden gem you guys, it’s a hidden treasure. If you want to read about my thoughts, feelings and why you should totally order this novel right now, then keep on reading.


Title: Every Heart a Doorway

Author: Seanan McGuire

Publisher: Tor

Series: Wayward Children

Pages: 173

Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Guests

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.

I want to start this review by saying that what it says on the cover is completely true. Although this story isn’t true, it is truth. It’s the truth of every reader and every dreamer. Imagine you went to Hogwarts and then came back. You couldn’t live in this world because of what you saw there. Basically in this book you go to Eleanor West’s school to get better. I loved the concept of it and I think the author did everything very well. She had to build not only the main world but also some of the ones the kids went to. This also quickly becomes a murder mystery too which is an interesting thing to add to the plot. It’s also a really good mystery, let me tell you. I never saw the ending coming.

I enjoyed the fact that it’s not just a story. It talks about important topics and diversity. For example, at the school there are more girls than boys and Nancy, the main character, asks Lundy, the teacher, why is that. She answers:

“Because ‘boys will be boys’ is a self-fulfilling prophecy,” said Lundy. “They’re too loud, on the whole, to be easily misplaced or overlooked; when they disappear from the home, parents send search parties to dredge them out of swamps and drag them away from frog ponds. It’s not innate. It’s learned. But it protects them from the doors, keeps them safe at home. Call it irony, if you like, but we spend so much time waiting for our boys to stray that they never have the opportunity. We notice the silence of men. We depend upon the silence of women.”


“Hope means you keep on holding to things that won’t ever be so again, and so you bleed an inch at a time until there’s nothing left”
“[…] she was a women with something to protect. That made her more dangerous than they could ever have suspected.”   

I really feel like I learned a lot of important things from this book and I appreciate it a lot.

There is also a lot of talk about diversity. Nancy, the main character, is asexual and Kade, an important side character, used to be Katie, meaning he is transsexual. I loved the fact that Seanan McGuire didn’t just throw those things at you. She explained it and discussed it throughout the novel, making it ten times more important in my opinion. This is Kade talking about being transsexual:

 “This world is unforgiving and cruel to those it judges as even the slightest bit outside the norm.”

“They thought they had snicker-snatched a little girl—fairies love taking little girls, it’s like an addiction with them—and when they found out they had a little boy who just looked like a little girl on the outside, uh-oh, donesies. They threw him right back.”   

This is Nancy talking about asexuality:

„She wanted to spend hours sitting with him and talking about pointless things. She wanted to feel his hand against her skin, to know that his presence was absolute and focused entirely on her. The trouble was, it never seemed to end there and that was as far as she was willing to go.”
„asexual” and “aromantic” were different things. She liked holding hands and trading kisses. She’d had several boyfriends in elementary school, just like most of the other girls, and she had always found those practice relationships completely satisfying. It wasn’t until puberty had come along and changed the rules that she’d started pulling away in confusion and disinterest.”   


“I don’t do that. With anyone.” “You’re celibate?” “No. Celibacy is a choice. I’m asexual. I don’t get those feelings.”
So as you can see, you can really understand everything very easily. With diversity these days I think everyone should pick this book up.
At first, I didn’t think Seanan McGuire could write a well developed story with a good paced plot and good characters in just 173 pages. It sounds impossible, right? Imagine she included some murders here and there as well. I don’t know how she managed to do it but the characters were amazing, the plot was full of surprises and the ending was satisfying.
I’m really excited about the fact that this is actually a trilogy/ companion series. Every Heart a Doorway is indeed a standalone and you can just read it and be done but she is coming out with a prequel about some *awesome* side characters and their *really mysterious* journey, Down Among the Sticks and Stones, in 2017.
Okay so,, so far I have only talked about why this book is so important and I didn’t mention the fact that there is cuteness in it too. For example, there’s this particular scene (no spoilers) when the group sits and Jack, the girl that is really good at science, makes them all hot chocolate from nothing. She also adds something special for everyone. For example, where Nancy went the only thing people would eat would be pomegranate, and so Jack added pomegranate taste to Nancy’s hot chocolate. I thought that was one of the cutest scenes in the book.
“Where did you find the whipped cream?” he asked. “You had milk, I had science,” said Jack. “It’s amazing how much of culinary achievement can be summarized by that sentence. Cheese making, for example. The perfect intersection of milk, science, and foolish disregard for the laws of nature.”  
I’m sorry I’m repeating myself but I simply adore this story so much! I know I haven’t said much about the characters or plot but it’s better this way since it’s really short. For now, I wish to share with you a few of my favourite quotes:
 “You’re nobody’s doorway but your own, and the only one who gets to tell you how your story ends is you.”
“Their love wanted to fix her, and refused to see that she wasn’t broken.”   
I hope I convinced you to read this, I really do. Let me know if I sparked your interest for it.

6 comentarii

  1. Pingback: Reviews
  2. I loved this book, too. And I agree with all your thoughts. I’ve heard people not liking the murder/mystery, but I did enjoy it and I wasn’t expecting that resolution at the end of that subplot. I wish it was a longer book so we could have more of the different worlds the kids went, but I’m excited there’ll be more books in this series.

    Apreciat de 1 persoană

      1. I’ll love to read more about Nancy and her world. Without any concept I used to think, well the world she went to didn’t sound like too much fun, but the more I thought about it I comprehend they/we all are very different people and we like/enjoy different things and that was the world she felt like herself and she belong there. That’s why I love this book so much, it makes you think about very different topics. A small book, but packs a lot!


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