First, a thank you to Macmillan for the ARC! Many thanks.
Okay, now down to business...
Every great once in a while I stumble across a story that takes up residence in my brain and continues to live there once I've set down the book. This is one of those stories. A fast read, not only because of the short length, but also because the pages speed by - I wish I had been able to spend more time living in the world McGuire has created, much as the characters in the story wish they could have spent more time in their respective wonderlands.
The story centers around a boarding school filled with teens who have fallen down rabbit holes and wandered through mirrors, and upon returning home they find reality intolerable. It reminded me of Gregory's We Are All Completely Fine, in that these are characters struggling forward after The End with varying degrees of success. Deliciously creepy, yet at the same time enchanting, this story is evocative of Gaiman's Ocean at the End of the lane or Coraline. McGuire captures both the darkness and the whimsy of youth, as well as the magic and the horror of children's gateway escape fiction. While there is a murder at the center of the story (I had a pretty clear idea of whodunit before the murder even occurred), the surprise isn't in discovering the identity of the killer, but in getting to know the characters involved and the world McGuire has created.
Also, a quick note about diversity. This story features a main character who is asexual, which is not an orientation widely represented, as well as a central character that is trans. This was an added bonus and surprise, since I hadn't heard any buzz about this book containing LGBTQ characters.
If you've ever longed to find your way to Wonderland, Dracula's castle, Narnia, or some other imagined realm, this book should transport you to the space just adjacent. A touch of darkness, a dose of reminiscence, and a heaping helping of imagination all form just the right mix for a story that will worm its way into your heart and leave you wanting more.
Every Heart a Doorway hits bookstores April 5th.