Every Heart a Doorway

By Seanan McGuire,

Book cover of Every Heart a Doorway

Book description

Winner: 2022 Hugo Award for Best Series
Winner: 2017 Hugo Award
Winner: 2017 Alex Award
Winner: 2017 Locus Award
Winner: 2016 Nebula Award
Nominated: 2017 World Fantasy Award
Nominated: 2017 British Fantasy Award
2016 Tiptree Honor List

"A mini-masterpiece of portal fantasy — a jewel of a book that deserves…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked Every Heart a Doorway as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This is the first in a series about kids who’ve had their Wonderland experience—gone to another world where they fit in, only to be thrust back to Earth.

I devoured this book with all the needy fervor of a girl who spent her childhood looking for hidden doors in tree trunks and waiting for her to be summoned to her calling. This doesn’t call from any specific tales. Rather, it combines elements from fairy tales across cultures and authors to create a world that stole my breath.

It also incorporates another story element I’m a sucker for—the school for “special”…

Even I was very young, every time I read a portal fantasy, I wondered how the kids (because so many portal fantasies are about kids) coped after they were sent back home and had to deal with their ordinary lives. After all, they’d been heroes or saviors or found true love or whatever. Now they had to go back to school and go to bed on time? Seanan McGuire did what I never thought of doing, and wrote a book that addresses this question. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a good tale in its own right, with a cast of…

From Jane's list on unusual portal fantasies.

A girl named Nancy is on a quest to return to her “true home,” a place where she feels she belongs. She starts out by visiting the opposite, the land of the dead. When she returns, her parents don’t believe her story. So, they send her to a boarding school for wayward children. There, she and the other students visit other worlds, which instigates a process of inner discovery and transformation. The theme of leaving home to discover one’s true home—which I believe has less to do with location than self-realization—is rich and always compelling.  

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