The Ten Thousand Doors of January

By Alix E. Harrow,

Book cover of The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Book description

"A gorgeous, aching love letter to stories, storytellers, and the doors they lead us through...absolutely enchanting."—Christina Henry, bestselling author of Alice and Lost Boys

LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER! Finalist for the 2020 Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Awards. 

In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical…

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. (learn more)

Why read it?

5 authors picked The Ten Thousand Doors of January as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This captivating tale reeled me in with its quiet descriptions and its nineteenth-century American setting. Everything felt charming and peaceful, but there was an undercurrent of a truly disturbing mystery throughout that kept me flipping pages. The plot had several turns which took me by surprise, and some which did not, but whether or not you’re surprised by the twists, you will be one hundred percent delighted with the world and the romantic elements throughout.

Alix Harrow’s writing in The Ten Thousand Doors of January is as beautiful as the cover. This book was a finalist for several awards, including the Hugo and Nebula, and for good reason. The main character’s name is January–hence the title. January struggles against an antagonist who wants to prevent her from opening the magical doors she finds, undermines her confidence, and eventually has her committed to an institution. This will resonate with many young readers struggling to find their identity and take control of their own powers–and lives. The different worlds beyond January’s doors will delight the imagination and…

From Katie's list on with parallel worlds.

What struck me first was the author’s language. It’s fresh and sometimes freefalling as it depicts a young girl’s stark reality and complex inner world. This book has the markings of a number of my favorite books: themes of love, identity, family, alternate worlds, redemption, the healing power of stories, and imagination. It may move too slowly for some, but I appreciate the carefully wrought coming of age journey where protagonist, January Scaller, grows through limitations and emotional challenges thrust upon her. 

Thousands of magical worlds all wrapped into one. The hero of this story is from a world where words have real power and she is able to make things true by writing them. What writer wouldn’t love that concept? It’s hard to read this and not be dreaming of the things I would write into reality if I could.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is my newest favorite portal book, a historical fantasy that explores what it means to open doors, and what effect the strange and new have on the seemingly settled world of our everyday. I love this book for January’s bold, lyrical voice and for its vision of a world that dies without the vibrance of new ideas and open doors. 

From Adina's list on literary fantasies for young adults.

Want books like The Ten Thousand Doors of January?

Our community of 6,000+ authors has personally recommended 10 books like The Ten Thousand Doors of January.

Browse books like The Ten Thousand Doors of January

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in multiracial people, Vermont, and bildungsroman?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about multiracial people, Vermont, and bildungsroman.

Multiracial People Explore 39 books about multiracial people
Vermont Explore 23 books about Vermont
Bildungsroman Explore 210 books about bildungsroman