My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Publication Date: April 5th 2016
Point of View: 3rd Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mystery, Death
Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
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.
She leaned close, so close that Nancy felt one of the other girl’s pigtails brush her shoulder. ‘‘Why are you crying, ghostie girl? Did someone walk across your grave?’’
Mysterious murders. Secret doors. Magical worlds.
One thing I sure wasn’t expecting to find in this oddly mature young adult story is creepy dead girls. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against a little bit of murder in a plot, but that was quite a twist for me.
What started as a peculiar tale of magical doors quickly shifted into something unexpectedly dark.
I’m glad. I really didn’t want to read about yet another Narnia-inspired journey into alternate universes where there are fairies, talking animals, half-humans or giant insects. We get none of that.
‘‘[I]f you open the right door at the right time, you might finally find a place where you belong.’’
The story takes place at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. Sounds familiar? A school where ‘‘special’’ and marginalized children are welcome to recuperate and prosper in peace.
Both books don’t follow the same plot, yet there is an unmistakable similarity between them. Every Heart a Doorway is scary. Not in a ‘‘heart attack’’ way; the creepiness crawls under your skin and seems to follow a path, yet never reaches your heart. It’s a good and moderated creepy: one that’ll awake your senses!
‘‘Hope hurts. That’s what you need to learn, and fast, if you don’t want it to cut you open from the inside out.’’
I could tell you all about the heroine, but here’s the truth: all characters are important. Some are heroes, some are antiheroes. Some are innocent, others are dangerous. We don’t know who is who for sure. Maybe they’re all lying, maybe some are trust-worthy or maybe they’re all playing with us. Regardless, the author doesn’t neglect the secondary characters, and that’s a very good thing.
Just… don’t get too attached.
The main reason why I didn’t grant this book a higher rating, as it seemed to beg me to – sorry book, I don’t always oblige – is because of the plot. Yes, it’s suspenseful, relatively original and captivating enough, but it’s so uneventful.
Sure, there are people dying, but that’s all. A little bit of therapy here and there and interactions between characters, but it frustrated me to see the author limit herself to mundane scenes – aside from the murders – when there are infinite possibilities with this type of story! Furthermore, the lack of gasp when finding the identity of the killer(s) was disappointing.
A short and entertaining creepy read.