REVIEW: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan Mcguire

25526296Title: Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children #1)

Author: Seanan McGuire

Publication Date: April 5th, 2016


Rating: ★★★★/ 4 Stars

Genre: Urban Fantasy, YA, with LGBT+ characters (more in the review)

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

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.

Hope is bad. 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.

Trigger warning: somewhat detailed gore and murder and transphobia (that’s called out on page).

Every Heart a Doorway is quite the unique book that deals with world-walkers teenagers who are sent by fretting guardians in order for any kind of solution of their “real” kids to come back. This book is a great metaphor for what the characters each represented. And I believe it had quite the great message behind it.

The story is told from the point of view of Nancy, whose door took her to the Underworld. Nancy is perhaps my first ever canonically asexual character to date, which is shameful because I need to read more ace rep. She’s asexual but I believe hetromatic. Anyway, Nancy struggles like the other kids at the boarding school to get a grasp of how much she wants to go back home. Home for her and the rest is where the door led them because the door opens for kids who don’t quite belong and takes them where they do. The concept really intrigued me and felt very original. I liked the bonds Nancy made with other kids.

There was Kade, a transboy who was kicked out of his home because of his gender identity. This personally kind of saddened me but again, it was a clear metaphor of how his own parents sent him to the school, hence kicking him out of his house, wanting their “real” kid back. Kade is first written to be quite strikingly beautiful but not feminized. And Nancy and Kade kind of develop this flirting that Nancy mentions to worry her because she isn’t into getting into more. It’s towards Kade that one other student says a transphobic comment, but Eleanor, the headmistress of the school, explicitly in the beginning of the book has a rule against any hateful talk. Another good point to this book is that Eleanor stops Sumi from saying words like “crazy” which I liked quite a bit.

There are other characters that are introduced such as the twins Jack and Jill, Christopher, Lundy, Eleanor herself has her own backstory and door, as well as Sumi and others. I found the description beautiful and easy to understand although the concept of how the worlds crisscrossed didn’t to me, or to Nancy. Nancy herself was a very lovely character whose voice felt very calming.

My only problem with the book is how it ended. I kind of wished there would be more and that the sequel would deal more with Nancy and the rest of the kids since I got attached. As far as I know, I might read the sequel but I’m not in a hurry. It does deal with Jack and Jill’s past before their doors so that might interest anyone who found the twins particularly intriguing.

Representation of asexual teen, transgender boy,  Mexican boy, and a Japanese girl.

2860219About the Author (copied from Goodreads)

Hi! I’m Seanan McGuire, author of the Toby Daye series (Rosemary and Rue, A Local Habitation, An Artificial Night, Late Eclipses), as well as a lot of other things. I’m also Mira Grant (, author of Feed and Deadline.

Born and raised in Northern California, I fear weather and am remarkably laid-back about rattlesnakes. I watch too many horror movies, read too many comic books, and share my house with two monsters in feline form, Lilly and Alice (Siamese and Maine Coon).



6 thoughts on “REVIEW: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan Mcguire

      • Mariam's Yummy Books says:

        It is! I have not even read a character identify as ace before I read this one. It’s going to be interesting to read. I saw a lot of people recommend this book and it’s kind of sad that only this one gets this much attention. I actually got the ebook for free because I think somewhere had a little offer a while back.


      • Huntress of Diverse Books says:

        Actually some ace people were talking about how it’s sad that this is the one with the most attention.

        Do you want me to recommend you some books? Like I have LOADS!!! (Maybe 10 – 15…this is loads.) Sorry, I’m excited about it! If you want to.


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