Seanan McGuire: Every Heart a Doorway – for your reading pleasure

Nancy is sent to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children because her parents can’t cope with her. They think she has a screw loose and don’t believe that she’s been through a portal into another world, a world of the dead which has left her both changed, and longing to go back.

Nancy discovers all the students there have their own story, their own world (each one very different from the others) and their own longings to return. Miss West is, herself, a returnee, so she understands and knows that for most of the children a return to their particular world is impossible, so she teaches them how to get on with life in the only world they have.

Nancy is barely unpacked when the first murder happens. The authorities generally turn a blind eye to happenings at the school, but they can’t totally ignore a murder, and they certainly wouldn’t ignore two… or three.

It’s up to Nancy and her fellow students to catch the killer. There’s a good cast of somewhat unusual characters who don’t fit in, not only because of their fairyland experiences, but there’s some gender fluidity – a trans teen, an asexual teen, etc. Even so it doesn’t feel as though Ms McGuire is simply ticking the diversity boxes, all the characters have a part to play. I’m not entirely sure if this is aimed at YA. It would certainly be suitable for older teens, but reads well for adults, too. This is a novella, but perfect at the length it is. Very enjoyable.

About Jacey Bedford

Jacey Bedford maintains this blog. She is a writer of science fiction and fantasy (, the secretary of Milford SF Writers (, a singer ( and a music agent booking UK tours and concerts for folk performers (
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