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100 Cupboards

(100 Cupboards #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  17,178 ratings  ·  2,370 reviews
Twelve-year-old Henry York is going to sleep one night when he hears a bump on the attic wall above his head. It's an unfamiliar house—Henry is staying with his aunt, uncle, and three cousins—so he tries to ignore it. But the next night he wakes up with bits of plaster in his hair. Two knobs have broken through the wall, and one of them is slowly turning...

Henry scrapes t
Hardcover, 289 pages
Published December 26th 2007 by Random House Books for Young Readers
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Molly Johnson First of all, go hawkeyes! I am a diehard sports fan, and while I will not currently reveal my allegiance (kinda sore 'cause you guys beat us, badly, …moreFirst of all, go hawkeyes! I am a diehard sports fan, and while I will not currently reveal my allegiance (kinda sore 'cause you guys beat us, badly, this year) I must say that I bear no longterm ill will toward Iowa. I love the state, and I will occasionally root for the hawkeyes. There are definitely some teams whom I would rather be run over by a combine than root for. Congratulations. Iowa is not one of them.

Now that that important paragraph is out of the way, the question can be answered. I LOVE this book. If I could only pick one series to take with me on a desert island, it would probably be this one. (Or one of the author's other amazing series, the Ashtown Burials, which I would also highly recommend.) Now here's WHY you want to read it (in no particular order):

N.D. Wilson is truly hilarious. Even if the plot was TERRIBLE (which it totally isn't) I would still recommend this book. Another thing you should read? The author's bio page ( is something that takes two minutes to read and will have you on the floor laughing.

It's spectacular. Honestly, I don't know why this book isn't at least as big as Harry Potter. AT LEAST. Probably because the hidden world isn't revealed until later in the book?

What? No, I'm not going to tell you what it is. That would ruin it! But I'll give you a hint. It's alive. And cute. But don't insult it.

Ben, you're in the attic in your aunt and uncle's house in Kansas, because your parent's have been taken hostage while on a biking trip. You used a car seat until the age of seven, wore a helmet in P.E., and have never played baseball. Suddenly plaster starts falling on your head in bed. You scrape it off and find all of these cupboards behind the wall. Would you stop there? Maybe you'd take a break to go ride unbuckled in an old truck with your uncle to collect tumbleweeds to sell for seven thousand dollars on ebay, but you wouldn't just STOP! And then your uncle tries to cut down the door to the bedroom on the landing with a chain saw. And yes, he's perfectly sane, and yes, it makes sense.

If you aren't interested now, I don't think you'll ever be. But let me tell you, you WILL NOT regret reading this book. Please do.

With a flashlight under the covers,
Eleanor Jones yup.

the rest of the words I am typing exist because my answer was too short…more

the rest of the words I am typing exist because my answer was too short(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  17,178 ratings  ·  2,370 reviews

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Douglas Wilson
Jan 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Nonbiased reviews under such circumstances are hard to come by. Great book. Listened to it again on Audible in March of 2017. Still great.
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After his parents disappear, 12-year old Henry York is sent to live with an aunt and uncle he hasn't seen since he was 4. He doesn't wish his parents any harm....but he doesn't really want them to come back either. They are....odd. Henry has learned over the years that his upbringing has been strange and markedly different from other kids around him. He's learned to roll with it and through observation has found ways to fit in and make friends. But just as he arrives and starts to settle in at h ...more
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ms-books
I'm quite conflicted about this book. On the one hand, the premise is fantastic-- a wall full of doorways into other worlds-- some benign, some not so much. But the names of the female characters were confusing-- they're all allusions to famous females (incl Dorothy from Kansas!)-- but i also kept forgetting how old the little girls were supposed to be, because they speak and act like different ages all the time. The town's name is Henry, and the two main kids are named Henry and Henrietta? Huh? ...more
Nov 28, 2009 rated it did not like it
I can't believe I made it all the way through to the end of this book. Maybe because I just kept waiting for something to happen and really it didn't. I have to give the author credit anyone that can literally write over 50 pages describing cupboards and one main setting of maybe a room. This book started out great but really I felt like I was in sand and going no where fast, and it just kept feeling to the end.

I think it was the writing style, the style was more of telling the reader then actu
Mike (the Paladin)
Sep 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fantasy
My kids are grown, adults. That said I still often read YA books. They of course like books of any genre and reader level run the gamut from excellent to unreadable. They also have a range of maturity level.

I have mentioned before that books on the "YA shelf" can be YA,Ya or yA. This one I'd say is Ya...much more "young" than "adult".

We open here with a young man who comes to live with...well we'll not go into the relationship as that's part of the story. Let's say a distant uncle and aunt type
Jun 27, 2010 rated it liked it
After a pretty slow start, this book got weird fast. One minute I'm waiting for some action and answers, the next I'm wondering how I fell into Tim Burton's brain. It got so weird that it was a little hard to understand at times. I'm fairly fantasy versed and even I had trouble interpreting some of the stuff towards the end of the book. Wilson really tried hard to start cramming in characters with speaking styles that were unique to their situation. Unfortunately, this will probably leave many i ...more
Mar 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I really loved this book. Deliciously creepy elements blend with terrific characterization, poetic prose and exciting plot. Will update more in a bit!

{Edit}Now to add a bit more. I like how the author has taken classic fantasy tropes, "the lost Special One" "the Hidden World" "the Wise Fool" and blended them in new ways. I particularly like how Henry finds the world away from the smothering overprotective one his parents have created for him just as magical as the actual magical worlds he
Feb 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Scrub the bones. Great line, and one of the most memorable. This book felt like what C.S. Lewis would have been if he wasn't British, didn't drink tea and crumpets every day and enjoyed college basketball. ...more
Tamora Pierce
Apr 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-ya-yr
How can it get better--100 small cupboards hidden under plaster in an ordinary-looking Kansas house where Henry has come to await word on his parents, travel writers being held by Columbian kidnappers. His aunt, uncle, and three girl cousins seem perfectly ordinary, but there's a ghost who comes and goes from dead Grandpa's locked room, and there are those cupboards hidden behind Henry's bedroom wall. Henry is a cautious, careful hero, somewhat adrift in the world, sucked into dangerous situatio ...more
Apr 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Let me make one thing clear--the only reason I'm deducting the 5th star is because this book does not stand on it's own. It's very clearly the start of a series and I'm greatly annoyed that now I have to wait for the next installment. That being said, the scene with the chainsaw in the carpet is almost worth adding the 5th star back...

This is a creepy little children's fantasy. Give to fans of Charlie Bone, Coraline, Gregor the Overlander, the Narnia books, Chrestomanci, and yes that HP fellow.
Feb 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first of a trilogy. Set in Kansas, this is a story of a young boy who discovers numerous worlds behind cupboard doors in an attic. (This and other plot elements are reminiscent of Narnia, The Wizard of Oz, and The Indian in the Cupboards books.) No one goes through the cupboards until about halfway through the book. Gets creepy with the witch, around whom the final conflict (in this book) revolves.

Hear the author talk about details here.

Kansas might be home to Etzanoa (see here too).

Here is
Brandon Miller
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sat down to read this as my favorite book... with that horrid voice of doubt whispering in my mind. Is it as good as I remember? Yes. It is. It's beautiful and creepy and honest and whimsical and childish and grown up. It's about bravery and humanity and friendship and (scarier) siblingship. It's about evil and darkness and illusions and little shafts of yellow light, about strange letters and very shut doors, the heroism of a chainsaw and the heartbreak of $750 tumbleweeds. Henry York is a dear ...more
Aug 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: younger, fantasy
When his over-protective parents are kidnapped while on vacation, Henry is sent to stay with relatives in a small Kansas town. When the plaster in his attic bedroom is cracked, Henry discovers strange cupboards, all different from one another, and mysterious compass locks. He and the oldest of his cousins explore the mystery and have adventures (I won't be any more specific because I don't want to give away the plot). I thought the book had some good imagery, and the characters of Henry and his ...more
Sep 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Mmm. Delicious. A good fantasy with enough original elements to keep it interesting. "Leepike Ridge" is better, no question, but I dare say this book stands apart from the normal fantasy-laden pack. See for yourself... ...more
Lili P
Apr 10, 2021 rated it liked it
This book was hard to understand, so it was hard for me to get through.
Feb 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
WOW! Very interesting fantasy tale. I wonder why I hadn't ever heard of it? Henry is a guest in his Aunt and Uncle's home. He finds 99 cupboards covered up with plaster in the attic where he sleeps. Each leads to a different land/time--but too small to get through. Where is the other cupboard, you wonder? Well, I can't tell you that! You'll just have to read it yourself. Quite an interesting story. It reads almost like a Harry Potter. And, if you get your hands on the book, look at the back of t ...more
Sydney Jacques
Jan 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First read in 2016: This book, guys. This book. It was so good. I nearly had a heart attack while reading it. Also, I want a raggant... hahaha.
Reread May 2017: duh I still love this, but I think I have an appreciation for different aspects of this book now. And I like Henry even more than I did last time.
christine ✩
10/24/22: bros what am i doing reading this Again. it's the FIFTH TIME! i literally have been reading this instead of doing the million and two homework assignments i have to do. i am literally exhausted don't run barn chores in 70 degree weather :D . anyway like - cupboards. Henry. Henrietta and Penny and Anastasia. Frank and Dotty. Raggants. Zeke. everyone likes Zeke!!! Nimiane and Bast. mildly excited for everything go insane in dandelion fire now if i ever get time to read it I love mondays ...more
Cat Carstairs
Mar 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
~Actual rating- 2.5 out of 5 stars~

100 Cupboards has probably been sitting on my bookshelf for around six years now, and I've just gotten around to it. To put it simply, I was expecting a lot more.

The reason I rated this so lowly is because by the stars, I don't think I've ever read anything so slow with so little action. The summary of the book on the back basically tells you everything that happens and it just wasn't interesting.

Quite literally, a major portion of this book was th
Mystie Winckler
May 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012, fiction
You no longer have to be in England for magical worlds to find you.

I loved the 100 Cupboards trilogy! Excellent, excellent, excellent, and highly recommended. The second two in particular are pretty intense, however, and the evil in them (and I know Wilson loves Chesterton, who said, "A book without an evil character is an evil book") is true evil. But evil is defeated by nobility, by those willing to die if it means others will live. And you have the uncomfortable feeling while reading that not
Mem Morman
Jun 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was recommended by - wait for it! - my GRAND-daughter. It's a children's book, and I like and read children's books, but I did find this pretty scary although I did enjoy it. Twelve year old Henry comes to stay with his aunt and uncle in Henry, Kansas hoping for a summer of baseball. Instead, or perhaps in addition, he finds that one wall of his attic bedroom is full of small cupboards with locked doors - and each goes somewhere not in this world. The characters (three cousins and two sets ...more
Dec 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
10/9/2020: Third time through. This time read aloud to my bf over the course of several weeks. Sharing books that way is a lovely experience, and I highly recommend it to one and all. :)

11/30/2018: By the time I finished this book, I was getting the feeling that it had been written specifically to appeal to me. I mean, a wall full of hidden cupboards in a cool old house (MAGIC hidden cupboards)... Oz homages... Narnia vibes... suspense... cats... and BASEBALL, even. If I didn't know any better,
Leah Waters
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars!

This book is curious--very slow paced, sometimes a little boring, but always mysterious with an enchanting quality. Yes, it takes patience, but it's totally worth it. Partly because things are very fascinating towards the end, but mostly because the sequel, Dandelion Fire, is perfection.

As for this book, there's something magical. Odd and bewitching. I don't know what it is, but it's made it a book to reread many times.
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars, I'll give the sequels a try. ...more
Jul 15, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Jonathan Duff
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
It sucked me in. Wasn't what I expected so thumbs up. ...more
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
i feel like i just met twelve-year-old n.d. wilson.
Aug 18, 2020 rated it liked it
I read this book because my son really loved it and wanted me to read it as well. I wavered between 3 and 4 stars. It certainly kept me hooked from the very beginning. It was extremely plot driven and I felt like not enough time was spent on character development - but I will read the next book in the series and see if this improves. All in all - a good book and I can see why kids love it!
Its a fun, clean adventure!!
Calvin Edwards
Feb 14, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was not as good as I expected,but still good. Near the end it got creepy.But the creepyness made it more interesting.That is why I am rating it 3 stars.
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
it was good Hannah and Brandon's theory was correct i liked ashtown more ...more
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“Woman and children behind the lines!' he yelled, and all the girls jumped. Henry froze with his mouth open. 'Bang the drum slowly and ask not for whom the bell's ringing, for the answer's unfriendly!' He threw a fist in the air. 'Two years have my black ships sat before Troy, and today its gate shall open before the strength of my arm.' Dotty was laughing from the kitchen. Frank looked at his nephew. 'Henry, we play baseball tomorrow. Today we sack cities. Dots! Fetch me my tools! Down with the French! Once more into the breach, and fill the wall with our coward dead! Half a league! Half a league! Hey, batter, batter!'
Frank brought his fist down onto the table, spilling Anastasia's milk, and then he struck a pose with both arms above his head and his chin on his chest. The girls cheered and applauded. Aunt Dotty stepped back into the dining room carrying a red metal toolbox.”
“You can't buy history new.” 15 likes
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