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Every Heart a Doorway

(Wayward Children #1)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  94,989 ratings  ·  17,140 reviews
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 n
Hardcover, 169 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by
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Lbn I think they are fairly different despite both dealing with a school of unusual children/teens. Miss Peregrine's is more of a conventional adventure s…moreI think they are fairly different despite both dealing with a school of unusual children/teens. Miss Peregrine's is more of a conventional adventure story and coming of age at its heart, with good guys and bad guys, despite the twisty time changing and fascinating cast of characters. Every Heart a Doorway is not as much an adventure as it is a meditation. It's also much less YA in tone than Miss Peregrine's (though the characters are teens), and there is more murky and gray in what you hope and wish for each of the characters. I really enjoyed Miss Peregrine's, but in a light way so that when the second came out, I eventually read it but wasn't marking the days until I did. Every Heart, though, is one of the best I've read in years-- fascinating, unique, dark but full of heart.(less)
Didi Chanoch I would definitely put it in a high school library, as I think teens - especially trans, asexual and other queer teens - are the readers likely to get…moreI would definitely put it in a high school library, as I think teens - especially trans, asexual and other queer teens - are the readers likely to get the greatest benefit from it. It's a crossover book, in my opinion. (less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  94,989 ratings  ·  17,140 reviews

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Emily May
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“We went down, and at the bottom there was a door, and on the door there was a sign. Two words. ‘Be Sure.’ Sure of what? We were twelve, we weren’t sure of anything. So we went through."

This book is exactly my kind of weird.

I have to try and explain Every Heart a Doorway somehow, but it isn't easy. It's a kind of dark, creepy fairy tale about all those children who slipped through the cracks - a wardrobe, a rabbit hole, or a simple doorway - and found themselves somewhere else; somewhere no
Rick Riordan
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book as soon as I read the premise, and the novel exceeded my high expectations. What happens to all those children in fantasy novels who come back from fantastic worlds — when Lucy emerged from the wardrobe, or Alice from the looking glass, or Max from the Land of the Wild Things? Surely that’s got to be a traumatic re-entry into mundane reality. Every Heart a Doorway takes that idea and runs with it, introducing us to Miss West’s Home for Wayward Children, where such young folk a ...more
Jesse (JesseTheReader)
This was definitely not what I was expecting it to be, but it was a fun read! I liked the mystery aspect of it and I enjoyed getting to know the cast of characters and the different worlds they had come from. I did want a little more of a punch with the ending, but it was overall satisfying.
May 02, 2017 rated it liked it
There is so much potential with this premise, and I can't wait to see where she takes this story in the future.
However, this particular book left me unsatisfied. Most of that comes down to the length. It's a murder mystery with a pretty complex fantasy element and multiple characters with unique backstories, meaning that this book could have been easily double its current length, and I'd still be asking for more. That might not be the case with you, but I need to completely understand the logis
mark monday
Feb 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
the novel has at its center a fascinating idea, one gleaming with potential: a school full of children cast out of their various Narnias, longing to go back (oh and there's a serial killer on the prowl). too bad that potential was squandered on a predictable and often inept narrative, gruelingly repetitious dialogue and ham-handed exposition, and characters who are trying awfully hard to entertain with their snarky dialogue while fitting themselves into the most au courant of demographics. I fee ...more
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Re-read 1/3/20: Finished my annual re-read and I still love this series and these characters with every fiber of my soul!!! I got approved for an ARC of Come Tumbling Down and I am SO READY to re-read this entire series and cry alongside my bbs

Re-read 2/6/19: Every time I read this I am genuinely surprised that there are people who don't love it with every fiber of their being like I do? Did we read the same book?????? I adore this world and these characters SO DAMN MUCH.

Re-read 1/19/18: Y’all,
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
congratulations! semifinalist in goodreads' best fantasy category 2016!

 photo IMG_7786_zps3wlncyxb.jpg

"Before I went through that doorway, I knew there was no such thing as a portal to another world. Now I know that if you open the right door at the right time, you might finally find a place where you belong. Why does that mean I can't go back?"

i started a review for this book when i read it three months ago, but i kept putting it off and as the pub date grew ever closer, i started panicking with "oh no, i loved this so m
Jul 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is hands down my favorite book of all time. I have read it 6 times now and I love it more and more each time. This book is for anyone who has ever felt different and weird. ever felt like they didn't fit in and dreamed of a place that accepted what others denied.

"For us, the places we went were home. We didn't care if they were good or evil or neutral or what. We cared about the fact that for the first time we didn't have to pretend to be something we weren't. We just got to be. That ma
Emma Giordano
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I cannot remember the last time I read a book in one sitting (given, this is a novella under 200 pages) but the reason I finished so quickly is because I was ADDICTED to reading, it really had nothing to do with the length. I literally picked this book up on a whim because I've been bored at work, and it quickly became much more than a distraction. I can't tell you how much I loved it!

I enjoyed Every Heart a Doorway so much more than I could have anticipated. The characters are intriguing, the
Elena May
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Best dedication ever! This creepy little novella is stunning and absolutely unforgettable!

Children have always found doorways into different words – rabbit holes, wardrobes, magic mirrors... But what happens to the children who come back? Read this book to find out!

The story touches on so many topics. What is home? What is it like to be different and misunderstood, and how does it feel like to finally find others who understand you? And, most of all, what happens wh
THIS BOOK CHECKS ALL OF MY BOXES. Seanan McGuire may be...inside my very mind as we speak. (No but actually I kind of wish???)

First off, this book is teeny as all get out and oh MAN I love a short book!!!

Come to think of it...I really love a short book. Three five star ratings so far this year, and they’re clocking in at 173 pages, 181 pages, and a whopping 190 pages.

Maybe I just hate reading?

No no no no I will not get distracted from the fact that this is
Feb 08, 2020 rated it liked it
3.2/5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️

“We notice the silence of men. We depend upon the silence of women. ”

I like this a whole lot but I also didn't... care for it? You could say? This book within the first few pages, establishes a very vast world and mythology which is truly magical and weird and funky but can truly be overwhelming at times. I would find myself rereading some parts to comprehend them completely, and that's not just cause I'm a Greek person reading books in English. I got into the groove after the
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
im not sure i understand the massive amounts of hype that surround this book, but i still think its a pretty dang good story regardless.

which is surprising, because urban fantasy is soooo not my genre. like, at all. but its the writing and the overall message of the story that really sell this for me.

the notion of everyone having a doorway, a place we so desperately long to go when the world gets to be a little too much to bear at times, is so relatable. so even when i couldnt necessarily conne
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
Reality is harsh, even more so if you've been one of the numbers of children who went through magical portals to otherworldly lands, like Wonderland, or Narnia. Imagine escaping to a land magical beyond your dreams.
"I was looking for a bucket in the cellar of our house, and I found this door I’d never seen before. When I went through, I was in a grove of pomegranate trees. I thought I’d fallen and hit my head. I kept going because … because…”

Because the air had smelled so sweet, and the sky
chai ♡
If you want to contact me, please reach out to my spirit via astral projection whilst I'm daydreaming about finding my own doorway into a magical realm and kicking off a series of events that will eventually lead me into an eery boarding school with oddball people from different ethnicities and with differing sexual orientations! ...more
Buddy Read with Cory!

Seanan McGuire was able to pack so much representation into 173 pages! How many 1,000+ page fantasy novels have I read with zero representation? This story has an asexual main character and a transsexual main character. The story does a pretty great job at abolishing gender roles, too. This book really is nothing short of a masterpiece.

“This world is unforgiving and cruel to those it judges as even the slightest bit outside the norm.”

Some of the passages in this
destiny ♡ howling libraries
#1 Every Heart a Doorway ★★★★★
#2 Down Among the Sticks and Bones ★★★★★
#3 Beneath the Sugar Sky ★★★★★
#4 In An Absent Dream ★★★★★
#5 Come Tumbling Down ★★★★★
#6 Across the Green Grass Fields ★★★★★
#7 Where the Drowned Girls Go ★★★★★

I somehow lived a full 25 years of my life without experiencing Seanan McGuire’s writing, and now that I’ve seen how incredible her story-telling is, I can’t imagine ever letting it go. This book sucked me in so wholly in such a short number of pages – it made me laugh, c
Apr 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: diverse-reads
“You found freedom, if only for a moment, and when you lost it, you came here, hoping it could be found again.”

This story started out grand and sprawling, a majestic, epic tale of finding out what happens when you come back to an unwanted reality after living in a magical place.
And yet somewhere along the way, it didn’t work for me.


This book read more like a short story than a full novel and I liked that. But there were a lot of dull moments here and there, especially when tragedy struck. And I
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
*Unpopular Opinion Time*

I very rarely give books 1 star ratings, but I just didn't like it. The majority of my friends and the world loved it and I'm glad they did, but it just wasn't for me. Enough said =(
Always Pouting
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eleanor West's School for Wayward Children takes in kids who have trouble readjusting to life after being found again. These kid's stories of where they have been are fantastic and hard to believe, leading parents to worry, especially when many of the kids seem depressed to be back. Kids are taken to the school to undergo therapy to let go of their delusions of the time they spent away from home and deal with the emotional fallout, or so the parents think. Eleanor West may tell the parents what ...more
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

WINNER OF THE HUGO AWARDS 2017 for best novella

As I hated them as a child, of course I had to write a review this way. That's my High Logic combating my High Nonsense for you. You're welcome.

START HERE : Have you ever wished that you could escape this world and discover another one in which you would really belong?
YES : Go to #1
NO : Go to #8

#0 "This world is unforgiving and cruel to those it judges as even the slightest bit outside the norm." Want more? Go to #3

#1 First off, welcome! Y
High Lady of The Night Court
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy-read
“For us, the places we went were home. We didn’t care if they were good or evil or neutral or what. We cared about the fact that for the first time, we didn’t have to pretend to be something we weren’t. We just got to be. That made all the difference in the world.”

It seems I’ve found a pattern. Every book that has magic that we all inevitably fall in love with isn’t explained in it’s magnanimity, by its origin, stories that are so improbable even fantasy seems to look at them, wide-eyed and
Oct 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good enchanting short tale on acceptance and misfits.

Hogwarts, Narnia, Middle-Earth, every reader who has tasted speculative fiction will most likely have imagined themselves transported to one, Every Heart A Doorway (EHAD) showed the aftermath of going into these different worlds with no option of going back to them. It’s a great premise and I love how the book told the character’s struggle in coping with their new reality; where even their own family doesn’t trust the things that they experi
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children is, so Eleanor tells the concerned relatives of children who claim to have gone through a magical portal to a different world, a boarding school where they will help to cure your child’s delusions. Eleanor is lying through her teeth. Her school is actually the opposite: it’s a place where these children and teens will be not only believed, but understood, and where they will have the company of others who,
Kevin Kuhn
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
What happened to kids like Alice and Dorothy when they returned from their adventures in Wonderland and Oz? They go to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children with dozens of other fantasy land child exiles.

“We don’t teach you how to forget. We teach you how to move on.”

I was lucky enough to have an innocence childhood where the grit and wickedness of the world was revealed slowly. Not all children have that luxury. On the surface, “Every Heart a Doorway” is about the very entertaining concept
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
[4.5 ⭐️]
This was so good, so whimsical, so beautiful, so gorgeously written and transportive that I couldn’t get enough of it.
The narrator, Cynthia Hopkins, truly brought the story to life. My heart was so content.
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**3.5-stars rounded up**

Every Heart a Doorway, the first novella in McGuire's beloved Wayward Children series, features an incredibly eclectic cast of well-developed characters.

Set at Eleanor West's School for Wayward Children, with a magical and dark atmosphere, this story is heavily character driven.

Each of the individuals we meet has returned from a portal world; think Alice in Wonderland or The Chronicles of Narnia. After returning, they find themselves unable to cope with life in our world
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
*4.5/5 stars

We notice the silence of men. We depend upon the silence of women.

This book was heart-achingly beautiful. I don't even know how to coherently arrange my thoughts to explain the way this book dragged me in from beginning to end. I adore compact narratives. I think they have the potential to say so much in so few words, and this has definitely fallen among my favorite books that say so much in such little space. This book was about identity. And it handled it beautifully. It was odd, m
Elle (ellexamines)
Their love wanted to fix her, and refused to see that she wasn't broken.

I think I might have needed to adjust my expectations from novel-goals to novella-goals. I judged this as a book. I did not judge this as a novella. To be fair, I do think this novella could've done with more character work and that all-important middle section. But the fact remains that my rating and review of this is slightly unfair, and I've definitely enjoyed later works Down Among the Sticks and Bones and Beneath th
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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

Other books in the series

Wayward Children (10 books)
  • Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2)
  • Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children, #3)
  • In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children, #4)
  • Come Tumbling Down (Wayward Children, #5)
  • Across the Green Grass Fields (Wayward Children, #6)
  • Where the Drowned Girls Go (Wayward Children, #7)
  • Lost in the Moment and Found (Wayward Children, #8)
  • Untitled (Wayward Children, #9)
  • Untitled (Wayward Children, #10)

Articles featuring this book

Here at Goodreads World Headquarters, we tend to read a lot of books. Like, a lot a lot. And every December, as we finish up our...
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“We notice the silence of men. We depend upon the silence of women.” 426 likes
“You’re nobody’s doorway but your own, and the only one who gets to tell you how your story ends is you.” 372 likes
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