Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire
Nancy is brought to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. Miss West is herself a survivor of discovering a doorway that takes the finder to a different world. But each world is different, with its own rules and odd directions. The children who find them may disappear for months or years but when they return to their parents they are very different from the time before the doorway was found.
Nancy was transported to the land of the Lord of Death. Her hair is streaked because the Lord of Death ran his hand through her hair and the hairs that weren’t touched turned white from jealousy. She has also learned to be completely still so the dead won’t see her. More than anything she wants to go back. That’s true of the other wayward children, who all feel that something elemental has been taken from them but have also learned that doorways may just vanish and never return.
The first half of this really beautiful book revolves around Nancy finding her way through the school, meeting other waywards who have been to logical and illogical worlds. In the second half of the book the story turns more sinister with a series of gruesome murders. The survivors have to band together to try to discover the murderer.
While the murders in the second half of the book are bloody and ugly most of the book has a charm that makes it a wonderful read. McGuire created a unique and interesting collection of worlds and their survivors. It’s also a fast read. The book runs about 175 pages and would be an interesting and easy summer book for teens and adults.
The book has been nominated for both Nebula and Hugo awards.