The Door

304p. Scholastic. 2014. Tr. $17.99. ISBN 9780545551373; ebk. $17.99. ISBN 9780545551397. LC 2013032039.
Gr 3–6—For all of Hannah Silver's life she has lived in an old lighthouse with her mother, where she's been homeschooled. Now, Hannah is going to middle school for the first time. The only problem is, she hears voices and often responds to them out loud. She has created a language (Muffin Language) that she uses with the voices. Additionally, she often imagines traps and dangerous scenarios, especially when going down stairs. The same week that she begins school, Hannah is introduced to two new people. This is especially odd since visitors are not usually allowed in their home. She learns that these people are Watchers from the afterlife and she and her mother are Guardians. Through many generations, the Silvers have protected a door in the lighthouse that allows people to go back and forth between this world and the next. Soon after this discovery, Hannah's mother is murdered and Hannah goes through the magical door to bring her back. Marino has created an interesting fantasy filled with action and suspense. The book moves quickly and keeps readers on their toes. Hannah and her friends—both the voices in her head and those in the afterlife—are quirky and at times humorous. Though the protagonist is well developed, several of the secondary characters lack depth. While it is unlikely to fly off shelves, there is an audience for this magical and mysterious book.—Kristyn Dorfman, The Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn, NY
Hannah Silver's family are Guardians, tasked with protecting a hidden door in their lighthouse that connects our world to the city of the dead. When a banished soul kills her mother, Hannah travels through the door to rescue her. The intriguing premise and fluid prose are compelling but undermined by some unexplained dynamics of the city and an anticlimactic ending.

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