As some of you may remember, the first novel in this series, Every Heart A Doorway, was one of my lowest rated reads of 2016. In fact, it was the first 2-star review I ever posted here on the blog. However, since the entire world seemed to love that novel, I decided I’d give the second instalment a try – and I must admit, I’m very glad I did.
If you’ve read the original review, you’ll know that a lot of my problems stemmed from the fact that I felt McGuire was trying to do too much in a very short novella. However, the more intense focus of this novel, with only Jack and Jill to deal with, lead to a much more concise story without a lot of the clutter from the first instalment.
I went into this novel expecting a story about lesbianism, so you can imagine my excitement when its focus was on the complexities of gender roles – something I was pleasantly unprepared for. I really liked seeing the contrast between the twins, and getting to look at the difference in their personalities despite appearances. For a YA novel, it covered some impressively complex ground.
The first section in particular, before the girls made the journey through their door, is one that I think all parents should be made to read – it teaches an important lesson about the dangers of forcing children to fulfil unrealistic parental expectations.
However (this review couldn’t be all plain sailing), one aspect of this novel that I still found issue with was the writing style. In many ways, I enjoyed the narrative’s lyricism, however, it did lean towards the flowery on many occasions. As a personal preference, I like narration to be a little bit more simplistic, and this teetered on the edge of being too much for me to handle.
If, like me, you weren’t a fan of the first novella, or my review has put you off altogether (which I hope isn’t the case), you could definitely read this instalment as a standalone – in fact, I’d recommend that you do.
In fact, getting to see the worlds and inner personalities that shaped the characters of Every Heart A Doorway has definitely given me a greater appreciation for some aspects of the first novel – so who knows, maybe after a few more novellas like this I’ll be ready to go back and try it again.
Overall, I gave this novella 4/5 stars, a really good rating that I’m pleasantly surprised to be presenting to a book in this series! I really enjoyed this story, and its short length made it the perfect holiday read. I’d highly recommend this novella to any YA reader (even if you weren’t a fan of the first instalment).
Please let me know what you guys thought about this book (or this review) in the comments down below – I love chatting with you all!