Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All

Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All

The unforgettable story of two young women—one living, one dead—dealing with loss, desire, and the fragility of the American dream during WWII.When Frankie’s mother died and her father left her and her siblings at an orphanage in Chicago, it was supposed to be only temporary—just long enough for him to get back on his feet and be able to provide for them once a...

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Title:Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All
Author:Laura Ruby
Rating:

Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All Reviews

  • Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    is such a genuinely 

    book, I hardly know where to begin. Look, it's gut-wrenching, let's get that out of the way. I mean, it's orphans during WWII, you're probably not expecting sunshine and roses, right? The thing is, as hard as it is at times to read, there is a really inspirational aspect to it as well. It left me hopeful, that maybe humanity isn't doomed. Our mistakes are plenty, but there's still gogenuinely book,

    is such a genuinely 

    book, I hardly know where to begin. Look, it's gut-wrenching, let's get that out of the way. I mean, it's orphans during WWII, you're probably not expecting sunshine and roses, right? The thing is, as hard as it is at times to read, there is a really inspirational aspect to it as well. It left me hopeful, that maybe humanity isn't doomed. Our mistakes are plenty, but there's still good, there's something worth fighting for.

    The characters are incredibly well developed, I rooted for them from the start. And not just because of their circumstances, but because I genuinely cared about them as characters. The story is told mainly through Frankie, one of the young women at the orphanage, and well, a ghost named Pearl. I have mixed feelings about paranormal, so I am extra happy to report that the author handled this

    I absolutely was as invested in Pearl's story and observations, as she had such a special and unique insight into both Frankie and the world around them.

    And the stories were compelling, of course. Frankie is trying to keep her sister and herself safe in the middle of incredibly tumultuous times. There is a war raging around them, and they fear especially for all male family and friends, as they see young men in their own orphanage being drafted (and volunteering) for the war. I cannot comprehend the terror, frankly. Between worrying about your daily existence, and a looming global battle, Frankie had unfathomable courage.

    The range of emotions that this book made me feel was epic. I laughed, I cried, I was angry, happy, inspired. I haven't read anything with such impact in quite some time.

    This is one of the rare books I would recommend to quite literally 

    I know. It's such a heartfelt, touching novel with current-era takeaways that should definitely not be missed.

  • Rachel

    When I wasn’t reading this, I was thinking about it, it’s that good. I love a good historical fiction (which this was!), but when you throw ghosts into it I’m SOLD. 10/10 WOULD RECOMMEND!

    I cared about every character — I was angry, sad, elated for them. I cried and laughed and grinned, and at times was thoroughly creeped out (which I love!). Frankie is such a beautifully nuanced character, and I loved her wittiness and humor. I wanted to shake Toni at times, and I cannot tell you how deeply I f

    When I wasn’t reading this, I was thinking about it, it’s that good. I love a good historical fiction (which this was!), but when you throw ghosts into it I’m SOLD. 10/10 WOULD RECOMMEND!

    I cared about every character — I was angry, sad, elated for them. I cried and laughed and grinned, and at times was thoroughly creeped out (which I love!). Frankie is such a beautifully nuanced character, and I loved her wittiness and humor. I wanted to shake Toni at times, and I cannot tell you how deeply I felt for them, and Pearl, and Marguerite, and Loretta, and all the women who had to overcome so much during this period in time.

    The writing really captured all the feelings my Granny talked about when she mentioned the war and the Depression. Desperation, grief, anger but also hope and love. Laura Ruby is a fantastic storyteller and man, I loved the writing so much.

    A super solid 5/5 stars for me

  • Erin Kelly

    Let’s talk about how good this book is. The writing is gorgeous, the story compelling. Our narrator is a GHOST telling the story of an orphan—but also revealing her own tragic story in the process.

    But the book is about more than that. It’s about what it means to be a woman, then and now. It’s about the secrets we are forced to keep and the ones we impose on ourselves. It’s about forgiveness and justice. It’s about survival and loneliness.

    Beautifully written and wonderfully told. XO

  • Andria

    The story of two girls: one living, one dead, separated by class and time but both struggling with what it means to be a woman in this world and what it means to be human and alive. Both are punished for their sexuality and suffer violence at the hands of those who should have kept them safe, but both have rebellious streaks and push back against the forces that limit their power. It's the story of unwanted girls mistreated girls abandoned girls who refuse to accept their fate and who know in th

    The story of two girls: one living, one dead, separated by class and time but both struggling with what it means to be a woman in this world and what it means to be human and alive. Both are punished for their sexuality and suffer violence at the hands of those who should have kept them safe, but both have rebellious streaks and push back against the forces that limit their power. It's the story of unwanted girls mistreated girls abandoned girls who refuse to accept their fate and who know in their hearts that folktales legends and stories always tell the truth.

    Laura Ruby has built a totally believable ghost world where spirits filled with loss and longing replay their final moments, obsess over their deaths, fixate on the living, and pass easily through walls. And she has done so with the smart and lyrical prose you should expect from her by now.

    I lucked into an ARC of this, read it immediately, read it again underlining favorite passages, then went online to pre-order a copy in advance of its October pub date. What more can I say? Read this book when it comes out, if not sooner. (If you're local I'll loan you my ARC if you don't mind all the underlined passages)

  • Madison

    Even if you didn't like Bone Gap, I am absolutely begging you to give Thirteen Doorways a try.

    Granted, I loved Bone Gap, but I recognize the magical-realism-lite vibe isn't for everyone. This book is similarly dreamy and beautiful, but it's grounded in real stories and histories. Every character is vibrant and full, and while I'm not normally a huge fan of YA historical fiction, particularly WWII, the perspective is fresh and unique. I absolutely adored this. It's gorgeously written

    Even if you didn't like Bone Gap, I am absolutely begging you to give Thirteen Doorways a try.

    Granted, I loved Bone Gap, but I recognize the magical-realism-lite vibe isn't for everyone. This book is similarly dreamy and beautiful, but it's grounded in real stories and histories. Every character is vibrant and full, and while I'm not normally a huge fan of YA historical fiction, particularly WWII, the perspective is fresh and unique. I absolutely adored this. It's gorgeously written and full of gut-punching descriptions and revelations.

    Also, can we talk about that TITLE? Holy wow.

  • Sasha

    I finished this minutes ago and I need to write down how it made me feel. At first I held this book and tried to sleep but I couldn't, so here I am.

    This book is ferociously beautiful, a supernova explosion of the most gorgeous, compelling, fierce writing - ever, in my memory of reading. It's a well-written work that hadn't particularly shaken me until the last 50 or so pages, but holy hell (apt). It's the most gratifying and emboldening ending.

    I just love it. I have no wo

    I finished this minutes ago and I need to write down how it made me feel. At first I held this book and tried to sleep but I couldn't, so here I am.

    This book is ferociously beautiful, a supernova explosion of the most gorgeous, compelling, fierce writing - ever, in my memory of reading. It's a well-written work that hadn't particularly shaken me until the last 50 or so pages, but holy hell (apt). It's the most gratifying and emboldening ending.

    I just love it. I have no words.

  • Anna Bright

    this one’s a finalist for the National Book Award, and for good reason. Frankie’s father leaves her and her sister, Toni, at an orphanage to be sure they’ll be cared for. but then he shows up one day, and he’s married, and he’s leaving town—without them. Frankie and Toni are alone in the world with their friends and the ghosts that watch over one. this one gave me chills all over my entire body. I highly recommend.

  • Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard

    I don't know if it's my tastes or the content being published more now but I've been reading SO many books in the past year involving religious institutions that are actually pretty analytical of them. Some more than others but still a pretty interesting shift.

    The switching of POVs between our alive character and our dead character didn't totally work for me all the time. They were going through a lot of similar things but I didn't find their voices to be all that different from each

    I don't know if it's my tastes or the content being published more now but I've been reading SO many books in the past year involving religious institutions that are actually pretty analytical of them. Some more than others but still a pretty interesting shift.

    The switching of POVs between our alive character and our dead character didn't totally work for me all the time. They were going through a lot of similar things but I didn't find their voices to be all that different from each other. At times I forgot which of them I was reading for a few lines. I had to pause and reread.

    The strongest take away for me was the role of women of the time. Frankie was by far the most interesting and likable character in the book. Then there's Toni, the nuns, Frankie's step mother, her own mother and then our less than alive friend. They all represented pretty much all of the options women had: mental hospital, find a husband and keep em for survival, be boy crazy, shunned and disowned for being out of social norms. It's pretty depressing but interesting really. Frankie & Toni's dad was a particularly manipulative piece of garbage but he did seem to fit the time and social norms sadly.

    The ending was abrupt and a bit chaotic but it honestly strengthened the book for me. Frankie and Toni's ending being clean and organized wouldn't have fit this whole book. I liked that there was that final show down between them and everyone else.

  • Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard

    Excuse me?!

    First of all, how dare you?

    Second...give it to me now

  • Kelly

    I haven't been blown away by a lot of YA this year -- it's been fine, but not spectacular.

    This was, however, spectacular. Smart and savvy and clever and creative and powerful. A ghost story wrapped in a story of an orphan during World War II Chicago, this is a story about all of the doors hiding wolves girls have to face in the world. The wolves are all different, but all the same. It's also a story of love, of passion, of human connection.

    Beautifully written and lush and evocative.

    I haven't been blown away by a lot of YA this year -- it's been fine, but not spectacular.

    This was, however, spectacular. Smart and savvy and clever and creative and powerful. A ghost story wrapped in a story of an orphan during World War II Chicago, this is a story about all of the doors hiding wolves girls have to face in the world. The wolves are all different, but all the same. It's also a story of love, of passion, of human connection.

    Beautifully written and lush and evocative.

    More soon.

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