The Door to January
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About the Author
Growing up in rural Maine led Gillian French to believe that the mystery of the past is all around. She uses her surroundings as a setting for her dark stories that often have a creepy twist. While she's never seen a ghost, she's pretty sure she's heard ghostly footsteps in the night. French's short fiction has appeared in various publications and anthologies. The Door to January is her second YA novel; her first, Grit, was released by HarperTeen in May 2017. French holds a B.A. in English from the University of Maine and is perpetually at work on her next novel.
Keen plotting, evocative writing, and dynamic characterization make French a writer to watch.--Booklist (04/19/2017)
Chilling and suspenseful, this paranormal thriller with a touch of romance will keep readers on the edges of their seats.--Kirkus Reviews (07/05/2017)
"Readers will feel connected to Natalie and her plight of past, present, and future, and though there are supernatural elements to the story, the emotions and feelings are all too real. [...] A provocative mystery that would be a strong purchase for libraries' supernatural/mystery collections."--School Library Journal (09/19/2017)
"This novel was ever-changing; every time I thought I had it pinned down it grew and matured and turned in a direction I wasn't quite expecting."--The Suspense is Thrilling Me (09/22/2017)
"This is definitely a book I'll be recommending to friends and basically all of the young adults I come across."--The Geeky Yogi (09/22/2017)
..".the slow unraveling of the house's history, the increasing tension around Natalie's flashbacks to a distant crime, and the creepy but pitiable spirits that haunt her all come together to make a spine-tingling tale."--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (09/22/2017)
Ever since a tragedy caused her family to move away from home, Natalie has had intense recurring nightmares in which she is drawn toward a door in an old house back in her hometown. Now sixteen, Natalie is determined to resolve the nightmares and put to rest the events she and her cousin Teddy endured two years ago. The cousins set out to solve her nightmare mystery, visiting an abandoned house on a hill (from her nightmares) back in their hometown of Bernier. The two set up a recorder, and after the first electronic voice phenomena (EVP) recordings, Natalie becomes increasingly convinced her nightmares are calling her to solve a crime. With each visit to the house, Natalie is pulled back in time to 1948 where she witnesses several tragedies unfold in the house through the course of that long-ago year. Teddy and Natalie's reappearance in town reignites animosities, and two mysteries--one in the present, one in the past--come together as Natalie and Teddy challenge bullying, abuse, and murder. Rich characters, paranormal activity, small-town high school bullies, and a hint of romance for Natalie balance out challenging time sequencing and occasionally ambiguous relationships in this fast-paced cliffhanger. Readers looking for a frisson of fear and/or seeking a sense of justice will find this compelling suspense story worth the effort.
The Door to January focuses on Natalie Payson and her cousin Teddy. Natalie, who moved away from her hometown because of intense bullying in middle school, has come back to town with Teddy for a short visit. She must face the reason she left and not get caught by the ghosts of her past. The characters' interactions are realistic and the dialogue is short and snappy, moving the story along quickly. Readers who enjoy stories with a mixture of humor and suspense will definitely enjoy this book. 4Q, 4P.
--Anisa Amrani, Teen Reviewer.
--VOYA Reviews 2017 October