An unremarkable 13-year-old deputy Gatekeeper must leave her post stamping blue travel applications and pink customs declarations when a catastrophe threatens all of the worlds.
Lucy loves being organized, which makes her supremely well-suited for her job at the end of the world, at the door leading from her world of Southeast to the neighboring East. She knows that she’s not particularly clever or interesting, and she worries that she got this job because her well-connected parents pulled some strings, but nevertheless she loves working for the cranky, white-haired old Gatekeeper. She doesn’t want any trouble, so it’s all the more terrible when the Gatekeeper disappears and the door to East jams shut—right after a strange boy tumbles through it. Arthur, a bespectacled 15-year-old, hadn’t even known there were other worlds besides his own East (home of exotic places such as Sacramento, Vladivostok, and Auckland). Together, Lucy and Arthur begin a quest to tell the surely trustworthy authorities about the missing Gatekeeper and the broken door. Along with grumpy Rosemary, deputy of another missing gatekeeper—isn’t she?—they unravel a plot that threatens commerce and travel across all eight worlds. The characters are assumed white and have names that evoke classic English-language literature. With its low-key comedy and grace notes such as bees that communicate by spelling, the book recalls earlier adventures by Diana Wynne Jones and Eva Ibbotson.
Joyfully chaotic. (Fantasy. 10-12)