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THE DOOR IN THE FOREST by Roderick Townley


by Roderick Townley

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: March 22nd, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-375-85601-3
Publisher: Knopf

Daniel’s life in a small town in the middle of nowhere is marred only by the occasional trouble brought on by the fact that he cannot tell a lie—at least until the arrival of a strange girl named Emily and a battered group of soldiers who barge into town claiming only to need food and shelter. As Daniel, his little brother, Wesley, and Emily become friends, they discover that the soldiers are up to no good. When Emily’s grandmother disappears, the friends determine that she has gone to the magical island located nearby, an island that all of the townspeople can see yet none can ever reach. The three friends follow an ancient map to find her. While the characters are interesting and likable, the setting and plot are much too vague to be engaging. Readers understand that there is some kind of political turmoil that has resulted in a series of skirmishes called the Uncertainties, but which side is which and what is at stake is left unclear. Readers also learn that Emily and her family have powers that help protect the town and are somehow connected to the magical island (which is, perhaps, where people go, at least temporarily, when they die, or not). But how these powers, the town, the island and the military skirmishes all fit together remains a mystery. Perplexing. (Fantasy. 8-12)