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The Door in the Forest

The Door in the Forest is a middlegrade/YA fantasy by Roderick Townley.

Daniel has always been absorbed with the concealed, secretive island that is in the center of the forest. It’s surrounded by quicksand and nearly impossible to see through the vines. There are rumors that snakes with the heads of humans await you if you try to get past the moat circling it.

He soon has a partner in his fascination when a seemingly mute girl named Emily comes to town. Her mother was taken away by soldiers and now she’s living with her odd grandmother, whom everybody considers a witch – with varying opinions.

When the soldiers arrive, something that has never happened to their town as they always seem to be protected from the Uncertainties, their village is suddenly under the orders of a crooked captain that may have a past with Emily. He has a hidden plan – Daniel and Emily are sure of it.

All too soon it becomes clear that their only hope is to get to the island – but how can they do something that people have always said is impossible?

The Door in the Forest has a mystical, magical, mysterious feel – primarily because of this enigmatic island, which is the center of attention, but also because of the eccentric, inviting residents of the village. It’s one of those books that you can kind of sit back and be entranced.

A vibe of suspense and humor keeps the novel interesting, yet light. I was charmed by Daniel’s peculiar idiosyncrasy (which I will not pinpoint), Emily’s secrets, Daniel’s brilliant little brother, and Bridey as the unusual but kind “witch”.

Our island in the spotlight adds to the fun tone. I want to ride on the back of Snowball, a tame, enigmatic white leopard and visit Here, an bizarre place that a mystifying door takes you to. Plus, the Lostie in me couldn’t ignore the mentions of “protecting the island” or that an important occupant of the island is named Jakob. Of course, the similarities end there and may be entirely coincidental, but I still enjoyed it.

To sum it up, I won’t give specifics but I found The Door in the Forest to be amusing, enchanted, earnest, and sweet. An overall nice story that might not reach the heights of my favorite reads, but also caused a pleasant afternoon diversion.

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