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Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All



by
Laura Ruby

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Balzer + Bray
Imprint
Print
ISBN
9780062317643

Awards and Honors
2019 National Book Awards Finalist
SLJ Best Books - 2019
NPR’s Book Concierge - 2019
CPL Best Books - 2019
Rise: A Feminist Book Project 2020 Top 10 List
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Mild Language, Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes, Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism, Violence: Sexual Assault/Rape, Violence: Suicide , Violence: Mild Violence, Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Alcohol Abuse, Violence: Domestic/Physical Abuse
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When Frankie’s mother died and her father left her and her siblings at an orphanage in Chicago, she thought it was only supposed to be temporary—just long enough for him to get back on his feet be able to provide for them once again. That’s why she is not prepared for the day that he arrives for his weekend visit with a new woman on his arm and out-of-state train tickets in his pocket. Now Frankie and her sister, Toni, are abandoned to the orphanage, two young, unwanted women doing everything they can to survive. And as the embers of the Great Depression are kindled into the fires of World War II, and the shadows of injustice, poverty, and death walk the streets in broad daylight, it will be up to Frankie to find something worth holding on to in the ruins of this shattered America —every minute of every day spent wondering if the life she is able to carve out will be enough.

I will admit, I do not know the answer to this last question. But I will be watching, waiting to find out. That’s what ghosts do.

Author’s note.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Mild Language, Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes, Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism, Violence: Sexual Assault/Rape, Violence: Suicide , Violence: Mild Violence, Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Alcohol Abuse, Violence: Domestic/Physical Abuse

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

384

Trim Size

8" x 6"

Dewey

F

AR

4.9: points 12

Lexile

HL177L

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Feb 2020

Book Genres

Fiction

Topics

Orphanages. World War II (1939–1945). Ghosts. Love. Family. Chicago, Illinois. Italian Americans. Independence. Girls and women.

Standard MARC Records

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist*, School Library Journal*, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, The Horn Book Magazine

School Library Journal

Ruby’s first young adult novel since her Printz Award–winning Bone Gap is a feminist historical ghost story that is based on the author’s mother-in-law’s childhood experiences in a World War II–era Chicago orphanage. In 1941, after losing his wife and struggling to support his family, Frankie’s Italian immigrant father “temporarily” sends his three adolescent children to a Catholic orphanage. However, he soon remarries and moves away, taking only one of his children. Frankie and her sister, Toni, are left under the watch of the iron-fisted nuns with their oppressive rules. Frankie dreams of growing her hair past her ears, becoming an artist, and falling in love. She never suspects that someone unseen is actually watching over her and longing to protect her: the ghost of a teenage girl, Pearl, dead since 1918, who haunts the orphanage. As Frankie wishes for freedom, Pearl longs to have an impact on the physical world. And Pearl, like Frankie, has been let down by her family, been treated as a commodity, and suffered great loss. Each girl draws strength from her hardships, however, and refuses to submit to those who would control her. Some sexual content and brief, yet disturbing descriptions of violence make this title most appropriate for older readers. Powerful plotting, masterful character development, and a unique narrative device set this work apart. Make room on the shelf next to Code Name Verity and The Book Thief.

Horn Book

At first, this seems to be the story of Frankie, a girl in a Catholic orphanage in Chicago in the 1940s. She and her sister and brother are abandoned there when her father remarries, and Frankie suffers under the nuns’ regime, but she also makes friends, grows up, and, eventually, falls into forbidden, passionate love—a relationship that America’s entry into World War II puts in jeopardy. But Frankie’s story is just one thread in a more expansive tale, that of the ghostly narrator Pearl, who observes Frankie but also tells us of her own doings as she floats around Chicago. In tiny increments, she reveals her dreadful history; the novel is as much about her spiritual healing as it is about Frankie’s coming of age. Pearl’s world-weary wisdom and moral outrage come through clearly as she interacts with other ghosts—victims of America’s misogyny, racism, and social and economic inequi¬ties. In addition, Pearl seems to have unusual access to information: about the atomic bomb; Nazi death camps; and more. The story’s momentum, logic, and focus thus wobble a bit, but Ruby’s message is clear: America is a precarious and threatening place, dealing as much in cruelty and injustice as it does in fulfilled dreams of family, love, and security.

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Ruby’s first young adult novel since her Printz Award–winning Bone Gap is a feminist historical ghost story that is based on the author’s mother-in-law’s childhood experiences in a World War II–era Chicago orphanage. In 1941, after losing his wife and struggling to support his family, Frankie’s Italian immigrant father “temporarily” sends his three adolescent children to a Catholic orphanage. However, he soon remarries and moves away, taking only one of his children. Frankie and her sister, Toni, are left under the watch of the iron-fisted nuns with their oppressive rules. Frankie dreams of growing her hair past her ears, becoming an artist, and falling in love. She never suspects that someone unseen is actually watching over her and longing to protect her: the ghost of a teenage girl, Pearl, dead since 1918, who haunts the orphanage. As Frankie wishes for freedom, Pearl longs to have an impact on the physical world. And Pearl, like Frankie, has been let down by her family, been treated as a commodity, and suffered great loss. Each girl draws strength from her hardships, however, and refuses to submit to those who would control her. Some sexual content and brief, yet disturbing descriptions of violence make this title most appropriate for older readers. Powerful plotting, masterful character development, and a unique narrative device set this work apart. Make room on the shelf next to Code Name Verity and The Book Thief.

Horn Book

At first, this seems to be the story of Frankie, a girl in a Catholic orphanage in Chicago in the 1940s. She and her sister and brother are abandoned there when her father remarries, and Frankie suffers under the nuns’ regime, but she also makes friends, grows up, and, eventually, falls into forbidden, passionate love—a relationship that America’s entry into World War II puts in jeopardy. But Frankie’s story is just one thread in a more expansive tale, that of the ghostly narrator Pearl, who observes Frankie but also tells us of her own doings as she floats around Chicago. In tiny increments, she reveals her dreadful history; the novel is as much about her spiritual healing as it is about Frankie’s coming of age. Pearl’s world-weary wisdom and moral outrage come through clearly as she interacts with other ghosts—victims of America’s misogyny, racism, and social and economic inequi¬ties. In addition, Pearl seems to have unusual access to information: about the atomic bomb; Nazi death camps; and more. The story’s momentum, logic, and focus thus wobble a bit, but Ruby’s message is clear: America is a precarious and threatening place, dealing as much in cruelty and injustice as it does in fulfilled dreams of family, love, and security.

Grades 11 & Up
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Filled with stimulating nonfiction and can't-put-it-down fiction, this catetory is perfect for bridging the gap between young adult and adult reading. Take note: these 12 selections often contain mature situations and language that could be considered controversial.

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Interests
Diversity,Fiction,Mature Readers,LGBTQ+,Novels,Realistic Fiction
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