Book Review

The Door That Led to Where – Sally Gardner

“‘You will never amount to anything, AJ Flynn. Not with one GCSE.’ 

Here she went again, drumming into him the heavy-metal sentence of failure. But today, a month after he’d received his disastrous GCSE results, his mum’s rage seemed to have developed a purpose. This time her fury was accompanied by a culinary cacophony, as if the pots and pans were personally responsible.”

AJ never liked school, he never liked home either. When his mum sends him off to a job interview she’s arranged AJ expects to find himself mopping floors and cleaning loos, but instead he’s offered a chance to become someone, something, in a law firm in the old part of town. As AJ’s work life seems to get better things around him seem to fall apart and to make matters even stranger AJ finds himself holding a key, a key with his own name and date of birth on it. The key leads to a door, but a door that leads to where? or When? AJ steps through to find himself in a tumbledown house, within a city booming with trade, people and a murder mystery case that AJ is convinced doesn’t stop in this time or place. The door leads to a London completely different to that AJ knows, but one he will find he has strong connections to all the same. 


I have always been impressed with Sally Gardner’s work and when I heard what The Door That Led to Where was about I knew it was worth seeking out as soon as possible. The mystery, setting and characters hooked me in straight away and although they were nothing like what the author has produced before they were yet another testament to how brilliant she is.

There wasn’t much I didn’t love about this book… The two time periods were made interesting and intriguing because of the where the story took place and the character that were involved. I loved AJ, his mates, Elsie, Esme and others I don’t even want to go into for fear of spoiling things for those who are yet to read. I loved the idea of the story and how AJ came to be in the situation he got himself into and I loved how it reminded the reader not to judge people for how they appear and to get to know them for who they actually are first.

The murder mystery part of the story was obviously the biggest part of the book because it brought everyone together, however it was my least favourite part because I worked it out well in advance of any of the characters. I did enjoy it and I still loved seeing how those characters joined the dots but I thought it was made quite obvious to the reader and that bugged me a little bit.

Other than that the book was fantastic. I loved the way it was written with a focus on AJ as he finds out more about his past and his family, helps his friends and becomes the person he was destined to always become. There is a massive crime/mystery element to the book but it is also a coming of age story, which is different to others because it takes place within different time periods.

I honestly cant fault The Door That Led to Where and I think I will be recommending it for month, if not years, to come. Sally Gardner is one of the most well-rounded authors I have come across and I honestly think if you like her other work then you will love this, even if it is very different.

The Door That Led to Where was published on January 1st by Hot Key Books. My copy was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
To buy the book or for more info please visit:
Amazon | Hive | Goodreads | Author Website

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