Book Title: The Door To January
Author: Gillian French
REVIEWED BY: CHELSEA
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Time Travel
Pub Date: 09/05/17
Ever since sixteen-year-old Natalie Payson moved away from her hometown of Bernier, Maine, she’s had nightmares. And not just the usual ones. These are inside her, pulling her, calling her back, drawing her to a door, a house, a place, a time. Full of fear, full of danger. So this summer, Natalie’s going back to Bernier to face up to a few things: the reason she left town in the first place; the boy she’s trying hard not to trust; and the door in her dreams. But once she goes through the door, into a murky past, she’s entangled in someone else’s world. And only Natalie can help right the wrongs of both the past and the present.
When I first discovered The Door To January in my mailbox I immediately fell in love with the cover. I am always on the lookout for Young Adult novels that are a quick read and don’t require a long term investment on my end, and this one fit the bill perfectly. The blurb is fairly vague and I wasn’t 100% sure what the book would involve, but I was intrigued and excited to have found a story that felt so different than what is being published in the genre today. Initially I assumed the book had something to do with ghosts of the past, but I wasn’t aware that it was more along the lines of a mainstream Sci-Fi than a haunting. I say this because I found it refreshing and unique as opposed to the same old tale I was expecting; you know, the one we’ve seen multiple times over for teens? Not so here!
The beginning had a slow start, one that established the setting and characters before jumping into the plot full on. I thoroughly enjoyed the pacing and found the characters likable and relatable, people we could root for. Because of the slow building suspense and snippets of action, the story is definitely character driven but not boring in the least. The aspect of time travel being crafted into such a modern concept through nightmares really hooked my attention; sometimes dueling POVs can get messy but I felt this is what kept the book glued together and functioning as it should. I know some readers are turned off by the idea of time travel, as it seems too much outside their comfort zone, but this novel felt more like a historical thriller geared toward a young adult audience. It’s difficult to explain, but The Door To January isn’t easily classified in any 1-2 genres.
If you’re looking for a unique read that will spice up your usual schedule and style of books, I highly recommend giving this one a go. This novel was ever-changing; every time I thought I had it pinned down it grew and matured and turned in a direction I wasn’t quite expecting. I think that fans of speculative fiction with a focus on characters of a younger age will really enjoy this; there are some difficult topics covered with the kidnapping of young girls, but I felt it was tastefully done and nothing was over the top in a gratuitous form with graphic content. I’m really excited to see what others think of this one; add this to your fall reading list as it’s quick, exciting, and different!
*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy; it was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts here. I’m really excited to help kick off the blog tour on September 5th!