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  • A Door Near Here
  • Written by Heather Quarles
  • Format: Paperback | ISBN: 9780440227618
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A Door Near Here

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Without even noticing, 15-year-old Katherine has become the head of her household. She hasn't had time to notice. Her single mother, an out-of-work alcoholic, has been in bed for weeks, leaving Katherine and her three younger siblings to band together and fend for themselves. But it has gotten harder and harder to maintain any sort of stability. There's no time for housework, food and money are running out, and the kids' teachers are starting to get suspicious. Worst of all, Katherine's youngest sister, Alisa, seems to be losing her grip on reality; she is obsessed with finding a door to the imaginary land of Narnia. And the longer they all struggle to maintain their pretense of normality, the more they have to fear--and to lose.


Alisa's fingers were digging into the knees of her jeans.  Her nails were turning white.  "Is she mad?" she asked.

I looked at her, wanting to hug her but at the same time feeling a weird sense of responsibility, like I should try to be at least sort of parental.  "Why would she be mad?" I asked carefully.

Alisa looked at the letter in my hands.  "Well .  .  .  what did she say?" she countered.

Smart.  I didn't smile, though.  "Why would she be mad, Alisa?"

She paused and then crumbled.  "She doesn't believe me."

"What doesn't she believe you about?"

"Narnia." Her voice was disappearing, so I reached out and took one of her hands to reassure her.  Then it registered what she'd said: "Narnia." Narnia?  Was this about that letter?  "What .  .  .  ," I started, then stopped.  I couldn't figure out what question to ask.  "What are you talking about?"

That came out wrong.  Alisa bit her lip but kept her head up.  "I told her I saw the door to Narnia," she said, her blue eyes looking not quite at me but off to one side.  "And I did.  In the woods.  I was trying to get to it, but Miss Barnes came and caught me before I could.  She ran faster than me.  And she yelled at me and the door disappeared .  .  .  because she made too much noise.  She scared it away."

"The door to Narnia," I echoed stupidly.
Heather Quarles

About Heather Quarles

Heather Quarles - A Door Near Here
Heather Quarles received her M.F.A. from Emerson College. A Door Near Here was her master's thesis.
Praise | Awards


"Sad, powerful, and compelling."
--VOYA, starred review

"This story of siblings trying their best to survive without a functioning parent [will] pull in almost every YA reader. . . . Memorable."
--KLIATT, starred review

"A painful, authentic story."

"Katherine's hard-edged and driven narration will draw teens."
--The Bulletin


WINNER 2001 Virginia Young Readers Program Award
WINNER 1997 Delacorte Press Prize for a First Young Adult Novel
WINNER 1999 Texas TAYSHAS High School Reading List
WINNER 1999 ALA Best Books for Young Adults

  • A Door Near Here by Heather Quarles
  • January 11, 2000
  • Family & Relationships
  • Laurel Leaf
  • $5.99
  • 9780440227618

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