Laura Ruby Laura Ruby

Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All

Thirteen Doorways
  • National Book Award Finalist
  • Amazon Best YA Novel of 2019
  • New York Times Best YA Novel of 2019
  • Chicago Public Library Best of the Best
  • NPR Best YA Novel of 2019
  • Booklist Best YA Novel of 2019
  • SLJ Best YA Novel of 2019
  • Shelf Awareness Best YA Novel of 2019
  • Book Page's #1 YA Novel of 2019

  • From the author of the Printz Medal Winter Bone Gap comes a tale of two young women—one living, one dead—dealing with loss, desire, and the fragility of the American dream.

    When Frankie's mother died and her father left her and her siblings at an orphanage in Chicago, she thought it was only temporary—just long enough for him to get back on his feet. That's why she is not prepared for the day 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 at 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 wondering if the life she is able to carve out will be enough.

    I will admit, I don't know the answer to this last question. But I will be watching, waiting to find out.

    That's what ghosts do.

    Discussion Guide (pdf)


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    Balzer + Bray (October 2019), 384 pages, ISBN: 978-0062317643



    "Pearl's back story and Frankie's journey are skillfully interwoven so that parallels appear, driving the reader forward to several surprising revelations. This novel deserves to be read by a wide audience of teenagers and adults. It is haunting and hopeful in equal measure."
       —The New York Times

     "Ruby's delicate, powerful storytelling reveals profound, bewitching truths about the vast, sometimes cruel, sometimes loving, possibilities of human nature. Subtle and stunning."
       —Booklist (STARRED REVIEW)

     "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."
       —School Library Journal (STARRED REVIEW)

     "Fans... will relish this ultimately hopeful tale."

    "...the young women in Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All try to take control of their futures in a society bent on dictating how women should behave. With the same literary finesse exercised in her Printz-winning Bone Gap, Laura Ruby portrays women throwing open as many doors as they can, prepared to face whatever's on the other side."
       —Shelf Awareness (STARRED REVIEW)

    "Stop whatever you are reading right now and get your hands on a copy of Laura Ruby's Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All. If literature exists to make us think, to broaden our minds, to make a difference, then there can be no better a book to read right now. That one of the main characters is a ghost on a crash course with her own past just adds to the inherent drama that Ruby creates in this powerful and powerfully prescient historical novel."
       —Locus Magazine

    Thirteen Doorways
    Bone Gap
    Bad Apple
    Play Me
    Good Girls