Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All

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.


“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.”
School Library Journal, Starred Review
“A layered, empathetic examination of the ghosts inside all girls’ lives, full of historical realism and timeless feeling.”
Kirkus Reviews
“An almost impossible-to-put-down storyline filled with unexpected plot twists.”
—Common Sense Media
“Ruby is a skilled hand at creating an evocative narrative tapestry. Her history-infused details feel achingly real…”
—Caitlyn Paxson, NPR
“A beautiful and lyrical read that pushes against the boundaries of what we often think a young adult novel can contain, Thirteen Doorways is sure to garner Ruby even more acclaim.”
“[A] soaring, stunning novel.”
The Buffalo News


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

Interviews & Articles

New York Times Book Review
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NPR Book Review
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Locus Magazine Book Review
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The making of Thirteen Doorways: Interview with Audible
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The B&N YA Podcast: Laura Ruby
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