The Ten Thousand Doors of January
Oh my god I'm crying for the sake of my twelve-year-old self. I so desperately wanted a doorway into a world where I was wanted, where I was cosmic and important or even just could meet people who liked having me there. Portal fantasies were so popular with the younger set when I was 6-10 years old, and for a while there was a part of me that truly believed it could happen to me. I had a pocketknife and a book of matches ready in my pockets. I even kept a handful of pennies in a bag for a long time because a part of me wondered if I would need them, if foreign coins would be accepted in the land on the other side of my door.
I have a very clear memory of reading a short story by this author a couple years ago, and actually getting angry at the idea that many doors to other worlds exist--because I never did get one. I grew up instead, and by the time I was twelve I still wanted an escape but I didn't expect one. Now that I'm an adult, I think that's a much more common experience. Plenty of people need an escape that never comes. A book like this is bittersweet, especially if you have the bad luck to be still stuck in a reality that keeps trying its best to spit you out.
I do appreciate this updating of the portal fantasy genre, though. I'd love to see a few modern portal fantasies that reckon with power and imperialism the way TEN THOUSAND DOORS does, but written for adults rather than YA. Doors can open for us, too. Can't they?