Review: Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby

Title: Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby, Narrated by Lisa Flanagan

Published: October 1, 2019 by Balzer + Bray

Format: Audiobook

Rating: 5/5 ★★★★★

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Notes: I listened to this audiobook on Libby, an extension of Overdrive that works with your local library to give you audiobooks and ebooks, among other things, with your library card. I highly recommend checking out Libby/Overdrive and this book!


from Amazon

National Book Award 2019 Finalist!

From the author of Printz Medal winner Bone Gap comes the unforgettable story of two young women—one living, one dead—dealing with loss, desire, and the fragility of the American dream during WWII.

When Frankie’s mother died and her father left her and her siblings at an orphanage in Chicago, it was supposed to be only temporary—just long enough for him to get back on his feet and be able to provide for them once again. That’s why Frankie’s not prepared for the day that 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 alongside so many other orphans—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 spent wondering if the life she’s able to carve out will be enough.

I will admit I do not know the answer. But I will be watching, waiting to find out.

That’s what ghosts do.


I came into this book not quite knowing what to expect and I left absolutely loving it. I remember trying to find chores to do just so I could listen to this audiobook and hear more of Frankie’s and the ghost girl’s story.

“Because the dead never sleep, you see. We have so many other important things to do.”

The story is narrated mostly through the perspective of a ghost which is everything when I thought it’d be limiting. It was so interesting to explore the ghost girl’s narrative and see her’s and Frankie’s storyline match up. I didn’t follow along with the ghost’s story as much as Frankie’s, but I did enjoy the touch of paranormal there among a very hard hitting story.

Frankie’s character spoke to me perfectly. Her maturity and responsibility to be the younger, stronger sibling when her family situation was rocky was something very familiar to me.

“Sometimes joy is the only defense you have, and your only weapon”

This book was emotional. Shall I count the was thee made me cry? I won’t, because then I’d spoil it and I’d hate myself for that. But I did actually shed tears. That never happens to me! I became incredibly emotionally invested very quickly, which surprised me in the best way. The relationships were real and complex and beautiful in the way that only human relationships can be sometimes. The plot was interesting, sure, but it was the character development that really made the story something special for me.

“‘We only get scraps in this lousy life. Take what you can get, do you hear me?'”

This book is set during WWII, so you get the emotion of the bombing on Pearl Harbor, drafting, and the war. The bombing on Pearl Harbor was so moving, so well written, that I felt genuine anxiety and apprehension while reading it. I know about Pearl Harbor very well, so to be this involved in the story and engrossed by the character’s emotions that I was shocked by something I knew through and through made me appreciate the story and writing even more. Sam, everything about his character and his small storyline, made my heart full and then break all at once. The ending, while a tad predictable, was done inventively and was a perfect end to such a well crafted story.

In conclusion, I loved this book and I highly suggest picking up the audiobook or just reading it in general.

*The picture will take you to my Instagram page, where I briefly screamed about this book because I really loved it 🙂

Thanks for reading! For more bookish content, follow me on Goodreads, Instagram, and Twitter. See you in the next post. Love, Destiny

4 thoughts on “Review: Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby

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