The Blue Door
First of all, I have to say that the cover is really beautiful, and I think it does the story justice. I also enjoyed that the author clearly paid careful attention to Biblical theology when she built her world, and I think that paid off. The world building is very solid, and as a reader who grew up devouring inspirational fiction, I can see the hallmarks of her careful research layered within the fictional plot.
What Left Me Wanting More:
Unfortunately, I struggled with this book. It's a pretty short book, and almost nothing happens. Prissie is immediately introduced to the fact that angels walk among us, and that some of her friends and neighbors have a celestial secret, but that's about it for the "action." We spend most of the rest of the book with Prissie trying to understand angels and how the whole thing works. The end of the book suddenly introduces quite a few new characters, but we don't spend enough time with them to really get to know them or care about them at all. I think the author is ambitiously setting up something great for book two, but I wish she'd lengthened this book or sped up the pacing so that we could have action woven in around the contemplative parts.
I also struggled to like or relate to Prissie. She felt very young and old-fashioned to me, and this is coming from someone born and raised in the church and whose children are born and raised in the church as well. I'm all for sweetness and innocence in characters, but I *have* a fourteen year old in my home and Prissie never once sounds fourteen. It felt like the author was writing an idealized version of a fourteen year old without having spent time around today's teens to see if the speech patterns, thought patterns, available technology etc. all matched.
I think this book might be better suited for younger readers. I'm not sure why it's being marketed for 11+ because I feel that most teen readers (especially those used to the YA genre) will quickly set this book aside because they can't relate to Prissie or because of the pacing. Younger readers just moving out of chapter books and into middle grade fiction might find more to love here.
A carefully constructed world gets lost amid pacing issues and unrealistic characterization. There are good points to this book, and perhaps younger readers would enjoy it more.