100 Cupboards #1. Author: N. D. Wilson.
Twelve-year-old Henry York is going to sleep one night when he hears a bump on the attic wall above his head. It’s an unfamiliar house—Henry is staying with his aunt, uncle, and three cousins—so he tries to ignore it. But the next night he wakes up with bits of plaster in his hair. Two knobs have broken through the wall, and one of them is slowly turning…
Henry scrapes the plaster off the wall and discovers doors—ninety-nine cupboards of all different sizes and shapes. Through one he can hear the sound of falling rain. Through another he sees a glowing room—with a man strolling back and forth! Henry and his cousin Henrietta soon understand that these are not just cupboards. They are, in fact, portals to other worlds.
Hovering right between 2.5 and 3 stars. The story takes a while to get going, and while Henry is fairly interesting as a withdrawn, sheltered protagonist his behavior also seems inconsistent. Sometimes he’s totally shy and polite, sometimes he’s scared stiff of adventure, and sometimes he strips the wall of his borrowed bedroom apart without a second thought? He seems like the type of kid who’d run and tell a grownup when something goes wrong, so it’s also clearly plot-driven that he tries to keep the uncle in the dark.
The cupboard idea itself is fun, and I wholly approve of the cat as a character (he needed more scenes, honestly).
Sexual Content: None.
Violence: Some of the violence is situation-specific, so I put it all in a spoiler-cut, but hopefully none of it is too spoiler-y. Brief version: there’s a little bloodshed, (cat claws, knives), nothing deadly, one incident of dismembermant (no described gore) and a slightly more dramatic battle near the end with some heavy blows and magical-induced unconsciousness.
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The request for 100 Cupboards came in the other day, and I’m delighted to let you know that it’s on hold for me at my library!
I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump, and this middle-grade world-hopping fantasy looks rad. It’ll be coming right up in a day or two. (Did you guys know I love getting requests? It’s the best thing!)