When Jacqueline Dooley contacted Lacuna Loft about her new book, Doorways to Arkomo, I was really excited to read it. Once I read it, I was really excited to share it with my favorite 13 year old, Sebastian, who is dealing with cancer himself. The book is about two, 11 year old girls, one from our world who is also battling cancer and one from a fantasy world called Arkomo. All proceeds from the first year of sales will be donated to different charities and organizations that help children with cancer and other illnesses. You can read more about the author’s pledge to donate here. The book is a great gift for children, aged 9-12 or anyone who likes reading fantasy novels!
Mallory’s review: I found Doorways to Arkomo to be an inviting read that a few chapters into the novel pulled me in completely. The book explores two different worlds: our own and Arkomo. In each world is a young heroine, fighting to be like everyone else though each one is battling something different. Grace, from our world, is in and out of the hospital throughout the book due to a cancer diagnosis. Sorel, from Arkomo, remains a hidden secret in her world because of a complicated prophecy. The book spends some initial time going back and forth between the two worlds. I found this part of the story to be the part I liked least. There was clearly important information about the Arkomo world that was frequently hinted at yet not divulged….I find this frustrating in any book. I also would find myself wanting to return to the world of the previous chapter for the first few pages of the next one. I know many people who like a good teaser though!
After a few chapters, I was hooked. The book is written for a younger than me audience yet the physical descriptions and character development are wonderfully composed. The honesty with which the novel approaches childhood cancer, including all of the extremely messy emotions involved from the side of parent and child, is like a breath of fresh air in comparison to today’s media where cancer is being glammed up by Hollywood. Doorways to Arkomo is about friendship, survival, and about facing something incredible with courage and strength.
Bastian’s review (as told to Mallory and paraphrased): I’ll say one thing, the book was really good and I can’t wait for the next one. The book was very real. Kids get sick. These things happen. I could really understand Grace’s emotions as she was in the hospital and preparing for treatments. I hated the doctors and the nurses just like she did. They were doing all of the things to me that were so uncomfortable. The fantasy in the book makes it so that the reader isn’t depressed the whole time though. The bits of fantasy in between the parts of the story set in our world help to lighten up the story. I’m really excited to read the next book. I didn’t even read the teaser for the next book at the end of Doorways to Arkomo because I wanted to wait.
Other things Bastian told me while we were hanging out…I didn’t really like talking to the other kids at the hospital. You always end up talking about why you’re in there and I didn’t want to talk more about my cancer and all of the tests.
Alright! Now is the really fun part! A GIVEAWAY!!! You can get your very own signed copy of the book for free! All you have to do is comment here on the blog post or on our facebook page and offer up your reason for wanting to read the book! Maybe you love fantasy books, maybe you know a young person suffering from cancer or a young person who loves to read? We want to know! 🙂 If you are interested in buying the book, you can purchase it directly from the author (for a signed version) or on amazon in paper formor ebook. Jacqueline’s next book, Doorways Home, is expected out this year!
As always, let us know what you think once you read the book!