C. E. White’s The Worlds Next Door introduces twelve-year-old Janie, who is fascinated by a neighbor’s derelict house. From her window at night she sees lights, but no one ever goes in or out. When she and her friend Reggie investigate, they discover the house is a portal to worlds such as Sian, where the ground wobbles, people look like polar bears, and residents desperately need help from Earth. Soon the kids find themselves getting their sea legs on a perilous mission to rescue Sian. The story appears intended for middle-grade readers, but characters’ philosophical discussions lend this story a more grown-up and allegorical feel.
Best for: Older children, yet parents may need to read aloud and explain some words; adult fans of inventive Christian fantasy and thoughtful theological fiction.
Discern: No major content challenges.