Cover image for A door near here
A door near here
Quarles, Heather.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Del Laurel-Leaf, 2000.

Physical Description:
231 pages ; 18 cm
Four siblings struggle to maintain a seminormal home life when their single mother's alcoholism becomes debilitating.
Reading Level:
860 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.1 10.0 28285.

Reading Counts RC High School 5.6 13 Quiz: 13981 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Mass Market Paperback Open Shelf

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Without even noticing, 15-year-old Katherine has become the head of her household. She hasn't had time to notice. Her single mother, an out-of-work alcoholic, has been in bed for weeks, leaving Katherine and her three younger siblings to band together and fend for themselves. But it has gotten harder and harder to maintain any sort of stability. There's no time for housework, food and money are running out, and the kids' teachers are starting to get suspicious. Worst of all, Katherine's youngest sister, Alisa, seems to be losing her grip on reality; she is obsessed with finding a door to the imaginary land of Narnia. And the longer they all struggle to maintain their pretense of normality, the more they have to fear--and to lose.

Author Notes

Heather Quarles received her M.F.A. from Emerson College. A Door Near Here was her master's thesis.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

PW's starred review said, "A candid narrative voice joins with skillful pacing" for this story of 15-year-old Katherine, who tries to conceal her alcoholic mother's incapacity from authorities to prevent the family from being split up. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Alisa's fingers were digging into the knees of her jeans.  Her nails were turning white.  "Is she mad?" she asked. I looked at her, wanting to hug her but at the same time feeling a weird sense of responsibility, like I should try to be at least sort of parental.  "Why would she be mad?" I asked carefully. Alisa looked at the letter in my hands.  "Well .  .  .  what did she say?" she countered. Smart.  I didn't smile, though.  "Why would she be mad, Alisa?" She paused and then crumbled.  "She doesn't believe me." "What doesn't she believe you about?" "Narnia." Her voice was disappearing, so I reached out and took one of her hands to reassure her.  Then it registered what she'd said: "Narnia." Narnia?   Was this about that letter?  "What .  .  .  ," I started, then stopped.  I couldn't figure out what question to ask.  "What are you talking about?" That came out wrong.  Alisa bit her lip but kept her head up.  "I told her I saw the door to Narnia," she said, her blue eyes looking not quite at me but off to one side.  "And I did.   In the woods.  I was trying to get to it, but Miss Barnes came and caught me before I could.  She ran faster than me.  And she yelled at me and the door disappeared .  .  .  because she made too much noise.  She scared it away." "The door to Narnia," I echoed stupidly. Excerpted from A Door near Here by Heather Quarles All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.