A hardcover copy of Under the Whispering Door rests on a deck surrounded by fallen leaves, a window bookmark, and a red holiday Starbucks cup.

Review: Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune


Can you believe I managed to find Under the Whispering Door at a used bookstore? You bet I snatched it up the minute I saw it!

I don’t have a single bad thing to say about this book. I loved The House in the Cerulean Sea when I read it; it was such a whimsical and refreshing read. And this one was the same. It deals with some very heavy themes, and the main plotline deals with death, the afterlife, and grief. But Klune’s classic, quirky writing made this book such a joy to read. 

The humor in this book is hilarious, and with much more adult humor than in The House in the Cerulean Sea. I found myself laughing at jokes in nearly every chapter.

The characters are all well-rounded, with bright, distinctive personalities. Wallace, the main character, has a great character arc, after starting out as a workaholic asshole. And of course, the main setting of this book is a tea shop, and as a tea lover, I loved reading about Hugo—a ferryman and the owner of a tea shop called Charon’s Crossing Tea Shop. 

Like The House in the Cerulean Sea, Under the Whispering Door focuses on a found family. Though not quite as unique, with a lot of similarities to the former, this was a 5-star read based on the enjoyability of this book alone.

I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a slow-moving, character-driven, philosophical novel that explores what happens after death, with positive queer rep and dynamic characters. 

VERDICT: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

TW: Animal death (but not graphic or anything; just in relation to a dog ghost), anxiety, cancer (terminal), child death, death of parent (past, mentioned), depression, heart attack, suicide (mention), murder, outing (mentioned)

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