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My New Favorite Read: “Under the Whispering Door” by TJ Klune

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

As both a busy college student and an avid reader, I can never seem to make time during the school year to pick up books. For this reason, I like to read as much as I can during summer break. Among the many books I finished before September, one of my most memorable five-star reads was The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, a heartwarming, found-family fantasy book that is a popular recommendation on BookTok. Compared to all the underwhelming book recommendations I’ve experienced on TikTok, Klune’s New York Times bestseller proved to be as close to perfect a book can be — it’s not often a book hits all the right marks and ends in happy tears, but Klune’s writing comes alive in a way that grabs a hold of readers. From the middle-aged LGBTQ+ representation I didn’t know I needed to a most endearing son of the devil, TJ Klune simultaneously gave me a book hangover and also made me excited for his future releases. 

His long-awaited next release came out this September. Under the Whispering Door is about the ghost of Wallace Price, a strict and rude businessman who is not missed by anyone when he dies of a heart attack. However, not ready to pass onto the afterlife yet, Wallace lingers in the place in between (a tea shop in the woods) and, surrounded by the right people, begins to live his life in death. 

Klune is known not only for his LGBTQ+ representation in his novels but also for his trademark humor that brings his quirky, lovable characters to life. Anyone who adored The House in the Cerulean Sea is sure to similarly love Klune’s take on the supernatural as it’s just more of the same thing. It’s not often one finds solace in a book primarily about death, but TJ Klune has a remarkable way with words. The cycle of life and death, the grief that comes after, affects everyone differently, but this book is like a hug for every individual. 

Most sentences in this book can be framed on a wall. Some made me laugh, others made me cry, and overall, Under the Whispering Door was one of those books that reminded me why we read. I leave you with one of my favorite quotes in the hopes you will be reminded, too: 

“Yes, he thought maybe he mattered after all, a lesson in the unexpected. Wasn’t that the point? Wasn’t that the great answer to the mystery of life? To make the most of what you have while you have it, the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. In death, Wallace had never felt more alive.” 

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Lynn is a sophomore from NJ studying Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. In her free time, she likes color coding her notes and watching home tours on YouTube.