After reading House on the Cerulean Sea, I just knew that I'd love whatever TJ Klune published!
Under the Whispering Door begins with Wallace, an embittered lawyer whose entire life has been about his job. He's firing someone and she's crying and he doesn't really care.
Then, something happens.
Wallace dies the next day. Heart attack. He went quickly.
At his funeral, he sees a woman he doesn't know, and there are only a few people there to begin with. No one can see him, right? Because he's dead. But this woman does.
Lo and behold, the woman, Mei, is a Reaper, come to guide his soul into the next. She brings Wallace to Charon's Crossing, a tea house in basically the middle of nowhere, to the ferryman, Hugo, who is meant to help Wallace into the afterlife.
Y'all. I had a feeling I would enjoy this book, but I didn't expect for it to make me laugh out loud or cry. It did both.
At the tea shop, Wallace goes through many stages of grief. Anger. Denial. Depression. I really liked the way Klune showed this, because he also showed how it doesn't always happen in stages, nor does it happen in order.
One of my favorite tropes has always been found family. Here, Wallace finds his family in Mei, Hugo, and a couple of friendly ghosts (including a loyal pupper!) along the way.
This story is a beautifully crafted piece of literature. Klune has so much heart. His stories are whimsical. They're funny and beautiful and, most of all, gay!
Do NOT sleep on this book, yall. It's SO good.