Title: The Humming Room
Author: Ellen Potter
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Published: February 28, 2912
Page #: 182
Source: ARC from the publisher
"Hiding is Roo Fanshaw's special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment's notice. When her parents are murdered, it's her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life.
Roo is consequently taken in by her wealthy, eccentric uncle to live in a house filled with ghosts and secrets on Cough Rock Island. Who is that unusual wild boy floating down the river? Why are the inhabitants of the house lying to her? And what is the tragic secret in the house's secret room? Inspired by The Secret Garden, this tale of quirky characters, mysterious secrets, and surprising growth is a story that only Ellen Potter could write."
"There are no road signs to mark the tiny village of Limpette. It lies between two towns that you have never heard of. If you pass Ostrander's goat farm, you've gone too far."
I had heard some really awesome things about this book, so I was excited when I got an ARC of it. The cover is so imaginative and made me curious about the story inside. The first chapter will truly grab you - I can pretty much promise that.
Roo Fanshaw is an orphan - she is sent to live with her uncle (previously unknown) on a strange island miles away from things she knows. She is very good at hiding and sets her sights on exploring the island and the house where she is stuck. There are many surprises to be found within the house - one of which is another relative she didn't know about. Together they release some of the magic that has been stored in the house for so long.
The cover mentions that this is a revamp of the story from The Secret Garden. It's been a long time since I've read that book, but I remember loving it. I can definitely see some of the similarities and how the story is formed. But otherwise, I don't really remember enough about it to compare. There is a sense of magic throughout the story that is never really named, but gives the book a mystical and otherwordly feel. Very cool effect.
It's interesting to see the changes in Roo as she explores her uncle's island. It doesn't seem to be very big, and she has a hard time finding proper hiding places. The descriptions of the house itself are very interesting. I had a little difficulty trying to picture it, but it seemed like a very strange place to live anyway. Odd things were blocked off... a whole wing of the house is forbidden... and so on. Though, it occurs to me now that I don't remember an explanation for that bit. Hmm.
All in all, it's a very good story. I thought the whole friendship with Jack was very well done. I loved the various characters that would show up - the post man, the doctor, the tutor, etc. Each one had their own misgivings about the island and its inhabitants. There was always an element of old wives tales throughout the book - which was interesting to me. It's funny how other people's tales can seem so odd when yours are just as strange.
If you're looking for a great middle grade read, I definitely recommend this one. I think middle school students will find the magic of this book to be intriguing. I loved being transported back into a Secret Garden-type world where making things grow is the number one priority. :) It really was a lovely book and I plan on passing it along. Enjoy!
Other Blog Reviews:
Nicole's YA Book Haven
Stories and Sweeties
Sweet on Books Blog
The Hollow Cupboards
The Book Rat
Waking Brain Cells