Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

The Humming Room
by Ellen Potter
Available February 28th
Feiwel and Friends

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. 

As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn't believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth.

Despite the best efforts of her uncle's assistants, Roo discovers the house's hidden room--a garden with a tragic secret. 

Inspired by The Secret Garden, this tale full of unusual characters and mysterious secrets is a story that only Ellen Potter could write.


First I'd like to say that though it says this novel was inspired by The Secret Garden, I thought I was reading a Middle Grade version of Jane Eyre.  Yes, there were a lot of differences, but the gothic setting, the hidden room, the crying, the secret rooms.  It all reminded me of  Jane Eyre.  But despite all that, I have to say, I loved Roo Fanshaw!  This is a kid that has been through it all.  She was hiding under her trailer, playing with the glass garden she had planted under there while the policemen are asking questions about the murder of her parents.  Roo is strong.  She compartmentalizes the pain and shuts it away. Save it for a day she can deal with it. She takes all the new experiences in stride .  I never felt sorry for her, she just wouldn't let me. She was so inquisitive and didn't follow the rules.  I loved everything about her from the way she hid in a little cave watching the water and learning the earth, to the way she explored the house when she was told not to.  She could listen to the earth and hear things growing.  She is one of my favorite protagonists in contemporary literature.

The other characters, and I'll only name a few, the nasty Ms. Valentine, the always cheerful and permissive Violet, the elusive, but loyal and educational Jack and the never present Uncle.  All of them add a lot to the story and  make for an adventurous time.  The story is laid out with great suspense and detail, but not too much. It's well thought out and enjoyable. The writing is easy to read and  feel and there is a great feeling of what's going to happen next and I couldn't stop reading it until I finished it.   Yes, it's like the Secret Garden and Jane Eyre and Roo is going to forever be in my heart for her bravery and her unwillingness to give up even in the face of insurmountable odds.


I honestly don't know if this is a Middle Grade book or a YA book but it would be fine for either. It's light on the romance and big on the mystery. But the main characters are 14 or so I'm not sure if that makes it YA or not. I didn't think it was that close to the Secret Garden. There were a lot of mysteries to be discovered other than the Secret Garden. I highly recommend this one!

I received an ARC of this from the publisher through NetGalley. I was in no way compensated for my review.
This is one I will be buying for my shelf to keep to read again.



Heather

7 comments:

  1. This sounds amazing! I love the Secret Garden and Jane Eyre, and this has ghost stories and unusual characters. I'm definitely going to check this one out!

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  2. Oh I've been waiting to see a review on this one! I wasn't sure about it cause I thought it was MG but sounds like the characters are old enough to keep me interested. And Roo sounds great! Adding this one to my WL!

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  3. You had me at Secret Garden. Love the names Roo and Cough Rock.

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  4. I love The Secret Garden, I love Jane Eyre, love the sound of this book. There are a few books that I'm never sure if they are really Middle Grade or YA, but I love both groups so either way it's a win! Adding this to my TBR list, thanks for bringing the book to my attention.

    - Jessica @ Book Sake

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  5. This sounds like a great book to give to some MG kids I know! It does sound like a classic in the making.

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  6. Yep, this one could be either one. The story takes place in an old children's hospital. Imagine renovating that to live in! No thanks!

    Heather

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