Friday, March 2, 2012

Review: The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

Title: The Humming Room
Author: Ellen Potter
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Age Group: Middle Grade
Category:  Fantasy
Release date: February 28th, 2012
Pages: 192 (Hardcover)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Won

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.

First, I'll admit that I never read The Secret Garden when I was younger.  I knew the plot and while The Humming Room is strikingly similar, I can tell that it has its slight differences.  Roo is a curious girl who would rather hide in small spaces than be alone in a large empty room.  She is, after all, very small for her age, to the point where she looks about 4 years younger.  She's normally very quiet, only talking when she has to, and she prefers listening to everything that most people wouldn't pay much attention to.  You may not believe it, but hiding from the rest of the world can have a slight upside.

I quite liked Roo's quirkiness and adventurous nature.  She seemed fearless of most things, even when I felt a little uneasy at the time she first hears the humming behind the walls.  Overall, the story was very heavy from the murder of her parents to being brought to live in a building on an island that was once used to isolate children with tuberculosis.  While living there she uncovers some secrets she would have never imagined.

That being said, the story isn't all that depressing and eerie.  The ending came a little too soon for me, but seeing that Roo accomplished the goal she set, it left you on a happy note.  The author's writing is beautiful and I felt that it complimented this type of story incredibly well.  Everything blossomed in this story and it's one I recommend to anyone who loves a little darkness and adventure.