Friday, March 2, 2012

Book Review: The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

By: Ellen Potter
Published by: Feiwel and Friends
Released on: February 28th, 2012
Source: ARC from publisher to review
Ages: 9 & up
5 stars: I LOVED It!
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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. -quoted from Goodreads

I love classic tellings and wow, Ellen Potter has done a beautiful job at retelling, and recreating her own version The Secret Garden with her newest release, The Humming Room. This magical story has a similar feel to this beloved classic, and yet if offers a new generation a whole new story of love, friendship and courage. This is truly an enchanting story that left me feeling completely satisfied and wanting so much more from it all at the same time.

Young Roo has had a rough start to her eleven years of life, but this girl is strong, resilient and doesn't lack courage. Roo is a character who starts out wild and rough around the edges and slowly, over time becomes a bright young girl full of life and love. I adored Roo and the transformation she makes through out the course of this story and the things she uncovers. After her parents are murdered she's taken in by her mysterious Uncle she didn't know she had to a strange and enchanting place called Cough Rock, where this dark and mysterious house sits. One of the things I loved about this story is the setting, and it's timeless feel. Set in a house full of history, and nestled on a lake fueled by stories and magic, Roo makes some startling discoveries about her new home, herself and her family. Cough Rock becomes more than just a setting as the story progresses, it becomes like a character and I love that when authors are able to make their settings come to life like that.

Ellen Potter is a masterful storyteller. She has a way with words and her vivid descriptions of not only her settings, but her characters is brilliant. She has this flawless ability to paint a mental image of each scene in my mind by the way she tells the story of Roo. It's not just Roo that I fell in love with, but her secondary characters as well. Jack, Phillip and Violet are just as strong characters as Roo. I adored the way they all interacted and they friendships that developed as the story unfolds. This book is simply a gem of a story. It's one of those books that belongs on the shelf with the rest of your beloved children's classic fairytales and beloved children's classics. If you're looking for a beautiful story to sit and enjoy on a lovely afternoon, go pick this one up!


  1. What an interesting premise! I've only read one Ellen Potter book (Slob), but was impressed by its compassion. And I love The Secret Garden. Must look into this!

  2. It really is. The entire book was fascinating. I've not read her book Slob, but I loved her the Kneebone Boy. I'd say this one is my favorite yet. I hope you enjoy it.

  3. I loved The Secret Garden. I'll have to check this out. Thanks for reviewing it.

    1. You're welcome! If you loved The Secret Garden I think you'll really enjoy this one too.

  4. This book sounds so great. I love The Secret Garden, so I really want to read this book. I am so glad that it is done well. I absolutely love re-tellings. It's nice to read some of my favorite classics in a new light. Awesome review!

    1. It's fabulous! If you loved The Secret Garden and enjoy re-tellings, I think you'll love this one! Thank you for your comment!


I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~