Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

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The Humming Room 
by Ellen Potter
192 pages
Feiwel & Friends 
February 2012

Book Jacket Summary
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.  

My Thoughts
The Humming Room is inspired by The Secret Garden and it really shows. The plot is very similar but the characters have a life of their own. Roo is a feisty twelve year old that has a special connection with the earth and can hear it sing when she listens real hard. She goes to stay with her uncle after her father dies at Cough Rock Island. Roo is hard at first but softens when making friends with Violet and the wild boy, Jack. Also, she finds her cousin Phillip who is suffering from depression after his mother's death. Ellen Potter does a great job of making the story her own with the setting of a former children's hospital with tales of ghosts and urban legends. There is an almost mythical setting to the book as Jack has his connection with animals and Roo with the earth. I love the setting of the island and Roo falling in love with the river.
This book made me want to reread The Secret Garden and watch the 1949 Margaret O'Brien version. It is my favorite because it is in back and white until the garden is restored and they use color. It is a great version and you should check it out.
Overall it was a diverting read and reminded me how much I love The Secret Garden!

Book Pairings
Three Times Lucky by Shelia Turnage
Tilly's Moonlight Garden by Julia Green
Keeper by Kathi Appelt 



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