Reading level: Middle Grade
Size: 192 pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: ARC through Amazon Vine
Rating: 4/5 stars
I got an advanced copy of this book to review through Amazon Vine. I loved Potter’s first book, The Kneebone Boy, and was very excited to see what this second book would be like. It was an fun read. It is based off of The Secret Garden which I haven’t read (hangs head in shame). It has a lot of quirky characters, very subtle magic, and a wonderful mystery.
Hiding is Roo’s special talent, which is a good thing. When Roo’s parents are murdered in their trailer she is hiding beneath it. This saves her life, but leaves her homeless. Then she finds out that she has a rich eccentric uncle who lives out on Cough Rock Island in a strange house that was once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children. Roo hears a strange humming from certain parts of the house and wants to unravel the mysteries of both the house and the island itself.
Like The Kneebone Boy, this book is full of quirky characters, beautiful imagery, and many mysteries. You are really drawn into the story by the mystery of the Humming room and by the fact that Roo might get sent away from her Uncle if she can’t learn to fit in better. I loved all of the characters; they all have their special little quirks. Roo is wonderful at hiding and the two boys she meet on the island have their own peculiarities. In the end the story is about friendship and finding out where you belong in life.
It is a very short read, but is very well written and fun to read. There isn’t a ton of fantasy in the story so I hesitate to list it as fantasy…it’s more magical realism. The magic throughout is subtle; there are small things that happen here and there that just can’t be explained without something magical going on.
Overall I enjoyed it. It is a great read for middle grade readers who love mystery and are interested in reading about a girl who is trying to find her place in a life where she just can’t seem to fit in. I would recommend to fantasy readers as well just because there is a hint of mysterious magic unexplained throughout the book. If you liked The Kneebone Boy I think you will enjoy this book as well. If you love mystery and quirky, interesting characters definitely go and pick this book up.
This book goes towards the following reading challenge:
– 150+ Books Reading Challenge