May 19, 2012

The Humming Room by Ellen Potter {Review}

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Publish Date: February 28, 2012
Source: Library
Hiding is Roo Fenshaw'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.

I’ll be honest, I’ve seen the movie, yes, and my mother read the book to me when I was younger, but I honestly don’t remember The Secret Garden that much. With that being said, you should know that The Humming Room does a fantastic job of standing on its own.

When I first began reading The Humming Room it just seemed a little strange, but as I read on I felt myself getting used to the world and the characters and really growing to like them. Roo was kind of prickly (I don’t usually say this about characters since it makes me think of cacti, but it works) she also wasn’t afraid to tell you how she felt. I appreciated the fact that Roo was a rather quiet girl but could really make herself be heard if she wanted to. Violet was another favorite character. She was just so happy and friendly it would be impossible not to like her.

I really appreciated the subtle creepiness you get from the first half of the book before you start getting some answers. What with the old children’s hospital, parts of it kind of felt like one of those creepy asylum movies, but not quite so scary.

I really, really liked how the garden played into the story. It had so much character of its own wasn’t just some overlooked thing tossed in for effect. I don’t want to give anything away, though, so I’ll leave it at that.

The Nutshell: I’m sure fans of The Secret Garden will enjoy The Humming Room as well, but you don’t have to know anything about the former to enjoy this story. It has characters with plenty of personality and some with a bit of spunk. There’s a little creepiness that kind of sneaks its way into you, but by the end you won’t be left with that feeling at all. If you want a good, quick read, The Humming Room is a book for you.

Pages: 192
Series: No
Rating: Hit


  1. This looks quite good! Great review! I've not read The Secret Garden but I have seen the movie, so I'm intrigued. I'll be on the look-out from here on out! :D

  2. Yay! I'm so happy for this review, I loved this book. 'Prickly' is the perfect term for Roo! I don't use it often either, but for her, it is on the nose and no other word will do quite the same justice. I agree that this is a wonderful retelling, but will also work for those who haven't read The Secret Garden. I'd recommend it to young readers who are put off by the language of classics, as I feel many are.


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