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Review: The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

[ 3 ] August 10, 2012 |

Reviewed by Jessa Larsen

Roo Fanshaw gets through life by being skilled in hiding from the world. Her life and family are frighteningly unstable and thus she must survive by disappearing within a moment’s notice. When her parents are suddenly murdered, her excellent hiding skills are exactly what end up saving her life. Roo is then whisked away to live with her eccentric uncle on his mysterious mansion on an island. The house and island are filled with mysterious things… and people. It fills Roo with all sorts of questions. Who is the mysterious boy who swims the rivers? Why do the inhabitants of the house seem elusive and full of secrets? What is the tragic mystery behind the secret room?

Ellen Potter does a tolerable job at rewriting what she likes to call a story “inspired by The Secret Garden”. The Humming Room is well written and interesting enough, but it’s simply not what I would call inspired. It’s The Secret Garden with the names of people and locations changed up to something newly nonsensical.

I can see why young children reading this book might be entertained as it is definitely shorter than the original book, but I would advise simply picking up a copy of The Secret Garden and reading that instead. I would also like to suggest to the author that next time she writes something inspired by other fiction, to kindly change it up a bit more and make it something at least a tad more original.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

Jessa lives in Utah with her husband, 2 sons, 2 cats, and 2 dogs. She goes to school full time as an English major with a focus in creative writing. She likes anime and reads books and plays video games in her moments of spare time.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Feiwel & Friends. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Category: Ages 12 and Under, Children's Books

Comments (3)

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  1. 2
    Colleen Turner says:

    I really loved The Secret Garden so it’s sad this book didn’t stand up to its inspiration. The cover is beautiful, though! If I had a daughter I think I would probably still pick it up to see if she would like it, but from the description I don’t think this would be something my son would really enjoy. No super heroes, bizarre creatures, sword fighting or dark ninjas…he would probably start having his own story in his head before I could finish reading :). Thanks for the review!

  2. 1
    Carol Wong says:

    Sorry to hear that this one doesn’t seem to up to the genre standards as far as inspiration.

    Hint to those in the standard, write it with a kid. That kind of collabaration can bring some wonderful surprises. How about it, Coleen?

    Carol Wong

    • 1.1
      Colleen Turner says:

      I agree! A child’s mind goes in different (and sometimes really bizarre) directs then an adults and could really help make it more appealing to a child and, in the process, unlike any other books already out there (since they wouldn’t have already read most of the classics I would assume). If you give a child a basic outline of what the story is about they can shoot off of that into all sorts of strange and interesting places. I know with my son, who is seven, he will just come up with these wild stories involving dragons and ninjas and all sorts of action…something I would never be able to do now :).

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