REVIEW The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

The Humming Room
by Ellen Potter
Feiwel & Friends
February 28, 2012
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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. 
Oh, I knew this was going to be a retelling of The Secret Garden, but I wasn't expecting THIS!  

This book was so good.  And it's not just my ever-abiding love of The Secret Garden saying that.  The book really is wonderful.

The Humming Room is a middle-grade novel that follows Roo, a young girl, after her father and her father's girlfriend are killed.  Roo hasn't had the best life, and she likes to be left alone so that she can curl herself up somewhere small and safe and listen to the sound of the ground beneath her.  But when her father is killed, she is whisked off to live with her uncle on--get this--Cough Rock Island, an island in the middle of nowhere that houses an abandoned children's hospital that her uncle has converted into his home.

At first, though Roo finds the place strange and a little creepy--the stories about the kids who died in the hospital as told to her by one of her uncle's staff really didn't help--but luckily her uncle is like her, and likes to be left alone.  It's only when a tutor is hired for her, one who follows her around everywhere, that Roo discovers the secrets that the island holds.

Seriously, this book wasn't what I was expecting at all, and yet it stayed true to the tale of The Secret Garden better than I ever expected it would.  The settings and the secrets of the house are completely different, though, and that was very exciting for me and I couldn't stop myself from flipping through the pages as fast as I could to find out what would happen next.

The characters were great too.  Roo, Jack and Peter were wonderful, and Violet, was charming.

This was such a wonderful read.  This is a book that I can totally picture giving my someday-children. 

Happy Reading Everyone!



  1. Love your blog! Is it just me, or is this book a Harry Potter marketing piggyback? The author's last name is Potter and her cover art is the exact same style as all the Harry Potter books. I was kinda shocked when I saw it at first, really. :) Glad to know the storytelling is not a copy though.

  2. I always wanted to read one of her books but I can't find it in our town's bookstore. Anyways I'm so glad I found this blog, Nice blog by the way.


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