Publisher: Fiewel & Friends
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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.
Space can be a friend or an enemy, so you should always know how much of it your body needs.
Roo is a really interesting character. She's closed herself off from the world and then she's taken to an unknown uncle and ends up more isolated than ever in an island mansion. She's tough, though, and finds ways to make herself and home. I really enjoyed her and I'm not even sure that I can define WHY precisely, but she doesn't back down from what she believes and she doesn't let others bully her.
The likeness to The Secret Garden can't be missed with this storyline, but the updating that Ms. Potter has given the story works very well. The writing flows well and I don't think readers will be able to resist the pull of the story that she has so beautifully crafted. Ms. Potter has also succeeded in crafting a setting that has a life of its own. The island and the house almost become characters in their own right--with secrets waiting to be discovered.
The Humming Room will easily appeal to its intended audience of middle grade readers. The writing and story will capture their imaginations without putting undue strain on their reading abilities. I'd recommend this one to some reluctant readers who possible enjoy a little bit of mystery and strong female characters. It's also, clearly, a must-read for fans of The Secret Garden.