Monday, February 13, 2012
MG Fiction: The Humming Room by Ellen Potter
Date: February 28, 2012
Acquired: from publisher
Read: for review (disclaimer: I received my copy of this book in return for an honest review.)
Reading time: one day
From GoodReads: 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.
My review: This is such a sweet and magical read! Though The Humming Room is a re-imagining of Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, Roo is an interesting contrast to the original Mary Lennox. Personally, I liked the mysterious and quiet Roo much more. The setting is also quite different, though the story is still sweet for its tracing of how the characters connect, heal, and find themselves after trauma and loss.
My one problem with The Humming Room was that it was too short. I lost myself in the plot for all of two hours. The first half of the book was beautifully developed, introducing us to Roo, the house, and other characters. The second half - the Secret Garden-y part - went by way too fast. I never got the impression that it was rushed or underdeveloped, just that I wanted the novel to last longer. The last thirty or so pages, I could see time was running out, and I was dreading reaching the end. I was left with the feeling of "Awwww, it's over...I don't want to move on to another book yet!"