BOOK REVIEW: The Humming Room, by Ellen Potter

Date(s) read: October 8, 2012
Genre: MG Fantasy

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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.

My Thoughts

Thank you to Raincoast Books for providing me a copy of this book for review!

This was such a sweet book! Before I read it, I wondered if I would feel lost having not read Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden beforehand, but this story definitely stood on its own. I only wish it had been longer! At only 182 pages, this story provides the story of Roo, an orphan who goes to live with her uncle on an island where she encounters secret doors, a mysterious garden, and many other things!

From the first pages, I knew this was a book I would enjoy. I don’t read a lot of Middle Grade books, but when I find one that looks spectacular, I try to get my hands on it. I would say this one is similar to Lauren Oliver’s Liesl & Po because it contains ghosts and is told in a fairytale kind of way, but there were so many other things going on. Most of all, I think my favourite part of the story was Roo. Her determination to be herself was amazing, even if that meant she’d get on other peoples’ bad side. BUT, throughout the story we see a remarkable change in her character that brought a smile to my face. At just 12 years old, she shows so much growth in character that it’s hard to remember that she was only 12 years old.  Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW: Second Chance Summer, by Morgan Matson

RELEASE DATE: May 8, 2012
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
FORMAT: Hardcover
PAGE COUNT: 468 pages
SOURCE: Library

From the Flying Start author of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, a powerful novel about hope in the face of heartbreak. 

Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.


I had been hearing so many amazing things about Morgan Matson’s novel, Second Chance Summer — the follow up to her amazing novel, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour — that I immediately put myself on the hold list when I saw my local library was getting it. Admittedly, I wasn’t going to read this one immediately because the hardback was such a beautiful book that I wanted a copy of it for my shelf, but I needed something that was really going to keep my interest so I dove in.  Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW: The Cupcake Queen, by Heather Hepler

Released: September 17, 2009 (Dutton Juvenile)
Author Links: WEB / GOODREADS
Source: Library

Challenge: 2012 Mixing It Up – Children’s and Young Adult
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A confection of a novel, combining big city sophistication with small town charm. When her mother moves them from the city to a small town to open up a cupcake bakery, Penny’s life isn’t what she expected. Her father has stayed behind, and Mom isn’t talking about what the future holds for their family. And then there’s Charity, the girl who plays mean pranks almost daily. There are also bright spots in Hog’s Hollow–like Tally, an expert in Rock Paper Scissors, and Marcus, the boy who is always running on the beach. But just when it looks as though Penny is settling in, her parents ask her to make a choice that will turn everything upside down again. A sweet novel about love, creativity, and accepting life’s unexpected turns.

My Thoughts

I have to admit that I’m a sucker for any book that might have something to do with food. I absolutely love books that involve cooking or baking, even if they always give me the urge to cook or bake!

I noticed Heather Hepler’s book, The Cupcake Queen, while wandering through the teen section of my public library. I had already picked out a few books to take out, but when I saw the beautiful cupcakes on the cover, I couldn’t resist! Continue reading