Welcome to my blog. I often think I was born with a book in my hand. I have always enjoyed reading, but more importantly, talking about books. This blog is partially about reviews, but is really a forum to talk about what I'm reading, and express all of the thoughts and feelings that there simply isn't room for in a professional review. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on your favourite books as you follow my reading journey.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Middle Grade Monday: The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

12-year-old Roo is an expert in hiding. Living in an unstable family, there are times when she needs to just disappear out of sight. When her parents are murdered, it's her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life. Much to Roo's surprise, a wealthy, eccentric uncle agrees to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a Sanatorium for children with TB, the island is full of legends and secrets. Roo doesn't believe in fairy stories, but what are the strange noises she keeps hearing in the house at night, and who is that strange boy on the river? Roo knows that people are keeping something from her, and she's determined to learn the truth.

Ellen Potter has been a favourite author of mine ever since she published Olivia Kidney back in 2005, and when I learned that she had written a new novel inspired by my childhood favourite The Secret Garden, I knew I had to read this.

What a wonderful treat this was to read! If you are familiar with The Secret Garden, you'll recognize the references to it in this novel,  but it isn't a necessity. Roo, the Mary Lennox character is a quiet and solitary child. When her arrival on Cough Rock Island is met with general indifference by her uncle, she's initially puzzled, (and maybe a bit hurt), but being used to counting only on herself, she's content to "disappear" all day and explore the island.

What I loved most about this book is the gradual transformation of Roo from someone who wants to be left alone to a child who cares about others and is cared about in return. Like the nearly forgotten garden that she lovingly nurtures, the island nurtures something in Roo, and awakens the part of her that probably always wanted to be loved.

The Humming Room is a beautiful novel about friendship, love, and the transforming power of nature, and is a perfect gift for the little girl in your life who still believes in magic.