Saturday, January 19, 2013

Retell Me a Story Book Review: The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

It's the last day of Retell Me a Story fun! In case you've missed out on anything, check out all the previous posts:
Welcome and giveaway post,
- A guest post from Nikki of BookPairing on The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood,
- A list of new and upcoming retellings,
- A guest post from author Diane Zahler on fairy tale mixers,
- A review of one of Diane's fairy tale retellings, The Thirteenth Princess,
- A fun Robin Hood guest post by Suey of It's All About Books,
- A guest post by author Marissa Meyer on fairy tale scavenger hunts,
- A review of a fairy tale mash-up, Enchanted by Alethea Kontis,
- A guest post by Angie of Angieville on classic retellings
- A review of The Turning by Francine Prose, a retelling of The Turn of the Screw
- A guest post where author April Lindner answers my questions about classic retellings
- A review of Catherine by April Lindner, a retelling of Wuthering Heights
- A guest post from Jessica of Books: A True Story on taking fairy tales to new places

The Humming Room by Ellen Potter
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date: February 2012
Pages: 192
Source: ARC sent from publisher
For: Review

Roo has spent most of her life hiding - from the bad things her parents were doing. But when she suddenly finds herself orphaned and taken to live with an uncle she's never heard of, she begins to find that hiding isn't always the solution. In her strange and spooky new home, she secrets and places that will change her as much as she changes them.

Things I Liked:
I had a lot of fun thinking about the ways this one relates to The Secret Garden.  If I hadn't just reread that classic last year, I probably would have done it for my Classic Double Challenge this year.  I loved the way Roo's life was updated and modernized from Mary's (although I'm not sure "loved" is the best word for it, since her parents were drug dealers and got murdered).  It was just as rewarding to watch Roo come out of hiding and connect with people, like Violet and Jack as well as her cousin.  It managed to capture some of that sweetness, as well as some of the mysterious atmosphere of the unique setting, though this time it was an isolated island.  Fun and satisfying.

Things I Didn't Like:
I was a little disappointed that there wasn't a bit more.  It felt like most of the book was spent introducing Roo and all her problems, leaving the resolution and transformation of her cousin and the garden was very rushed.  The ending was neat and short and I wanted more of the magic and wonder I remember from the original.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: ->
not exactly violence, but her before life was definitely not pretty

Overall rating: ***

What beloved childhood classic would you like to see updated?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

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