House of Secrets (House of Secrets Series #1)

House of Secrets (House of Secrets Series #1)

4.3 46
by Chris Columbus
     
 

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Hailed as “a breakneck, jam-packed roller coaster of an adventure” by J. K. Rowling, this New York Times bestseller is the first installment in the explosive tween fantasy series by famed Hollywood director Chris Columbus (of Harry Potter fame) and bestselling author Ned Vizzini (It’s Kind of a Funny Story).

Siblings Brendan,

Overview

Hailed as “a breakneck, jam-packed roller coaster of an adventure” by J. K. Rowling, this New York Times bestseller is the first installment in the explosive tween fantasy series by famed Hollywood director Chris Columbus (of Harry Potter fame) and bestselling author Ned Vizzini (It’s Kind of a Funny Story).

Siblings Brendan, Eleanor, and Cordelia Walker once had everything they could ever want. But everything changed when Dr. Walker lost his job. Now the family must relocate to an old Victorian house, formerly the home of occult novelist Denver Kristoff—a house that simultaneously feels creepy and too good to be true. By the time the Walkers realize that one of their neighbors has sinister plans for them, they’re banished to a primeval forest way off the grid.

Bloodthirsty medieval warriors patrol the woods around them, supernatural pirates roam the neighboring seas, and a power-hungry queen rules the land. To survive, the siblings will have to be braver than they ever thought possible—and to fight against their darkest impulses. The key may lie in their own connection to the secret Kristoff legacy. But as they unravel that legacy, they’ll discover that it’s not just their family that’s in danger . . . it’s the entire world.

Editorial Reviews

J. K. Rowling
“A breakneck, jam-packed roller coaster of an adventure about the secret power of books, HOUSE OF SECRETS comes complete with three resourceful sibling heroes, a seriously creepy villainess, and barrel loads of fantasy and fear.”
ALA Booklist
“A swift-paced…clever page-turner for any reader who has wanted to take part in literary adventures … This story is compelling, great fun, and sure to be popular.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The story is an engrossing page-turner with a parade of near-escapes, hilarious mishaps, and courageous face-offs with terrifying villains. The nonstop action will keep readers on the edge of their seats”
J.K. Rowling
“A breakneck, jam-packed roller coaster of an adventure about the secret power of books, HOUSE OF SECRETS comes complete with three resourceful sibling heroes, a seriously creepy villainess, and barrel loads of fantasy and fear.”
Publishers Weekly
In a rousing adventure reminiscent of The Emerald Atlas, director Columbus (The Help) and author Vizzini (The Other Normals) catapult a trio of siblings across time and space, as they square off against a forgotten writer’s literary legacy. When eight-year-old Eleanor, 12-year-old Brendan, and 15-year-old Cordelia Walker move with their parents into the ancient, eerie Kristoff House, they instantly suspect something’s not right. Then they’re attacked by the Wind Witch, their parents go missing, and the entire house is thrust into a bizarre conglomeration of settings taken from the works of Denver Kristoff, a prolific early 20th-century author. Seeking a missing book of immense power, the siblings battle warriors, giants, pirates, and skeletons to get home again. The nonstop action comes with increasingly high stakes, various scenarios paying homage to the likes of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard. The kitchen sink aspect of the plot gives the story a somewhat crowded, frenetic feel, but the deft characterizations and wildly imaginative concept more than make up for it. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 9–up. Agent: Dorian Karchmar, William Morris Endeavor. (May)
Children's Literature - Jeanna Sciarrotta
The Walker children have no idea what they are in for when their parents purchase the mysteriously affordable Kristoff House. The house of late author Denver Kristoff is creepy and strangely beautiful, and the children cannot wait to explore. Not long after getting settled in, however, a meddling neighbor turns into The Wind Witch and sets off a stream of events that leave them (and the house) trapped inside one of Kristoff's books, filled with obnoxiously large bugs, menacing killers, pirates, and a World War I pilot! Together Brendan, Eleanor, and Cordelia Walker must find a way to defeat the Wind Witch, save their parents, and return to the modern world. With a promising cover and a tale reminiscent of Lemony Snicket and Narnia, it would seem that this new series would have an immediate following. The story itself is a captivating adventure; however, the story lines are a bit loose and may be trying to appeal to too large an age group. Those looking to recommend this new series be advised that it has a bit of a slow beginning that might deter the struggling reader that would most appreciate this book. Reviewer: Jeanna Sciarrotta
School Library Journal
Gr 4–8—Brendan, Cordelia, and Eleanor Walker are dragged by their parents to look at houses in San Francisco. Their father, a doctor, has lost his job due to an incident at the hospital, and the family has to downsize. The Kristoff House overlooking the bay seems to be too good to be true for the money, but, surprisingly, their father buys it. Once the family moves in, all kinds of strange things start to happen. It turns out that there is bad blood between a former owner of the house, Denver Kristoff, and an ancestor of the Walkers. Kristoff's daughter is now the Wind Witch, and she has enticed the family to the home so that she can get hold of The Book of Doom and Desire, which she plans to use as her vehicle to rule the world. To accomplish this, the witch incapacitates the parents and sends the children into the books her father created in the hope that they will help her retrieve the magical tome she desires. Along the way the youngsters meet many of Kristoff's characters, some of whom help them and others who try to annihilate them. The setup of the story drags a bit, but once the siblings leave contemporary San Francisco for the magical world of the Wind Witch, the pace picks up. The young Walkers are plucky, quick thinkers whom readers will grow to love. With a new adventure that seems to arrive with every chapter, the story unfolds quickly, thus keeping kids hooked and wanting to find out what will happen next.—Elizabeth Kahn, Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy, Jefferson, LA
Kirkus Reviews
Columbus and Vizzini craft a fast-moving, cinematic narrative that packs plenty of punch but may still have trouble measuring up to the competition. The plot is predictable yet peculiar. Three kids lose their parents suddenly--and horribly--before being thrust into a series of manic adventures. The action ping-pongs wildly from a primeval forest peopled by savage warriors to the high seas, festooned with murderous pirates and hungry sharks, to a medieval-style castle ruled by a vicious queen. The children are cardboard characters at best: Cordelia, the brainy, bookish oldest sister; Brendan, the hyperactive, game- and sport-obsessed 14-year-old brother; 8-year-old Eleanor, spunky and sweet with a learning disability thrown in for spice (and plot potential). Secondary characters are even more sketchily drawn, which suits perfectly in some cases but weakens their impact in others. The text often reads like a script, providing direction rather than description. Some details seem gratuitously gross and/or violent, and the dialogue doesn't always ring true. Worst of all, how the authors get their heroes out of trouble and back to the real world seems anticlimactic and, even within the fantastic framework of the story, not entirely believable. Ending with the promise (or threat) of further adventures, this is clearly intended to be the next big thing--whether it fulfills that ambition remains to be seen. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062192479
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/25/2014
Series:
House of Secrets Series , #1
Pages:
512
Sales rank:
177,595
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

What People are saying about this

J.K. Rowling

“A breakneck, jam-packed roller coaster of an adventure about the secret power of books, HOUSE OF SECRETS comes complete with three resourceful sibling heroes, a seriously creepy villainess, and barrel loads of fantasy and fear.”

Meet the Author

Chris Columbus has written, directed, and produced some of the most successful box-office hits in Hollywood history. He first made his name by writing several original scripts produced by Steven Spielberg, including the back-to-back hits Gremlins and The Goonies. As a director, Columbus has been at the helm of such iconic projects as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Home Alone, Stepmom, and Mrs. Doubtfire. As a producer, Columbus was also behind the hit films Night at the Museum and The Help. (1981–2013)

Ned Vizzini began writing for the New York Press at the age of fifteen. At nineteen, he published Teen Angst? Naaah . . . , his autobiography of his years at Stuyvesant High School. His debut teen novel, Be More Chill, was named a Best Book of the Year by Entertainment Weekly and was selected for the Today Show Book Club by Judy Blume. It’s Kind of a Funny Story, a cult classic, was adapted into a feature film and was named one of the 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels by National Public Radio. The Other Normals, his third novel, was a Junior Library Guild selection. He also wrote for television, including MTV’s hit show Teen Wolf.

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House of Secrets 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be very interesting, but was shocked to see it posted for younger children. I feel that there are many words that a 12 year old would not understand and situations that some younger kids may not be ready for, *spoiler* dissecting people for fun in maniacal ways. I feel the book is more for an age group of 15 and up or a more mature kid. Some things may be scary for younger readers. I think the book has a lot of good twists and turns that one would never expect in a children's book and believe there will be a good squeal. Strongly suggest parents of children under 15 pre-read, due to political, religious views. On another note ,this book is a quick fun read for adults.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fun read and Columbus and Vizzini have written it for special effects in a movie. My only issue is that the Fact that the characters are brother and sisters and will not be able to provide the depth that we saw created by the friendships in the Harry Potter series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it! Full of nonstop adventure
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVE THIS BOOK!! It is so exciting and each chapter is a cliff hanger! Good read!
T-Bones 5 months ago
This title was full of excitement, adventure, and unexpected twists. I had a blast reading it and I'm looking forward to the next book in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
YOU SUK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I rest my case
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
HATE IT!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am on pg.100 and I can not stop reading it. If you love mystery then read this.book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so exciting! It really is a "break neck rollercoaster of an adventure!",Discribed by J.K. Rowling. I got really intreagued in the story on page 32. I think you should buy it, it's really worth it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Full disclosure here: I'm a mom. My daughter picked this book out to read, and I read it first. I'm going to tell her that she probably should NOT read it. Vivisection does not belong in any book, but certainly not in a children's book. The skeletons were a bit over the top too, but at least they were magical, which seems to make things a little less personal and real. But then we find out how they bacame skeletons and it was just too aweful. I would not reccomend this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVE THIS BOOK THERE IS SO MUCH ADVENTURE I RECAMEND IT FOR EVERY ONE!!!!!!<><
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book
My2CentsIL More than 1 year ago
Harry Potter it is not... Really wanted to enjoy this book but found the multiple twists difficult to sift through and my attention waned. Couldn't wait to finish - and not in a good way
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book for my 11 year old son and he thoroughly enjoyed it. I enjoyed it as well. In fact, we both liked it so much that we are eagerly awaiting the release of House of Secrets: Battle of the Beasts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Spooky, strange story that includes an evil witch.
ymccarthy More than 1 year ago
The was a twist and turn in every chapter. I was inthralled in it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed it, although I feel it is geared more for an older reader (possibly 10-14).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While the premise is interesting and the characters not detestable, over all House of Secrets was just too over the top. It reads like it was specifically written for kids who hate reading and have ADHD- so much action it's manic.  And even if you can suspend belief enough to get into the story there is the completely unrealistic children. Spoiler alert:  What eight year old would get stabbed in the shoulder and  get back up and fight pirates? Which brings me to my main objection to the book, the violence. If you have an older kid who is jaded and  you don't mind them reading about torture, murder, and violence of other types then they may enjoy this read. Otherwise I recommend a pre-read by parents. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book kept me on my toes. I couldnt put my nook down. It is as good as Warriors by Erin Hunter!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JenTeach More than 1 year ago
As a Mom and Teacher, I found this book to be very entertaining. I do feel it is more for an older crowd, 12 and up. There are many words and situations that are more for teenagers and young adults, not 8-12 year olds. I have almost missed my stop on the train reading this book.
Dairy_Mom More than 1 year ago
The front cover of this book caught my attention and the author does a good job of keeping it. The siblings in this book have many adventures and also some realizations about themselves. This book has action and a great message--reading can take you places!! I would recommend this book for middle school aged kids (and adults).