Woman in the Wall

Woman in the Wall

4.6 31
by Patrice Kindl

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A painfully shy girl retreats into the fabric of her family's big old house, building a series of passageways and secondary walls that allow her to share the life of the house unseen by her mother and sisters. When a mysterious message is thrust through a crack in the wall, Anna begins to think she might have a reason to emerge. "How Anna finds herself and her family…  See more details below


A painfully shy girl retreats into the fabric of her family's big old house, building a series of passageways and secondary walls that allow her to share the life of the house unseen by her mother and sisters. When a mysterious message is thrust through a crack in the wall, Anna begins to think she might have a reason to emerge. "How Anna finds herself and her family again is a tour de force of extraordinary power and wicked humor. Kindl bends the prism of loss and isolation until the clear colors of self shine forth, for Anna, and for the enthralled readers." -- Kirkus Reviews, pointer

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Kindl follows her magical Owl in Love with a novel featuring an equally gripping premise. A metaphorical study of an agoraphobic child, it opens with a series of emotional, surreal images-but eventually degenerates into trite teen romance and platitudes about sheltering the "frightened child-self." Living with her sensitive mother and boisterous sisters in an enormous old house, Anna imitates her absentee father by fading out of her family's life. Painfully shy, "with a face like a glass of water," she is so small and transparent her sisters sit on her by mistake. When her mother threatens to send her to school, Anna-who has preternatural skills with power tools and sewing needles-retreats permanently into the walls of the house, where she builds a maze of secret, undersize rooms and passages. Next met in adolescence, she develops a crush on a visitor to the house and exchanges letters with him without revealing her identity (he thinks he's corresponding with her beautiful older sister). The action culminates with Anna attending a Halloween party, where she incurs her older sister's wrath and triggers a chase scene that lacks the energy to be either slapstick or dramatic. In the process, Anna realizes she is attractive and decides to reenter the world. The resonant originality of the first few chapters is undermined by the conventional conflicts and resolution. Ages 10-14. (Mar.)
VOYA - Mary Arnold
Like Owl in Love, this is an unusual coming-of-age, first-person narrative. The opening chapters set the fantastic tone and surreal style as Anna describes her descent into agoraphobia and metaphorical emergence from the cocoon of childhood, armed with a new adolescent self-esteem. But the impact of this essential theme of young adult fiction is muted by the somewhat disjointed narrative and distance in what are potentially emotional scenes. And, unlike with Owl, we miss the wry humor and concrete characterizations that ground the flights of fancy with a touch of contemporary teen reality. Anna introduces herself to the reader as a shy girl-so shy that she is nearly invisible. Finding it impossible to contemplate attending school with her sisters, she retreats into a hiding place she creates within the old, rambling house. There she disappears, not only from the world outside, but seemingly from the minds and hearts of her mother and sisters as well. She equates herself with her father, who also disappeared (from the Library of Congress stacks!) and from whom she inherits her uncanny ability to make things with tools and sewing material. And so she exists in a parallel world until touched by her first adolescent crush on one of the many boys swarming around her older sister. Here the story really begins to careen out of control as the exchange of secret love letters through a crack in the wall culminates in Anna's rediscovery by her family, news of her mother's impending marriage, a wild Halloween party, sibling rivalry, and an almost slapstick chase through the house. The would-be high drama of this reunion and self-discovery ends with an anticlimax as Anna's mother announces that they must check to see if there are clean sheets, as it is time for everyone to retire for the night. Only the more sophisticated reader will persevere through the "oh, come on" middle of the story without asking over and over how Anna so effectively disappears from her family's consciousness; if her matter-of-fact acceptance of her isolation does not confuse, it will probably disturb. The pat ending belies the dramatic and original premise. VOYA Codes: 3Q 2P M J (Readable without serious defects, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
School Library Journal
(Gr 5-8) Exceedingly shy Anna, 14, narrates her life story. When she is seven, her mother tells her she must go to school. The school psychologist arrives at the run-down family mansion only to mistake Anna for a doll and somehow ends up with her in her purse. This is enough to impel the child to hide in a secret room she has readied overnight by putting up a false wall in the family library. Over the years, she adds new rooms, passages, a kitchen, peepholes; and no one notices. Although she continues repairing, baking, and sewing as her family requests, gradually her mother and older sister, Andrea, choose to forget her. When one of Andrea's ignored admirers sticks a love letter addressed to "A" into a crack in the stairs, Anna answers it, thus setting in motion a chain of events that lead to her discovery. This story cannot make up its mind what it wants to be. It could be fantasy. Rooms diminish and disappear. No one pays much attention to this engineering prodigy scurrying through the walls for seven years. Yet Kindl's messy ruminations on puberty drag the story kicking and screaming back to realism. At any rate, it is a disturbing novel. Anna's mother's casual acceptance of her daughter's self-imposed isolation will be unsettling to many children, and readers are not privy to the woman's explanation of the sudden appearance of a third daughter to her soon-to-be husband. The author's shrill Victorian trill pushes the story in a gothic direction. For a more palatable offering on shyness delivered with a hint of Victorian flavor, try Jean Ure's The Children Next Door (Scholastic, 1996).Cindy Darling Codell, Clark Middle School, Winchester, KY
Kirkus Reviews
Kindl (Owl in Love, 1993), who brought readers an unforgettable, offbeat protagonist in her first novel, does it again in this not-quite fantasy.

Anna is such a shy child that she is almost invisible—"I'm small and thin, with a face like a glass of water. And I like to hide." Her mother and sisters find it hard to see or hear her, and her father "faded out" of their lives years before. The concept of school, other children, the outside (asking her to leave the house was "like asking me to strip off my very skin"), and a terrifying (and hilarious) visit from the school psychologist send Anna into hiding for good, in the nooks and crannies of the family's rambling Victorian home. Anna, good with tools and her hands, literally walls herself off, peering at her family through peepholes and coming out only when they are all asleep. She hides for years, until her mother and sisters almost forget she really exists. Then comes puberty, and with it, all the inchoate longings of adolescence. Teenage agony is full-blown: the complete self-involvement; the terror of rejection; the recoiling at physical changes (she is dumbfounded when she develops breasts); the certain knowledge that no one has ever felt the way she feels. How Anna finds herself and her family again is a tour de force of extraordinary power and wicked humor. Kindl bends the prism of loss and isolation until the clear colors of self shine forth, for Anna, and for enthralled readers.

From the Publisher
"How Anna finds herself and her family again is a tour de force of extraordinary power and wicked humor. Kindl bends the prism of loss and isolation until the clear colors of self shine forth, for Anna, and for the enthralled readers." Kirkus Reviews with Pointers

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Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Puffin Novel Series
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.53(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Patrice Kindl's first novel, Owl in Love, was an ALA Notable Book for Children, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and an SCBWI Golden Kite Award Honor Book. She lives in Middleburgh, New York.

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Woman in the Wall 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Catawendsey More than 1 year ago
My overall opinion about the book The Woman in the Wall is that it is a very good because the way the characters and setting is laid out. The characters are more realistic then most characters in books. The characters are just like most people would be in real life matters. It is also an unpredictable story because you think that one thing is going to happen next in the story but instead another exciting thing ends up happening. The entire book has a setting at an old vintage house where a girl, Anna, and her family live in and this doesn't change the entire time. The book basically is about a girl who gets ignored by her family most of time except occasionally her youngest sister pays attention to her. Then Anna decides she is going to live in the walls of her family's old vintage home because she is tired of getting ignored. So she lives in the walls for years by herself and no one really knows she's there. The only time she ever comes out is either at night why her family is sleeping or while they are all out of the house and gone. Yet some times her youngest sister sees her. Then she finally decides to come out of hiding in the walls one day and that's when things start to go wrong. Her mom is getting re-married because her dad has been out of the picture for many years, and things start to happen between Anna and another guy from her one sister's school. She doesn't exactly come straight out of hiding. She does it in a disguising and mysterious way.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's been at least seven or eight years since I read this book, but I still remember it. There was something bizarre and magical about the way Anna was able to hide herself away inside the walls of her own house that stayed with me all these years. I highly recommend this book to kids of middle-school age, whether you like fantasy or not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I always sneak the book in my social studies class to uncober what happens to anna next i love this book so much and im excited to see what happens to Anna in the end. Lol cant wait
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think that this book is a great story to tell people that if you are shy you might be forgotton.my favorite part is that when her mother calls her she never knows where she is.this book is amazing i love itis my new favorite book thank you patrica kindl for qriting this amazing and out standing book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I cannot believe that I have found this book. I am 16 years old and when i was a little girl i borrowed this book from the schools library. I never got to finish it and i thought it was the most enticing book i had ever read. Im so glad that i have found it on this site because ever since the day I gave it back to the library i have been yearning to finish this book. I am deffinately going to buy this book at my local B&N.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i love this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Girls u need to read thids book it is amazing i love it !!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's definitely one of my most favorite books. It tells the story of a girl trying to overcome both her fears and herself. Some people reading it might be like 'how could someone be so shy that they'd want to hide in a wall for that amount of time?' but it definitely answers that in some way. But i do think the ending wasn't 100% the best. it should have ended with some sign of hope instead of just abruptly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is such a good book! I have reccomended this book to all my BFF's, everybody! I've read it twice- to all you book fans looking for a great book- read this!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I was 7 years old. I have read it countless times since then. I don't know why but I was captivated with it. Up until my mom accidentally got rid of my copy I'd reread it whenever I felt down. I've always been shy and somehow felt connected with Anna. I'm a freshman in highschool and many years later I still love this book. I'd recommend it to anyone!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book... I stayed up all night to finish it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Woman in the Wall is a great book to read. The author really makes you keep reading. I would recommend this book to all teenage girls and to girls reaching that stage. This book really tells you how it is when going through puberty.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Woman in the wall is a very facinating book that kept me really interested.I would recomend it to all teen girls who like mysterious books this one w\should hold your intrest.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Woman in the Wall is a great book. I got so into it and read it in a few hours. Anna is such a vivid character in this novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Normally I stick to the murder and suspense genre, I thought this book would be about a ghost. This book was better than any horror books I could read. Even though it wasn't scary, I felt like I was Anna. I've read this book twice already (Usually I read really good books more than once). Hopefully you'll love this book as much as I did. Oh yeah, Even though this doesn't seem like a very fast paced book , it is. The book is like BOOM BOOM BOOM then it's over. Excellent book, Excellent author (from what I've read)
Guest More than 1 year ago
one of my friends lent this book to another one of my friends, and then my friend that had it last left it at my house. a year later i finally decided to read it. i couldn't put it down! i started it at around 11 and i finished it at around 2:30 in the worning! it was amazingly good!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that Every girl Could find atleast one thing that they can relate too in their life. It also helps remind adults(especially Parents)what children and teenagers go through.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book was very good and I couldn't put it down. I reccomend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
i think that this is the best book that i have ever read. i dont read that much but i could not put it down. in some ways Anna is in all of us, think really hard about it. i know that she has been in me. i too am shy so this book told a lot about how i feel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book in the 6th grade. It was on the teachers bookshelf. I read it twice in the same week it was so good. Its about this girl that shuts herself up in the walls of her victorian house. Her mom and sisters never really noticed her before so they didn't mind when she sort of disappeared. I highly reccomend this to anyone and everyone. :) Darth Dragon
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book is totally great! I remember it becuase I read it inthe 4rth grade, and my teacher was really great. She was my favorite teacher in the whole world!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My teacher read this to my class when we were in teh fifth grade and I went out and bought it myself. It's one of those books that you can read over and over and over again. I would highly recommend this to people with a multi-branch imagaination and that cannot hold their attention to a book that stays on one track, it held my attention and still does. To some it mayseem jumbled, but if you can get passed the switching trend the books takes quite often, you will find this a very good book.