The Humming Room

The Humming Room

by Ellen Potter


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250016669
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication date: 04/16/2013
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 432,526
Product dimensions: 5.42(w) x 7.46(h) x 0.59(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Ellen Potter is the author of The Kneebone Boy, published by Feiwel and Friends, and praised as "a quirky charmer" by Kirkus Reviews in a starred review. Her other novels include Slob, a Junior Library Guild selection, and the bestselling Olivia Kidney series. She lives in Upstate New York.

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The Humming Room 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 56 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was expecting a 300+ page book o the humming room but instead they give you 127 pages of the humming room and then the last 200 some pages is the secret garden!!!! The humming room was a really good book i just wish it was longer and that they mentioned it was only 127 pages and the rest was the secret garden. This is just a heads up. If you get the book its great but dont expect all 300+ pages to be the humming room. Because its not. It 2 books in one.
thewanderingjew More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent mystery for middle grade children, boys and girls alike. It is a mystery, quite tense and scary at times, filled with all the excitement of a ghost story on a lonely island. It is a story of friendship, of loss and renewal, of coming of age, of the beginnings of romance. It is a story of healing. There is magic and fantasy and sadness and joy. It is a lovely little book. Roo is the star. She lives a sad little life in a trailer with her dad and his girlfriend. When they are murdered she is shipped off to a foster home and then to an uncle who lives on a remote, lonely island on the St. Lawrence River, Cough Rock, to live in a forbidding-looking mansion, formerly a children’s hospital, thus its name. It was sanitarium for children with TB. There she discovers family secrets, hidden rooms with a hidden cousin, abandoned rooms with hidden treasures, a ring from a former patient, and secret passages, tunnels to basements and hidden gardens, and then, she discovers the Faigne, what some people think is a mythical boy who lives on the river, but he turns out to be quite real to Roo. Her uncle is cold and distant, mourns the loss of his wife by rejecting everyone. She discovers her cousin, living in a remote room of the mansion, prone to fits, mourning the far too premature loss of his mother and a father who rejects him. Violet, a young, happy governess and all purpose helper, cook, etc. and Ms Valentine, a stern, not very warm assistant to her uncle, keep the house running smoothly, preparing meals and caring for all of them. In their own way, they try to bring order to the house, the rumors, the madness and loneliness that surrounds the family. Roo is a loner; she doesn’t much like people. She is small for her age, fits into tiny places and loves to hide away in secret spots. She loves living things and can hear the sound of the earth…the humming of things growing. She is stubborn, brave and reckless at times. She can do mean things, without understanding the consequences, or without caring, because she doesn’t feel cared for by others. She likes to steal because she has so little of her own. She likes to make things grow, so she planted glass animals and plants and snakes under the trailer in which she lived with her dad and his girlfriend, before their murder. Her neighbor would leave things out for her to take, when she looked away, because she understood that Roo would not accept anything from her. Roo rejects people because they reject her, due to her strangeness, poverty and belligerence. The characters are interesting and well developed. Roo Fanshaw never knew her mom. Her uncle is the double of her father. The Faigne, Jack, seems to have no home or relatives. Phillip, her cousin, mourns the loss of his mother and feels her presence in the house. He is subject to fits and tantrums. He is wasting away from neglect. He pines for his mother and his absent father. Roo rescues Phillip from his madness, befriends the faigne, Jack, tames her uncle and brings love back into the mansion. This is a wonderful little book, based on "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I red this book luvd it!!! But the athor shoulda made the ending better!!! The ending feels unfinished!!
wordforteens More than 1 year ago
Every now and then I pick up a middle grade book. I haven't been blown away by any in a long time. (It's hard when my basis for middle grade comparison is Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl and Erin Hunter's Warriors series.) But they're nice when I want a short, quick romp through a book. The Humming Room provided just that; full of interesting characters and a fun setting, it managed to distract me for the quick hour it took to read. (At 182 pages, it's not very long.) It was cute and fun and, really, everything it should have been. I did have problems with Roo's character at the beginning, only because she licks a glass snake and I couldn't think of anybody really who did that and it seemed kind of out of character for Roo because she may have been wild but she was also smart and smart people just don't go around licking things, ya know? But besides that one moment, I really liked her and her adoration of nature. The other characters were interesting and fun, I suppose; I didn't really have any sort of fondness for any of them outside of Roo and, perhaps, Jack. (You'll find out who he is if you read it. Spoiler free!)
Buried-in-Books More than 1 year ago
First I'd like to say that though it says this novel was inspired by The Secret Garden, I thought I was reading a Middle Grade version of Jane Eyre. Yes, there were a lot of differences, but the gothic setting, the hidden room, the crying, the secret rooms. It all reminded me of Jane Eyre. But despite all that, I have to say, I loved Roo Fanshaw! This is a kid that has been through it all. She was hiding under her trailer, playing with the glass garden she had planted under there while the policemen are asking questions about the murder of her parents. Roo is strong. She compartmentalizes the pain and shuts it away. Save it for a day she can deal with it. She takes all the new experiences in stride . I never felt sorry for her, she just wouldn't let me. She was so inquisitive and didn't follow the rules. I loved everything about her from the way she hid in a little cave watching the water and learning the earth, to the way she explored the house when she was told not to. She could listen to the earth and hear things growing. She is one of my favorite protagonists in contemporary literature. The other characters, and I'll only name a few, the nasty Ms. Valentine, the always cheerful and permissive Violet, the elusive, but loyal and educational Jack and the never present Uncle. All of them add a lot to the story and make for an adventurous time. The story is laid out with great suspense and detail, but not too much. It's well thought out and enjoyable. The writing is easy to read and feel and there is a great feeling of what's going to happen next and I couldn't stop reading it until I finished it. Yes, it's like the Secret Garden and Jane Eyre and Roo is going to forever be in my heart for her bravery and her unwillingness to give up even in the face of insurmountable odds. I honestly don't know if this is a Middle Grade book or a YA book but it would be fine for either. It's light on the romance and big on the mystery. But the main characters are 14 or so I'm not sure if that makes it YA or not. I didn't think it was that close to the Secret Garden. There were a lot of mysteries to be discovered other than the Secret Garden. I highly recommend this one! I received an ARC of this from the publisher through NetGalley. I was in no way compensated for my review. This is one I will be buying for my shelf to keep to read again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thrilling with excitment with roo fanshaw
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have not read this book but by just reading reviews and the summary, I give it the fate of a very good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought that this book was very interesting, charming, witty, as well as all of the characters in it. Overall this is a book that I would go back and read again. I think it would be best for kids 9-13.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As I opened the book my heart began to race. I read the first page and breathed in the beautiful fragrance of the story. It felt good to read it, and I loved the sense of mystery and fear that I got from reading the book. Fantasy and fear await you as you enter Roo's world of mystery and legends that turn out to be true. Most importantly, Roo unlocks the door to great potential and friendship buried deep down in her heart that was unexplored for a very long time. In conclusion, I greatly recommend to anyone. After reading this book, Ellen Potter was one of my favorite authors. And, since I want to be an author when I'm older, this book has the perfect tone and voice that I can appreciate and hopefully be able to learn from in my stories. -M. Ganesan
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this story inspired by The Secret Garden. I wish it was longer and had not ended so abruptly. As I read I could see the inspirations of Mary Lenox. The Secret Garden is a long standing favorite of mine. I think The Humming Room is going on that cherished list.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE make another book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book for anyone that loves a sad,happy,and funny adventure
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
They had this at my school book fair and i just got it! I havent read it yet but it loits kond of creepy!okes really good. I love the cover art in color!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought it was longer but only 127 pages of the humming room.... no ghosts.... no scariness..... no nothing. And 200+ pages of the secret garden which i already have. Good book but just wasnt satistfying.
foggidawn on LibraryThing 8 months ago
It's hard to review The Humming Room by Ellen Potter without including something that some might consider a spoiler, so I'll say at the start: if you like juvenile fiction with just a touch of magical realism, with well-developed characters and a little bit of eerie atmosphere, you might want to stop reading this review, and pick up the book, instead. Okay, now for the actual review:When Roo's parents are killed, she is sent to the home of an uncle she didn't even know she had. The huge, mysterious old house holds many secrets, both inside and out. There's the strange boy who knows more about nature than anyone Roo has ever met, the unwelcoming housekeeper, the garrulous maid, and the strange humming and crying sounds that Roo sometimes hears as she explores the house. Most of all, there's the garden, which has been closed up and left to die. . . .If this is all sounding way too familiar, there's a reason for that. Potter has taken the basic structure of The Secret Garden and updated it to a modern setting. This may sound like a recipe for disaster, but in this case, it works beautifully. It took me a little while to even realize what was happening, though when I look back, I can see that Roo's story and Mary's march side-by-side from the very beginning. Lots of the small details differ, making the book just different enough from its predecessor that it doesn't feel like a hollow imitation. For instance, Roo's uncle's house is an old children's tuberculosis sanatorium, with all of the creepiness that entails, and it's located on an island, so it feels as remote as a house on the moors of Yorkshire a hundred years ago. There are subtle differences in characterization, too -- Roo is a little more likeable than Mary, Jack is a little more fey than Dickon, Philip is not as much of an invalid as Colin -- but they mesh together nicely. My one complaint was that the book was short, and felt a little rushed toward the end.In The Humming Room, Potter has done a lovely job of taking on and adapting a children's classic. I would recommend this to fans of the original, as well as those who are looking for a story with a slightly spooky atmosphere and a hint of mystery.
krau0098 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I got an advanced copy of this book to review through Amazon Vine. I loved Potter's first book, The Kneebone Boy, and was very excited to see what this second book would be like. It was an fun read. It is based off of The Secret Garden which I haven't read (hangs head in shame). It has a lot of quirky characters, very subtle magic, and a wonderful mystery.Hiding is Roo's special talent, which is a good thing. When Roo's parents are murdered in their trailer she is hiding beneath it. This saves her life, but leaves her homeless. Then she finds out that she has a rich eccentric uncle who lives out on Cough Rock Island in a strange house that was once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children. Roo hears a strange humming from certain parts of the house and wants to unravel the mysteries of both the house and the island itself.Like The Kneebone Boy, this book is full of quirky characters, beautiful imagery, and many mysteries. You are really drawn into the story by the mystery of the Humming room and by the fact that Roo might get sent away from her Uncle if she can't learn to fit in better. I loved all of the characters; they all have their special little quirks. Roo is wonderful at hiding and the two boys she meet on the island have their own peculiarities. In the end the story is about friendship and finding out where you belong in life.It is a very short read, but is very well written and fun to read. There isn't a ton of fantasy in the story so I hesitate to list it as's more magical realism. The magic throughout is subtle; there are small things that happen here and there that just can't be explained without something magical going on.Overall I enjoyed it. It is a great read for middle grade readers who love mystery and are interested in reading about a girl who is trying to find her place in a life where she just can't seem to fit in. I would recommend to fantasy readers as well just because there is a hint of mysterious magic unexplained throughout the book. If you liked The Kneebone Boy I think you will enjoy this book as well. If you love mystery and quirky, interesting characters definitely go and pick this book up.
yearningtoread on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The Humming Room by Ellen PotterPages: 192Release Date: February 28th, 2012Date Read: 2012, January 14th-16thReceived: ARC from NetGalleyRating: 4/5 starsRecommended to: 11+SUMMARY -Roo Fanshaw is small for her age, and very shy. Her father, a man who dappled in illegal activities for a long time, has just been murdered, leaving Roo alone and in the custody of whoever will take her. When she is taken from her home to her eccentric Uncle's house on an island, Roo finds this harder to bear than almost anything else.When she arrives at her Uncle's mansion, what used to be a hospital for ill children, Roo finds herself drawn to the nature and the river on the outside - as well as the Humming that comes from the walls of the west wing. There are secrets here, and Roo is determined to uncover them. Can she unlock the mysteries of her family and heal her broken heart?MY THOUGHTS -This story is incredibly sweet - and also very powerful. I remember watching "The Secret Garden" movie a few times when I was younger, but I never got around to the book. I wanted to read this even before I knew it was a retelling - and finding that out just made me even more excited.I really like Ellen Potter's style. She uses words and sets pace very gracefully. Her writing style creates very clear imagery, very strong and interesting characters, and a touching, heartfelt story. I'm honestly really impressed by how beautiful this book is.CHARACTER NOTES -Roo Fanshaw is the quirky, realistic and vivid character I think everyone wishes they could write/read about all the time. She's the kind of character I always loved most growing up - the one you can relate to, but who has different struggles and a very realistic and unique personality. Roo had me eagerly awaiting her every action. Her personal struggles are deep; her endeavors - in the garden and with the boys she meets - are very touching. In this story, Roo's life is turned upside-down: she changes (and still stays very consistent), and she changes others around her.I really liked Violet's character - funny, talkative, and full of laughter. She brightened teh story a lot; without her it would have been a bit too dark.The Faigne and the other boy, Philip (I won't say anything in case you don't know much about the original story), were very different and both absolutely necessary to the story. Part of me wishes there had been more of both of them, but then again, it was great as it was.STORY NOTES -The Humming Room is a pretty darn intense story. Not like action-packed, but...eerie. Roo's adventures in her Uncle's dark castle, and in the almost fairytale-like land around it were riveting. Cough Rock was the perfect backdrop to the mystery and discovery in the story.For the most part, all the events and conversations were very well-placed; everything about the story was emotionally gripping. The two things that bothered me, the reason for 4 instead of 5 stars, were these: the part of me that wishes there was more development about the boys, and the end scenes. Those last two or three scenes were good, but not great like the rest. They came to a close a little too quickly, like they could have been stretched out maybe 15 more pages. Roo's Uncle Fanshaw could have been brought into things more as well.But overall, everything really was fantastic. From the garden to the Faigne; from the despair to the joy - I can't wait to have this one on my shelf and let my friends read it!SUMMING IT UP -The Humming Room is simple, yet so intricate as well. It was a really great read and I'm ecstatic to read Potter's previous book, The Kneebone Boy, which I've wanted to read forever but haven't found the time to. Now it's on my priority list, because Potter's work is just too good to pass up!For the Parents -Nothing at all!
SusieBookworm on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This is such a sweet and magical read! Though The Humming Room is a re-imagining of Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, Roo is an interesting contrast to the original Mary Lennox. Personally, I liked the mysterious and quiet Roo much more. The setting is also quite different, though the story is still sweet for its tracing of how the characters connect, heal, and find themselves after trauma and loss.My one problem with The Humming Room was that it was too short. I lost myself in the plot for all of two hours. The first half of the book was beautifully developed, introducing us to Roo, the house, and other characters. The second half - the Secret Garden-y part - went by way too fast. I never got the impression that it was rushed or underdeveloped, just that I wanted the novel to last longer. The last thirty or so pages, I could see time was running out, and I was dreading reaching the end. I was left with the feeling of "Awwww, it's over...I don't want to move on to another book yet!"
BookRatMisty on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I guess I should start by telling you how much I love the classics - how I was this weird little girl who read Oliver Twist like 45 times, or got more excited about the box of illustrated classics she got for Christmas when she was 9 than she was for the toys (in fact, she remembers none of the toys, but still has most of the books).  And I should probably tell you about how much I adore Francis Hodgson Burnett, and have read The Secret Garden more times than should be mentioned in polite society.I should tell you this so that you understand the equal parts excitement and trepidation I feel when someone says they are rewriting a classic, especially one so beloved.  There's always the chance that it's going to be a giant fail, and that I will be stuck with forever associating it with a favorite book of mine.  But thank you, grilled cheesus, this was not even a little bit fail.  Ellen Potter really managed to capture the things I loved about The Secret Garden but still make them her own, which is no easy feat.  She managed to capture the atmosphere of TSG, which is impressive because we live in a much less isolated world now.  But for all that, people still feel isolated, which is one of the keys of the story.  Potter captures both senses of isolation, the actual physical isolation and the way people close themselves off, and she worked them together beautifully.Potter also captures the tone of the original.  There's a dreaminess that I think a lot of children's books fail to capture, but that Burnett and Potter have.  It makes me wistful, makes me miss being a kid, exploring and lounging in the hazy days of summer.  Reading these books is almost like a memory - something is triggered and you can almost feel it again. And there's a longing that comes with that, a sort of knowledge that it can't go on forever, so it's bittersweet.  Potter weaved this atmosphere, this feeling, throughout the book, and it made me connect to it in the way that I absolutely love, and that all children's books should strive for.  It was a lovely reading experience because of it.But what's most impressive is that she captured the heart of the book.  I really, really liked Roo's blossoming.  OMG that was a horrible pun.  But I'm leaving it because it's totally true, and is an element that was carried over nicely from The Secret Garden.  The whole story at its core is really about blossoming, about growth.  About making connections to something outside of yourself, sending out your roots and flourishing.  This is true of the garden and the characters (metaphors!!! *jazz hands*), and is part of what makes the story so charming and so relatable.  Potter captures that growth and that sort of awakening really well.Roo was charmingly dysfunctional.  And just charming in general.  As were most of the side characters.  I think some of the negative aspects of personalities from the original were removed or sort of shifted.  There wasn't really much of a mean schoolmarmy thing going on, or as much of a petualant, sick child.  It was there, just a little milder.  Roo was much more likable early on than Mary was.  I think because you can immediately see how much she is hurting, where as Mary just seems spoiled. There is still a tinge of darkness to the story, but I think it's a more understandable darkness for a modern audience, and it never intrudes to the point of making a character unlikable. My one drawback was that it ended a little too abruptly for me.  Well, maybe not abruptly, but the end was lacking a little of the finesse that had made it so lovely.  It's such a short book, s
GreatImaginations on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Note before I begin the review: The Secret Garden is probably my favorite classic. At least I find it to be the most memorable of any book I read in my childhood. I remember checking it out from the library during summer vacation and reading it over and over and falling in love with the story. I even remember pulling it off the shelf for the very first time. So when I requested The Humming Room I knew it was going to be an I-love-it-or-hate-it book for me. Good news for Ellen Potter. I loved this book so effing much I would sing from the rooftops. If I had a rooftop to sing from. And a physical copy of this book to hold up like Mufasa holding up Simba for all the world to see. I thought it was brilliant. I don't read a lot of re-tellings because oftentimes I think the original is good enough (why retell it), but I took a chance on this one. And I'm glad I did. It's a short book at only 187 pages, but to me it made a huge impact. This is what a middle-grade novel should be. The author took a very special classic and made it her own. The imagery and setting were out of this world. It's been a long time since I read The Secret Garden, but this novel brought it all back for me and really has me wanting to read it again. I loved so many things about The Humming Room. I loved how Roo put her ear to the ground to listen for living things in the earth. She did this a couple of times in the book. I loved how Roo loved animals and I loved how the author wrote about them with such reverence. There were quite a few different plant and animal species mentioned, and I thought that was super cool. As an animal lover and someone who thinks that books have such an impressionable effect on our youth, I think this book provided some really important lessons. By far my favorite part of the book was when Roo discovered the garden. Just like it's my favorite part in the original, it was also my favorite part here. There is something about that scene that is just so damn memorable. I loved watching the garden grow and come to life. I loved the little black squirrel that followed Roo around the island. I loved the Heron, Sir, that followed Jack around. There was also a mink and a nesting ground full of terns. Special, I tell you. I thought the setting development was done really well. The rivers and the different islands were so vividly presented. The house was creepy (as it should have been), but at the same time so enchanting. The hidden garden was done in a really cool way and I found all of it totally plausible. If I had one complaint, it was that I felt the ending was rushed. The regeneration of the garden and the family happened too quickly and I felt the back half of the book wasn't evenly balanced with the front. Shame, but otherwise a brilliant retelling of a children's classic. Not enough of a criticism to give this book any less than 5 stars. I enjoyed it that much. It's not very often that I fall in love with middle-grade novels, but this book sent me over the edge.
readinggeek451 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
An update/retelling of The Secret Garden. Go reread that, instead.
ChristianR on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A modern retelling of The Secret Garden. It was decent, but not captivating.
bookwren on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Inspired by The Secret Garden, this novel set in more modern times has its moments, and is entertaining, but doesn't reach the classic beauty of its predecessor. Like Mary, Roo is an orphan sent to live with an unknown uncle; meets a mysterious boy of nature like Dickon; finds a sickly cousin (who hums, hence the title); and discovers a secret garden that heals Roo, Phillip and his father. My favorite scenes are when Roo lies down on the earth and hears its voice, and when she and Jack paddle the St. Lawrence river in his canoe, led and followed by Sir the heron. In this there is magic and the wonder of nature. I felt the ending came a little too suddenly.
LauraMoore on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Ellen Potter recreated the same magic that The Secret Garden had, although I don't believe I ever read The Secret Garden I was a huge fan of the movie growing up and watched it over and over and over again. I really enjoyed Roo she was such a cute, fun, and adventurous character that really made the story come to life on the pages. I loved the world that Potter created with her descriptive writing and I felt like the story really came alive on the pages, you were able to visualize the story as opposed to just reading the words off the pages. I felt like something was missing from the story for me though, and unfortantually I'm not sure exactally what it was, maybe I wanted more from the garden aspect of the story, and felt like the focus was more on the house then the magic of the garden, then I had originally had expected. This book was a really cute and fun read and I guess I just expected it to be a bit deeper then it was, but then again it was meant as a middle-grade story and I think for that age group it was intended for it was well written and well executed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago