The Humming Room (2012) was in paperback at our book fair a few weeks ago and had me intrigued. I've read the first Olivia Kidney book and liked it well enough but last summer I read The Kneebone Boy and was blown away by its quirky characters. Potter's wonderful writing style carries over to The Humming Room which is loosely based on the classic The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Roo Fanshaw, the young main character, is orphaned when her father and his girlfriend are both killed in a drug-related shooting. Roo is very adept at hiding in small places and going unnoticed. Lucky for her her rich uncle's assistant comes for her and they make the journey to his island house. On the island Roo is out of place at first but easily slips around to discover mysteries and she begins to enjoy her surroundings. The house was once a tuberculosis sanitarium and Roo explores where the children lived and died. This book has a cast of interesting characters and just enough creepiness to keep 4th-6th graders interested.
Pressing her ear to the ground, she closed her eyes and listened to the hushed singing in the soil. It was such a tiny, complicated sound that it required the steadiest concentration. The stirring of worm's eggs in their cocoons, the pulse of roots, the minute shifting of bugs. Immediately Roo felt herself relax. Her world collapsed down into a tiny little bundle, just the way she liked it. (65)
You Tube book trailer