House of Secrets (House of Secrets #1)

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House of Secrets (House of Secrets #1)
Publisher
Age Range
8+
Release Date
April 23, 2013
ISBN
0062192469
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From legendary Hollywood director Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) and bestselling author Ned Vizzini (It's Kind of a Funny Story) comes this first book in an epic new fantasy series.

Brendan, Eleanor, and Cordelia Walker once had everything: two loving parents, a beautiful house in San Francisco, and all the portable electronic devices they could want. But everything changed when Dr. Walker lost his job in the wake of a mysterious incident. Now in dire straits, the family must relocate to an old Victorian house that used to be the home of occult novelist Denver Kristoff—a house that feels simultaneously 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. Their parents? Gone. Their friends? A world away. And they aren't alone. 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 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 it's not just their family that's in danger . . . it's the entire world.

Editor reviews

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Come and Knock on this House's Door
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
N/A
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Mash together the quirky family of “Full House” with the mystery and magic of Cornelia Funke’s “Inkheart” and what do you get? Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini’s “House of Secrets.”

“House of Secrets” follows the Walker siblings as they move to an outrageously underpriced mansion in the Bay Area. Little do they know, that home is cheap for a reason, which includes psycho witches, bloodthirsty savages, and wannabe surgeon pirates. Cordelia, Brendan, and Eleanor Walker understandably didn’t expect these dangers to come with the purchase price, and they power through the pages of the book trying to outwit and escape these villains once and for all.

What I loved most about this book is that the setting, outside of the first few chapters in the new home, is in other books. The Walkers’ house used to belong to Denver Kristoff, a fictional writer, and psycho witch mentioned above forces the children into a land in which Kristoff’s made up worlds meld together and come to life. The action and danger Kristoff’s books presented felt like a blockbuster movie franchise, and that’s just what young readers need to be encouraged to read. This is the kind of excitement that helps kids (and older kids, too) realize that books can be more entertaining than sitting in front of the TV.

The other thing I loved about this book: Eleanor. Homegirl was such a dynamic character, I loved every single thing she did and said. Eleanor is the youngest of the Walkers at 8 years old, but her personality is beyond her years. She’s the most levelheaded Walker, and often comes up with ideas that save the day. Eleanor’s the most determined of the bunch, and she won’t let anything get in her way, including her dyslexia. She’ll sit in front of a book for hours if it means helping her family, and that’s the kind of girl I look up to.

Eleanor’s spark really helps ignite the action and bring out the personality of the rest of the characters. “House of Secrets” is definitely a house I’ll be revisiting when the second book comes out.
Good Points
One of the most dynamic 8 year-old girls you'll ever meet.
A whole slew of dastardly villains to defeat.
Action that encourages kids to keep reading.
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