My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Elizabeth Somers is an orphan. How she became orphaned is itself a mystery considering that the facts as told by her aunt and uncle are rather questionable. Rather suddenly one day, they come upon the means to send Elizabeth away for Christmas to the Winterhouse Hotel that is owned by Norbridge Falls. Odd because, they are known to be very poor, dastardly because, they are mean and seem to want nothing to do with her, and mysterious because, again…who provided the money to send her there? It becomes apparent that she has some strange connection to the hotel. One that she cannot explain and its pull is very strong.
I enjoyed this book because its main character, Elizabeth is quirky. She is smart. She loves to read and solve puzzles. It includes tons of word ladders, puzzles, anagrams, and even a Vigenere Cipher, allowing her to write and break secret codes. There are also a good number of references to a number of great children’s literature. As the mystery unfolds, we get to learn about the secrets that her held in the walls of the Winterhouse Hotel, the library, and the Falls family.
Chloe Bristol’s charming illustrations were a welcome break between the text. This book was on the long side but I think it is one that my students will be drawn to because of the cover and because of its enchanting mystery. It is the first book in a trilogy and I look forward to reading what comes next.
Ben Guterson | http://benguterson.com/ – Check out the website. It’s pretty neat. Especially the Puzzles and Codes page. Give them a try!
Christy Ottaviano Books
Henry Holt and Company Books for Young Readers
An imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
Book Excursion | PLN Group of Rockstar Reading Educators| #BookExcursion