Author: Rebecca Wade
Genre: MG, Paranormal
Publication Date: May 22, 2012 (Katherine Tegen/Harper Children’s – North America)
Source: Publisher-provided finished copy
Summary: Maisie Holt.
This is her book.
It’s an old house, one her family plans to stay in for only a short while; but for Hannah Price, secrets soon come creeping out of every corner of Cowleigh Lodge.
First there’s the old and dusty book of children’s fairy tales that belonged to a young girl named Maisie. Hannah learns that the girl died mysteriously at age eleven in this very house nearly 140 years ago.
Then, when Hannah draws a portrait of Maisie, things begin to fall apart. The house seems to be reverting to its nineteenth-century form, and Hannah’s not sure whether it or Maisie herself is sending her messages. Hannah must solve the mystery of Maisie’s death, because if she doesn’t help her, Maisie may never leave Hannah alone. . . .
☆: 3/5 stars – a solid spooky ghost story perfect for the MG/tween crowd this Halloween.
Review: This one was a pretty smooth and easy read, and pretty short, too. For this Halloween season, I think that “The Whispering House” has a lot going for it (even if the trope used feels a bit tired in current literature, MG/YA or otherwise), and I think it’s going to do very well with the MG crowd.
I think the largest problem I had with the book was the age of protagonist (and her bff) – we’re told early on that they’re fourteen, but whoa, I did not see fourteen there. I saw maybe somewhere between nine and eleven, but nowhere even near fourteen years old. I think this is because of the storytelling – I can see where Wade wanted to do the old-timey 3rd close narration in a gothic style, but it just didn’t really entirely work here as she couldn’t seem to settle her characters’ ages compared with that of the age of their behavior.
More on the narration – it felt at times there was a little too much telling over showing, but the times we got the showing were pretty great. Wade definitely can use her sensory imagery and language when she wants/needs to, and that was pleasing to the eye to read. I just wish she’d used it a bit more.
However, this is a fun little mystery – light, fluffy, and an easy read, very solidly built with an easy-to-follow plot with no sub-plots. I wish it had been creepier (there’s a way to do it, even for the MG crowd that makes things appropriately scary), but it turns out to be more of a mystery book than a phantasmagorically inclined one. Either way, I had a lot of fun reading it, and I think MG/tween readers will, too. However, I think the YA crowd (even young YA), will find this a bit too simple for them.
“The Whispering House” is out now from Katherine Tegen/Harper Children’s books, so be sure to check it out! If you’re looking for a fun spooky read for your MG/tween reader this Halloween, consider checking this one out.