The Humming Room

Ellen Potter

Feiwel & Friends

Hiding is Roo Fanshaw's special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment's notice. When her parents are murdered, it's her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life.

As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn't believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth.

Despite the best efforts of her uncle's assistants, Roo discovers the house's hidden room--a garden with a tragic secret.

This tale full of unusual characters and mysterious secrets is a story that only Ellen Potter could write.

The Humming Room was inspired by The Secret Garden, a classic that Ellen Potter has reread every year of her adult life. See how these two works complement each other with this special e-book bonus – the entire text of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s original novel. Just keep reading.


Praise for The Humming Room

"Fans of the classic [The Secret Garden] will delight in the similarities and differences."--School Library Journal

“Ms. Potter revives the story [of The Secret Garden] with such grace and sensitivity.” --­­The Wall Street Journal

"Potter excels in creating quirky yet sympathetic characters with richly allusive connections to classic children's literature..."--BCCB

"Inspired by Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, this noteworthy novel stands wholly on its own, as Potter, with classic and contemporary storytelling flair, deftly interweaves fantasy, mystery, suspense, and realism. Beautifully wrought, eloquent prose combines with vivid setting details and diversely-drawn characters to affectingly portray themes of loneliness and grief. Roo is a memorable character—her experiences prove transformative in unexpected ways and, ultimately, her complexities and growth ring true. Poignant without sentimentality, this is a compelling read that is certain to resonate—and linger—with young readers." —Booklist, starred review

"Potter intentionally evokes the [Secret Garden], capturing its bittersweet emotions and fey qualities. But it is not a clone in modern dress. The author has created a fresh tale with a strong-willed heroine. . . . . An homage to a cherished classic that can work as a companion piece or stand alone as a solid, modern tale for young readers in the 21st century.--Kirkus Reviews

"Potter lavishes attention on the gothic island setting and Roo’s uncle’s estate; it’s a thrilling ghost story, but one that, like the story it’s drawn from, has love and rebirth at its heart. -- Publisher's Weekly, Starred Review

“…The story is fresh, funny and surprising. A quirky charmer.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred review

“With a dark, witty absurdity suggestive of Lemony Snicket, Potter (the Olivia Kidney books) draws readers into this compelling mystery-adventure about a missing mother…. Often laugh-out-loud funny, this tale quietly solves a deeper mystery: how to heal the hearts of this immensely likable trio.” – Publishers Weekly

“Hilarious and heartbreaking, wild and down-to-earth…The combination of fantasy and realism makes a compelling story, and young people will relate easily to the characters’ struggles. As the author tells the reader, ‘All great adventures have moments that are really crap.’”--Booklist

Praise for Ellen Potter:

“Potter has written a pitch-perfect novel . . . Filled with sarcasm and lots of humor, the story is filled with intriguing characters, believable and unique. A must-have for middle school libraries everywhere.”—Kids Lit for Slob

“Dashes of Dahl, snippets of Snicket, and heaps of Horvath humor abound, and like its prequel, this can be read on many levels . . . Sparkling writing, madcap characters, and serious themes contribute to a read-aloud that adults will enjoy as much as the children.”—Booklist for Olivia Kidney Stops for No One

In the Press

THE HUMMING ROOM by Ellen Potter | Kirkus Book Reviews
Read the Kirkus Review of THE HUMMING ROOM . A young orphan finds herself in a remote mansion that hides many secrets.
- Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Ellen Potter

  • Ellen Potter is the author of The Kneebone Boy, also published by Feiwel and Friends, and praised as "a quirky charmer" by Kirkus 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.

  • Ellen Potter
    Ellen Potter


Available Formats and Book Details

The Humming Room

Ellen Potter



Feiwel & Friends