Summer Book Club: ‘House of Secrets’


(Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)
“House of Secrets”

By Chris Columbus
and Ned Vizzini

Ages 8 to 12

It doesn’t take long for life to go haywire in this fast-paced adventure story.

Before the Walkers have spent a night in their new home, a mysterious old house with amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the family’s entire existence is disrupted.

The Walker parents go missing after a strange elderly woman unleashes an attack and reveals herself to be the Wind Witch.
Fifteen-year-old Cordelia,
12-year-old Brendan and 8-year-old Eleanor must argue less and work together to find their parents and return to their life.

First they have to figure out where they are. No longer is their peculiar house located in present-day San Francisco. They now seem to be in a primeval forest, where they come up against warriors on horseback and must save a British World War I pilot from those warriors. Cordelia, a great reader, soon realizes that all of these characters come from books written a century ago by Denver Kristoff, the original owner of their house. It doesn’t make them any less dangerous.

The plot twists and turns through every chapter, as the Walkers try to figure out what the Wind Witch wants. She seems obsessed with a shadowy volume called “The Book of Doom and Desire,” and she wants the Walkers to get it for her.

Surviving one perilous situation after another, Cordelia, Brendan and Eleanor discover more about that book, which Brendan calls “pure evil” at one point, as well as about the old house and their own family history, which is connected to the creepy Kristoffs.

For fans of “House of Secrets,” the sequel, “Battle of the Beasts,” is already available, promising further twists, turns and time travel.

— Abby Nolan

You might also like . . .

Twins Lily and Oz move into an abandoned house that once belonged to their great-great uncle Pierre. This house, the setting for The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop by Kate Saunders, was also home to the family chocolate shop. Pierre and his brothers were masterful — and magical — chocolate makers. Brother Isadore turned evil, killed his siblings and made a chocolate that would let him live forever. Isadore wants to make more of the immortality chocolate to sell to terrorists, but he needs to find special chocolate molds that belonged to his brothers. A secret magic ministry recruits Lily and Oz to stop Isadore’s plan.

If you have a suggestion for an “Out of This World” book, fill out our online form, and we might include it in next Wednesday’s KidsPost.

NEXT WEEK

The Glass Sentence

By S.E. Grove

Ages 8 to 12

Nearly a century after the Great Disruption split parts of the world into different ages, or time periods, politicians in New Occident are planning to close the borders. Before that happens, Sophia wants to find her parents, who disappeared while exploring another age. Her uncle Shadrack, a famous mapmaker, plans to help with the search, but he is kidnapped. It’s up to Sophia and a new friend to rescue Shadrack and keep alive the hope of finding her parents.

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