This book reads like a blockbuster movie — and it’s not exactly a surprise, considering Chris Columbus [the director of the Harry Potter movies] is one of the authors! (You may also recognize the name Ned Vizzini because of his hilarious book-turned-movie It’s Kind of a Funny Story.) The short chapters and high action make this a great selection for reading aloud and/or for reluctant readers. My son and I absolutely LOVED House of Secrets and thought the only “bad” thing about it is that we don’t know how it ends, since it’s the first of a trilogy and the other two books don’t even have publication dates yet!
Brendan, Eleanor, and Cordelia Walker, like many siblings, don’t exactly get along. Unlike most kids, though, they get magicked away by an evil witch and have to learn to work together if they ever want to return home and see their parents again. How did this all happen? It began when their father lost his job as a surgeon after a mysterious incident that lead to a major lawsuit against the hospital he worked for. Dr. Walker was having a difficult time finding a new job, which left him unable to afford the house they owned, and the Walkers stumbled upon a too-good-to-be-true Victorian home just outside of San Francisco. The former owner was famous author Denver Kristoff, and the evil witch was actually his daughter, so the people and places Brendan, Eleanor, and Cordelia encounter are actually born of Kristoff’s imagination. A fantastic story in both senses of the word.