The Humming Room Ellen Potter Book Review

Oh friends, I love reading books that just fuel my love of the middle grade category. The Humming Room by Ellen Potter is a very small book. Your eye might not even see it on the shelf – which is quite unfortunate. I’ve not seen much fanfare for The Humming Room which is a shame, because it’s a quiet, beautifully written take on The Secret Garden.

The Humming Room Ellen Potter Book Cover

The Humming Room

Roo Fanshaw’s parents are murdered — it’s a drug related homicide. Her family life is not exactly functional. So, when Roo discovers she has a rich uncle that her father never mentioned, it comes as a shock. Roo is whisked away to her Uncle’s home on Cough Rock, an island in the St. Lawrence. There she hears a mysterious humming noise, and if you’ve read The Secret Garden or see the movie, you know exactly were the plot is going.

You guys, I fricken love prickly orphans, hardcore. Roo can be a bit bratty sometimes — but y’all she jet wants a moment to herself. With a tutor and a servant in her face constantly, I can’t quite blame Roo. She feels a deep connection to nature and the earth, and okay I won’t get all dirty hippy on you because, gross, BUT yeah, Roo doesn’t feel that connection when everyone is constantly yapping around her and she’s trapped in lessons. It’s interesting to me, how at first, when we meet Roo, she’s a wild girl who prefers to be alone, rather than the company of others. BUT then we get to see her slowly let people in and trust. AND OH YOU GUYS the side characters. I won’t even mention them because they deserve to be discovered on your own, just TRUST when I say the side characters made The Humming Room for me.

Like most, middle grade fiction, The Humming Room by Ellen Potter is not heavy on romance. There are chaste friendships. AND I LOVE IT. I loved seeing Roo’s friendly side. I loved seeing her reach out to help others. Trust me, you will like this bit too, if you are similar to me.

The Humming Room is a breeze to read and obviously could be a gateway book for a middle grader. Ellen Potter’s latest may interest a kid in trying the classics, which is AWESOME. I certainly enjoyed this homage to The Secret Garden, and as a reasonably well read 24 year old am definitely thinking that I will read The Secret Garden soon, because I enjoyed The Humming Room so much.

Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher

Other reviews of The Humming Room by Ellen Potter:

A Cupcake And A Latte
Karissa’s Reading Review
Great Imaginations
Mission To Read

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I should read this – I looooved The Secret Garden as a kid.

  2. Oooo I definitely want to read this – I love the Secret Garden. The film is also lovely 🙂

  3. The Secret Garden was one of my FAVORITE books when I was a kid! There was something just magical about it and this sounds right up along side it! What a fun take on an old classic. Thanks for sharing this one! 🙂

  4. All I needed to see was the mention of THE SECRET GARDEN and I was already sold on reading this book. Your review makes it sound wonderful. Though I don’t read too much MG, this one certainly sounds like something I’d enjoy!

  5. I’ve got an ARC of this one and your review just bumped it up my TBR pile. I think Roo and I are going to get along wonderfully, and I can’t wait to meet the supporting characters too!

  6. 🙂 The more I see this one the more I want to read it!

  7. First of all, thank you for linking to my review. I absolutely adored this book. I loved it so much it hurt. And I feel exactly the same way you do. When I finished, it had me wanting to read The Secret Garden again.

    I just thought the imagery was fabulous, and the usage of plants and animals was brilliant as well. I loved picturing the story unfold in my mind.

    And I agree. If I had kids, which I do not, I would be running out to buy this book for them. But I am going to try to get a copy of it put in my husbands classroom.

    Awesome review April.

    • You are welcome! I love linking to other reviews. ANd yeah, I hear you on the buying if you had kids. Sometimes I’d like to have children just so I can share wonderful books with them.

      Ellen Potter is definitely a fabulous writer.

  8. I loved The Secret Garden as a kid, so this one sounds great! Great review!

  9. I’m so glad to hear this is another awesome MG! I really want it to come in at my library so I can enjoy its awesomeness as well :]

  10. I agree, I so wish this book was getting more fanfare because I adored it! The entire cast was wonderful, and you’re right, they MADE the book. This was the perfect story for kids in rough situations. I don’t feel like Roo completely changed throughout the story, but she did grow, and I loved it.

    • I thought her change was realistic enough. No complete transformation, but definitely some growth.

      Hopefully over the next 3 weeks there will be more attention and fanfare for The Humming Room.

  11. I loved The Secret Garden when I was younger! I’m definitely going to have to pick this book up.

  12. I really want to read The Secret Garden now as well, this book was so charming! I can’t believe how much story was packed into less than 200 pages.

    I loved The Secret Garden movie as a kid, and this definitely channeled the same spirit/feelings.

  13. I think I’ve said this before, but I really love that you review so many MG novels.

  14. Really enjoyed reading The Humming Room as well! Terrific review, I also loved reading how Roo opens herself up to others… I finally read Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter too- it was terrific. I was inspired to keep reading her treasures after finishing Humming Room. The Secret Garden has popped up on my “reread” shelf, I loved it when I was young. Used to avoid rereading because I thought the book would live up to my memories, but now enjoying picking up old treasures again.

  15. LOVED this book. I have to tell you, though I have a special place in my heart for The Secret Garden, it’s a special case. If you decide to read it, go in prepared. Like, Dickens/classics prepared.