House of Secrets

Chris Columbus, Author, Ned Vizzini, Author, Greg Call, Author, Greg Call, Illustrator, Chris Columbus, Illustrator, Ned Vizzini, Illustrator
Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini, illus. by Greg Call. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (496p) ISBN 978-0-06-219246-2
Reviewed on: 03/18/2013
Release date: 04/01/2013
In a rousing adventure reminiscent of The Emerald Atlas, director Columbus (The Help) and author Vizzini (The Other Normals) catapult a trio of siblings across time and space, as they square off against a forgotten writer’s literary legacy. When eight-year-old Eleanor, 12-year-old Brendan, and 15-year-old Cordelia Walker move with their parents into the ancient, eerie Kristoff House, they instantly suspect something’s not right. Then they’re attacked by the Wind Witch, their parents go missing, and the entire house is thrust into a bizarre conglomeration of settings taken from the works of Denver Kristoff, a prolific early 20th-century author. Seeking a missing book of immense power, the siblings battle warriors, giants, pirates, and skeletons to get home again. The nonstop action comes with increasingly high stakes, various scenarios paying homage to the likes of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard. The kitchen sink aspect of the plot gives the story a somewhat crowded, frenetic feel, but the deft characterizations and wildly imaginative concept more than make up for it. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 9–up. Agent: Dorian Karchmar, William Morris Endeavor. (May)
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