Author: Ben Guterson
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy
Number of Pages: 384
From Goodreads: An enchanting urban fantasy middle-grade debut―the first book in a trilogy―set in a magical hotel full of secrets.
Orphan Elizabeth Somers’s malevolent aunt and uncle ship her off to the ominous Winterhouse Hotel, owned by the peculiar Norbridge Falls. Upon arrival, Elizabeth quickly discovers that Winterhouse has many charms―most notably its massive library. It’s not long before she locates a magical book of puzzles that will unlock a mystery involving Norbridge and his sinister family. But the deeper she delves into the hotel’s secrets, the more Elizabeth starts to realize that she is somehow connected to Winterhouse. As fate would have it, Elizabeth is the only person who can break the hotel’s curse and solve the mystery. But will it be at the cost of losing the people she has come to care for, and even Winterhouse itself?
Mystery, adventure, and beautiful writing combine in this exciting debut richly set in a hotel full of secrets.
This was the February pick for the Middle-Grade Marvels Book Club, and words cannot describe how much I loved it.
Winterhouse follows Elizabeth Somers, an orphan who has been sent to stay at the mysterious Winterhouse Hotel for the winter holidays by her aunt and uncle. She doesn’t want to go, she can’t figure out why her aunt and uncle are sending her away, and she especially can’t figure out how they can afford this. Nonetheless, she reluctantly goes, and the Winterhouse Hotel is more than she could have ever imagined. It’s a place full of charm, mystery, a massive library, lots of activities, and many memorable people. Soon after arriving, she meets Norbridge Falls, the owner of the hotel, and Freddy, a boy around her age. While she’s there, she stumbles upon a mystery, and it’s up to her to break the curse, solve the mystery, and save the hotel.
This book was so much fun. What I liked most about it was all of the wordplay. Elizabeth and Freddy like word ladder puzzles and every chapter had a little word ladder at the beginning. The word puzzles and other riddles throughout the book brought me so much joy, and they made this book really stand out to me.
I also really liked the characters in this book. Elizabeth is a great main character, and I loved learning more about her. I loved her determination, cleverness, bookishness, and her entire personality in general. I loved Freddy and all of his inventions, and I also loved the friendship between him and Elizabeth. I thought Norbridge Falls was perfectly eccentric and that he made an excellent hotel owner. I also thought the villains in this book were quite creepy, and I enjoyed trying to figure out what their next move was going to be.
I also loved the setting of the Winterhouse Hotel in general. The hotel is massive, it’s full of different rooms that hold different secrets, and I loved exploring it with Elizabeth and Freddy. One of my favourite chapters in the book is when Elizabeth and Freddy plan a scavenger hunt for each other because I got to explore the hotel with them. I also loved the hotel’s history and learning about the Falls family.
I enjoyed the mystery in this book. I liked the clues; I thought they were clever. I enjoyed the wordplay that went with a lot of the clues. To a certain extent, some of the mystery was quite obvious, but I still found it fun to read about and solve with the characters. Some of the scenes near the end of the book kept me at the edge of my seat, and I wanted to keep reading to make sure that everything was going to be okay and to find out what would happen next.
Overall, I loved this book, and I cannot wait to read the second and third books in this trilogy. I want more Winterhouse in my life; I need to know what other secrets the hotel holds and how Elizabeth and Freddy are going to figure them out.
Rating: 4.5 Stars!
If you’re interested, you can purchase a copy of Winterhouse from Amazon* here.
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