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?
What I Liked Immediately, I liked Elizabeth. She’s easy to relate to: we first meet her all by herself, locked out of her house, with nothing but a backpack and a few dollars to get her to a mysterious hotel for winter break.
Even before she arrives at the hotel, a mystery begins. A strange couple are eyeballing her on the bus up there, and then they disembark at the hotel with luggage that looks weirdly like a coffin. The hotel itself is beautiful, full of candy, and offers themed events almost every day. I want this place to be real so I can go there!!
What I Would Have Liked to See The story kind of drags in places, and I think it wouldn’t hav felt dragg-y if the timeline were a little more concise.
My Favorite! The puzzles throughout the book are fun and generally not too difficult, with the exception of the big one that unlocks the secret of the entire hotel. Obviously.
TL;DR This is a fun, cute book for upper MG readers, and I hear there’s another one coming out! I’m looking forward to another trip to Winterhouse to see what else is hiding inside.