When Hadley’s parents leave on a cruise and then are reported lost at sea, her perfect world is turned upside down. In a flash, she is whisked away to a new life of drudgery at Grimm House where she waits on not one but two persnickety old aunts. As she grudgingly fulfills their commands of cooking, cleaning, and even after-dinner-dancing, she comes to suspect the aunts are really witches who are scheming to take the thing she loves best. With only her wits and the help of some unlikely new friends, Hadley makes a plan to escape Grimm House and find her way home before it’s too late.-Goodreads
Grimm House Review
Grimm House was a great, creepy kids dark fantasy. Karen McQuestion used several familiar elements from fairy tales and added a few twists of her own. She does a good job of keeping it right on this side of being too creepy or sad for a kid’s book. There are definitely dark elements, but nothing that’s truly scary. The ending also nicely resolves an ‘ashes’ problem that could have worried kids later.
Hadley is a good character. She’s a budding ballerina who pretty much has it all. Her parents have the money to enable her to reach for the stars. They love her, and each other. She lives in a nice house and has best friends. Things seem pretty much perfect for her. She doesn’t know hardship. Not until the Grimm sisters show up. And then her life gets turned upside down.
The ‘lessons learned’ in Grimm House are timeless. Someone or something stepping in to give a ‘favored’ character an appreciation for what they have. Making them understand how good they really have it. The only difference is that in Grimm House, Hadley never comes across as the bratty character we want to see get her comeuppance. Instead, right from the beginning, she’s just a sad kid missing her parents. Still, she learns the lesson she’s meant to learn and is presumably all the better for it. And then, of course, there’s Hadley learning to depend on herself. To shore up her insides and become a confident little girl who realizes she has the power to help herself.
The ‘unlikely new friends’ mentioned in the synopsis really are unexpected. Their introduction made me giggle. Adults who have seen the old movie Joe’s Apartment are going to get a laugh out of this book. (And if you haven’t seen that ridiculous movie, you need too!) Help definitely does come from unexpected places.
Grimm House is well-paced and easy to lose yourself in. It is a children’s book, but a surprisingly enjoyable one for adults to read too. I found myself invested in how Hadley was going to escape the situation. Karen McQuestion is a talented writer. Grimm House is suitable for ages 7+, I believe.