Walls Within Walls is written by Maureen Sherry. It was published in 2010 by Katherine Tegen. Sherry’s website can be found here.
“After their father, a video-game inventor, strikes it rich, the Smithfork kids move from their cozy Brooklyn neighborhood to a swanky apartment on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.
One day Brid, CJ, and Patrick discover an astonishing secret about their apartment. The original owner, the deceased multimillionaire Mr. Post, long ago turned the apartment itself into a giant puzzle containing a mysterious book and hidden panels—a puzzle that, with some luck, courage, and brainpower, will lead to discovering the Post family fortune. Unraveling the mystery causes them to race through today’s New York City—and to uncover some long-hidden secrets of the past.”
What I Liked:
What a fun puzzle book! I love books that involve riddles and secrets and treasure hunts, and this one balanced the riddles with the everyday worries and goings-on of kids really well. I loved that the kids felt uncomfortable and strange in their new life and I loved the interactions of the parents with the kids. Very well done, Sherry.
Ok, so that man in their apartment was legitimately creepy. Maybe it was the invasiveness or maybe I just was really connected to the kids at that point, but that was creepy. Imagine a six-year-old thinking that some strange person is just going to pop out of their closet at any moment. Creepy.
I loved the background behind the puzzles; it wasn’t just a treasure hunt, it was a treasure story with a rich, detailed background (and lots of history, too!). This wasn’t some stranger that just left clues in the apartment for some random person to find. Eloise, and through her Mr. Post, were real (in the fictional sense, of course) people involved and had stories to tell that made the kids want to find the answers not for themselves, but for others.
The illustrations in here were lovely. I really enjoyed them.
What I Didn’t Like:
Recommended Age Range: 10+
Genre: Mystery, Realistic, Children’s
Quickly, CJ went through the other words, scribbling down, “Seven clues on seven structures get water from above to rupture.”
“What does that mean?” asked Pat.
“Excellent question, little man,” said CJ. “Excellent question.”
“Hey, guys,” said Brid, “I think we should do as this little piece of paper says. I think we should return this library book.”
“It’s the right thing to do,” CJ said.
“Yes, definitely the right thing,” said Pat, happy to agree.
CJ said, “Are you mad I didn’t take you with me to the storage room? From now on, we’ll do this stuff together. Okay, Brid?”
Maybe he shouldn’t have told her so much at once, he thought. “I know you want to include Patrick more, and I think he can be a big help to us. We certainly have a lot of work to do,” he continued.
But Brid didn’t answer. She simply pointed behind him with terrified, enormous eyes.
“What?” CJ turned around just in time to see the figure of a man moving quickly down the hallway and darting into Patrick’s bedroom.
I love treasure hunt books, and this one has a great, historical (in parts) background to go along with it! The plot isn’t just focused on the hunt, either, and includes aspects of the kids’ lives that make the treasure hunt plot just that more endearing to me. Joe Torrio was creepy, but he gets better.
You can buy this here: Walls Within Walls