Room One (Book Review)

You’ll love it if
you’re looking for a gentle kids’ mystery with a discussable ending

This book review contains affiliate links. Here’s my disclosure policy.

Room One

By Andrew Clements

Plot & Pacing
Writing Craft
Moral Value

Who is hiding out in the ol’ farmhouse?

I love Andrew Clements, but this was not a favorite for me or my boys. The book came with our homeschool curriculum, and it sounded intriguing—”two mysteries in one,” says the cover. I think that skewed my expectations. I was anticipating something heavy on clues, puzzles, twists, and gasps.

But this book was very quiet and unassuming. The drama is small, just like the town of Plattsford, Nebraska, where the story is set. The main character, Ted, is a sixth-grader who stumbles upon a family squatting in an abandoned farmhouse, and he does what he can to help them.

The book has gold-standard values, I will give it that. But, everyone in the book seemed to be on his/her best behavior. It would’ve been interesting to have a mischief-maker or a bad guy in the mix to liven things up. There wasn’t enough conflict for me.

The climax of the story is a huge bust—and it’s supposed to be. This made for some interesting discussion. My boys and I were rooting for a magical ending where everyone cheers and the kids hug and the parents cry while the soundtrack swells to a crescendo. The book deliberately bursts your bubble. Asking “WHY?” is a good exercise for kids.

Overall, though, I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone who is looking for a page-turner to keep the interest of a reluctant reader. Good but not great.


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