Parents' Guide to

The House That Wasn't There

By Joly Herman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Engaging story of loss, friendship, and a mystery to solve.

The House That Wasn't There Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 1 parent review

age 8+

Beautiful story of friends and family

The story deals with some of the challenges of evolving friendships, families moving, and single parenthood. It counters some stereotypes with a boy who knits, but deals with the awkwardness of being such a person. Child, 8, enjoyed it but felt there should have been more to it.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This exquisitely rendered story proves that magic is all around us. In The House That Wasn't There, author Elana K. Arnold excels at capturing the nuances of the middle school mind. Her characters are observant and thoughtful, acting upon internal dialogues that will appeal to kids who might see facets of themselves in Oak or Alder. The bouts of self-consciousness, timid success, and longing for connection feel spot-on for this age group. There's a lot to be read between the lines.

In contrast to the easy flow of school and homelife that is crafted so fluidly for these neighborhood kids, the fantasy element feels slightly intrusive. But kids who long for proof of magic and coincidence will be especially pleased. This story successfully shows that uncontrollable circumstances aren't all bad -- sometimes the twists life throws our way can be magical and healing.

Book Details

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