House of Secrets

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9780062192479: House of Secrets

Hailed as “a breakneck, jam-packed roller coaster of an adventure” by J. K. Rowling, this New York Times bestseller is the first installment in the explosive tween fantasy series by famed Hollywood director Chris Columbus (of Harry Potter fame) and bestselling author Ned Vizzini (It’s Kind of a Funny Story).

Siblings Brendan, Eleanor, and Cordelia Walker once had everything they could ever want. But everything changed when Dr. Walker lost his job. Now the family must relocate to an old Victorian house, formerly the home of occult novelist Denver Kristoff—a house that simultaneously feels creepy and too good to be true. By the time the Walkers realize that one of their neighbors has sinister plans for them, they’re banished to a primeval forest way off the grid.

Bloodthirsty medieval warriors patrol the woods around them, supernatural pirates roam the neighboring seas, and a power-hungry queen rules the land. To survive, the siblings will have to be braver than they ever thought possible—and to fight against their darkest impulses. The key may lie in their own connection to the secret Kristoff legacy. But as they unravel that legacy, they’ll discover that it’s not just their family that’s in danger . . . it’s the entire world.

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Review:

Amazon.com Review

Top 10 Secrets Behind House of Secrets

House of Secrets is the first book in a new series by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini, but there aren’t only secrets in the book—like the Wind Witch, a villainess who J. K. Rowling calls “seriously creepy.” There are also secrets about how it was written. Here, the authors reveal ten of them!

1. Denver Kristoff’s name is a coded message.

House of Secrets is about regular kids getting trapped in the worlds of a mad novelist. To name that novelist, we looked to ourselves. (We are a little crazy.) “Ned” backwards is “Den,” and when you add a “-ver” for “Vizzini” you get “Denver.” “Chris” became “Kristoff.” And so Denver Kristoff is us!

2. The book used to be called The Page Runners.

The Page Runners seemed perfect for an adventure about being trapped in books! But it sounds a lot like Maze Runners, doesn’t it? Derp.

3. Chris and Ned have only met in person five times.

Ah, the wonders of modern technology! We live 379 miles from each other (Chris in San Francisco, Ned in Los Angeles), so we wrote House of Secrets via email. In fact, the New York Comic-Con event where we introduced the book was the third time we had ever met!

4. Cordelia Walker used to be Violet.

Up until the middle of the book, we were calling Cordelia “Violet,” nickname “Vi.” Why’d it change? Because Violet is the oldest sister in the Lemony Snicket books! There is a shortage of names out there, seriously.

5. Fat Jagger used to be Fat Russell.

One of our favorite House of Secrets characters, Fat Jagger, is a dangerous but lovable colossus the size of a sixty-story building. Initially we thought he looked like Russell Brand, and even called him “a Brobdingnagian Russell Brand.” But we wondered how long Brand would be around as someone to visualize. So we renamed him “Fat Jagger” and made him look like “a mammoth Mick Jagger.” Because Mick is not going away.

6. It started with a visual.

A Victorian house, one of San Francisco’s famous “painted ladies,” floating in the ocean—that was the image that inspired House of Secrets. Chris had it in his head for years before he started working with Ned.

7. The author photo was not totally safe.

Ned’s wife, Sabra, took the House of Secrets author photo in San Francisco, at Chris’s 1492 Pictures production office. Chris suggested we go on the fire escape. “Careful,” he said, “or there’s not gonna be a second book.”

8. Chris and Ned worked double-time in different hemispheres to finish the book.

In the summer of 2012, during editing, we were in opposing time zones (Chris: Italy; Ned: Los Angeles). When one of us finished a chapter at night, we sent it to the other, who would just be waking up. That way the book literally kept growing as we slept.

9. The Book of Doom and Desire used to be called The Dark Bible.

That’s right, we did actually think that a magical book that granted wishes and warped its owner’s mind could be called The Dark Bible. And still get published in America! Turns out, not so much.

10. Cordelia’s favorite authors are actual authors whose books you can buy!

One of the purposes of House of Secrets is to celebrate reading and the worlds that it conjures. The people who Cordelia reads—Grace Paley, Richard Brautigan, and Jerzy Kosiński—are all here on Amazon with tons of great books for you to buy. Although if you’re reading House of Secrets, you may not be ready for The Painted Bird.

Review

“A breakneck, jam-packed roller coaster of an adventure about the secret power of books, HOUSE OF SECRETS comes complete with three resourceful sibling heroes, a seriously creepy villainess, and barrel loads of fantasy and fear.” (J.K. Rowling )

“A swift-paced...clever page-turner for any reader who has wanted to take part in literary adventures ... This story is compelling, great fun, and sure to be popular.” (ALA Booklist )

From the Back Cover:

Brendan, Eleanor, and Cordelia Walker once had everything: two loving parents, a beautiful house in San Francisco, and all the portable electronic devices they could want. But everything changed when Dr. Walker lost his job in the wake of a mysterious incident. Now in dire straits, the family must relocate to an old Victorian house that used to be the home of occult novelist Denver Kristoff—a house that feels simultaneously creepy and too good to be true.

By the time the Walkers realize that one of their neighbors has sinister plans for them, they're banished to a primeval forest way off the grid. Their parents? Gone. Their friends? A world away. And they aren't alone. Bloodthirsty medieval warriors patrol the woods around them, supernatural pirates roam the neighboring seas, and a power-hungry queen rules the land. To survive, the siblings will have to be braver than they ever thought possible—and fight against their darkest impulses. The key may lie in their own connection to the secret Kristoff legacy. But as they unravel that legacy, they'll discover it's not just their family that's in danger . . . it's the entire world.

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