“A fast-paced thrill ride of a book . . . it’s Batman meets Annie.” —Stuart Gibbs, New York Times best-selling author of the Spy School series
“An adventure-filled read with a twisty mystery and spunky friendships. I loved it!” –Melissa de la Cruz, New York times best-selling author of The Descendants series
April didn't mean to start the fire. She wasn’t the one who broke the vase. April didn’t ask to go live in a big, creepy mansion with a bunch of orphans who just don't understand that April isn’t like them. After all, April’s mother is coming back for her someday very soon.
All April has to do is find the clues her mother left inside the massive mansion. But Winterborne House is hiding more than one secret, so April and her friends are going to have to work together to unravel the riddle of a missing heir, a creepy legend, and a mysterious key before the only home they’ve ever known is lost to them forever.
In this entertaining adventure reminiscent of Annie, five precocious foster siblings discover secrets in their sprawling new home. April, 12, has been in the foster system ever since her mother abandoned her with nothing but an ornate key and promise of her return. When the key turns out to bear the crest of the fabulously wealthy Winterborne family whose sole heir, Gabriel, vanished a decade prior after his family was killed April sneaks into the family's just-opened museum exhibit, intent on finding what it might unlock. She accidentally sets the exhibit aflame, and when she awakens in the hospital, April and several other children, including genius Sadie, who is black, and Londoner con artist Colin, are brought to Winterborne House as an effort to turn it into a group home. Once there, April discovers that Gabriel is alive, hiding in the mansion's secret passages, and has a good reason for remaining hidden for so long someone's fiendish plan, which the children must help him thwart. In her middle grade debut, Carter (Not If I Save You First) offers up mystery, intrigue, and swashbuckling action in a rollicking story of long-lost secrets and found family. Ages 10 12.