While digging through some really old stuff from my childhood, I happened upon some of my school books from when I was 11. All throughout my school career, I used to hoard my old exercise books that were full. I really didn’t want to throw them away. When I moved out to university I did in fact chuck them all out but these must have survived somehow.
Flicking through one of my old English books from my first year in high school I found a book review of Robert Swindells’ book Room 13. It’s a children’s Gothic horror novel about a class who go on a trip to Whitby and they try to unravel the mystery of Room 13 that only exists by night.
I’ll let 11 year old me take it from here…
‘Room 13’ was written by Robert Swindells and is about a class who go to a hotel at Whitby for a trip for a week and a girl called Ellie-May keeps going into this room which is a cupboard by day but Room 13 by night. Fliss, Lisa, Gary and Trot stop Ellie-May from going in Room 13 and when she comes out Ellie-May is sick and everyone kills the thing that is making Ellie-May sick.
The amount of time that passes in the story is a week. The events that happened were unusual. The opening of the story is so dramatic.
The events of the story followed in a way that you could understand everything that was going on and what the characters were really like and the events are in a sequence apart from Fliss’ dream at the beginning.
The climax of the story is when Fliss, Gary, Lisa and Trot killed the vampire in Room 13 and when Gary stabbed the vampire with his rock and when Fliss hit the rock with her pebble.
The main characters were Fliss, Lisa, Gary, Trot, Old Sal, Mr Hepworth and Ellie-May.
Fliss is the mystery solver and she is the kind and caring one. Lisa is the one who goes along with Fliss most of the time. Gary is the stronger character of the boys and he is the joker. Trot is a minor character and follows Gary around most of the time.
Mr Hepworth doesn’t like children and he is really sarcastic. Old Sal is the kind of ghostly kind of person and everyone thinks she is mad. Ellie-May is sulky, spoilt and selfish and no one likes her. But at the end she is nice to Fliss.
The characters are described in not much detail. You don’t know everything about them. I found Fliss most interesting because she believed about Room 13 even though everyone said she was talking nonsense.
I could see some relation between Gary and Fliss because they were the stronger characters and Trot and Lisa are minor characters and just follow Gary and Fliss most of the time they are at Whitby.
I think the only ones who changed throughout the story are Lisa and Trot. I think Lisa changed in a way that she became more scared than you think she would get and Trot was like that as well.
Comments on style
The story was written in 3rd person. This was important to the story in a way that you could imagine everything that was going on in the story. The setting was described in lots of detail and you could picture clearly what all the place the class went to looked like.
Feelings and attitude were described in much detail so you could see how people would change in the story. It was a good story because the way the author wrote is is there is always something going on in the story so you never want to put the book down.
My favourite part in the story is when Old Sal tells Fliss she is the chosen one and that only she is the only one who could save Ellie-May and other people from whatever was in Room 13.
There wasn’t anything I would improve in the story because if you changed anything the story wouldn’t be as good as it is.That’s what I think anyway.
I think Robert Swindells didn’t have any reason to write this story. During we were reading the story I was like ‘I want to read, I want to read on.’ After the story I was like ‘What a freaky story’.
I don’t think I learned anything about people or ways of life from the book. I would compare this book to others in a way that it is a spooky book that makes us turn the page and read on and if it were a film it would keep you on the edge of your seat.
I don’t want to say anything else about Room 13 because I think I’ve said enough about the book. I would recommend this book to people between 10+ because children under 10 wouldn’t understand the plot of the book.
At the end, my teacher wrote:
A very good detailed review focusing on all aspects of narrative. Please try to improve your presentation.
That’s a bit of an exaggeration of how good the scribbling of an 11 year old is, but she can’t exactly tell me how crap it is! I did have a good laugh reading this back, so I can imagine my teacher had a good chuckle at it as well!
I do remember actually enjoying the book quite a lot and it’s one that’s stuck in my memory even now. One thing little Me neglected to mention was that chapter 13 was totally blank! Spooky indeed!
11 year old me clearly never had a concept of spoilers and totally gave away what was in Room 13!
I’m glad to say that my handwriting has improved significantly, I’d like to think so has my writing style but I’ll leave that up to you!