Winterhouse (Winterhouse #1)

by Ben Guterson (Author) Chloe Bristol (Illustrator)

Winterhouse (Winterhouse #1)
Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade
Series: Winterhouse

An Edgar Award Finalist

An Agatha Award Finalist

An enchanting urban fantasy middle-grade debut--the first book in a trilogy--set in a magical hotel full of secrets.

Orphan Elizabeth Somers's malevolent aunt and uncle ship her off to the ominous Winterhouse Hotel, owned by the peculiar Norbridge Falls. Upon arrival, Elizabeth quickly discovers that Winterhouse has many charms--most notably its massive library. It's not long before she locates a magical book of puzzles that will unlock a mystery involving Norbridge and his sinister family. But the deeper she delves into the hotel's secrets, the more Elizabeth starts to realize that she is somehow connected to Winterhouse. As fate would have it, Elizabeth is the only person who can break the hotel's curse and solve the mystery. But will it be at the cost of losing the people she has come to care for, and even Winterhouse itself?

Mystery, adventure, and beautiful writing combine in this exciting debut richly set in a hotel full of secrets.

Christy Ottaviano Books

Praise for Winterhouse:

An Indie Next List Pick

"Clever and captivating." --Kirkus Reviews

"A charming, atmospheric mystery with some fantasy elements, for fans of Kate Milford's Greenglass House and Trenton Lee Stewart's The Mysterious Benedict Society. . . . Bristol's art is whimsical and enhances the spirit of the story." --School Library Journal

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A natural fit for readers with a penchant for puzzles and wordplay in the vein of the Mr. Lemoncello's Library series and Pseudonymous Bosch


Clever and captivating.

School Library Journal

Gr 4-6—Puzzle-loving bibliophile Elizabeth Somers is an 11-year-old orphan living with her impoverished and disagreeable Aunt Purdy and Uncle Burlap. Right before the holidays, Elizabeth finds herself locked out of her home and sent off to the amazing and magical hotel, Winterhouse. While there, she befriends the peculiar proprietor, Norbridge Falls, and is drawn to a unique book which opens up many secrets about Winterhouse and Elizabeth herself. Elizabeth also encounters a suspicious duo who are up to something nefarious and push her deeper into the mystery of the odd hotel. Elizabeth is a daring girl trying to get to the bottom of it all with her newfound and first friend Freddy while also enjoying all the wonderful things that she has been unable to experience living with her Aunt and Uncle. This entertaining mystery romp is a must-have for all young bibliophiles; it is chock full of book titles and literary references, both contemporary (Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabentein) and classic (Anne of Green Gables). Each chapter title also includes a word ladder for puzzle lovers. Bristol's art is whimsical and enhances the spirit of the story. VERDICT A charming, atmospheric mystery with some fantasy elements, for fans of Kate Milford's Greenglass House and Trenton Lee Stewart's The Mysterious Benedict Society.—Kristyn Dorfman, The Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publisher's Weekly

Eleven-year-old Elizabeth Somers has lived with her chilly aunt and uncle ever since her parents died in an accident that Elizabeth can't quite remember. After her relatives accept an offer for an all-expenses-paid vacation, they ship Elizabeth off to the Winterhouse Hotel "in the middle of nowhere during Christmas with no money and hardly any clothes," as she puts it. Though wary, Elizabeth is intrigued by the hotel and its guests, making a new friend in 11-year-old Freddy, who loves puzzles and anagrams as much as she does. But she's troubled by recurring feelings of uneasiness that precede a variety of incidents, as well as a sinister couple that seems to be keeping tabs on her. Then there's the mysterious book she can't bring herself to return to the hotel's vast library. Filled with puzzles and magic, Guterson's debut keeps suspense high as the secrets of Elizabeth's past unwind. This satisfying mystery leaves just enough unanswered questions to have readers eager for the next book in this planned trilogy. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 9-12. Author's agent: Rena Rossner, Deborah Harris Agency. (Jan.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes


Ben Guterson

Ben Guterson is the award-winning author of The Einsteins of Vista Point, which has sold into seven languages, as well as Winterhouse, an Edgar Award and Agatha Award finalist and an Indie Next List Pick, and its sequels, The Secrets of Winterhouse and The Winterhouse Mysteries. The Winterhouse trilogy is available in eleven languages worldwide. Ben created all the intricate mandala art for The World-Famous Nine. He lives near Seattle, and he invites you to visit him online at

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Square Fish
Publication date
October 20, 2018
BISAC categories
JUV047000 - Juvenile Fiction | Books & Libraries
JUV037000 - Juvenile Fiction | Fantasy & Magic
JUV028000 - Juvenile Fiction | Mysteries, Espionage, & Detective Stories
JUV013050 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Orphans & Foster Homes
Library of Congress categories
Edgar Award
Agatha Award

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