Kathryn Ormsbee

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The House in Poplar Wood

August 2018, Chronicle Books, 344 pp

Simultaneously heartwarming and delightfully spooky, The House in Poplar Wood is a story about a boy’s desire to be free, a girl’s desire to make a difference, and a family’s desire to be together again. For as long as the Vickery twins can remember, Lee and his mother have served Memory, while Felix and his father assist Death. This is the Agreement. But one Halloween, Gretchen Whipple smashes her way into their lives. Her bargain is simple: If the twins help her solve the murder of local girl Essie Hasting, she’ll help them break the Agreement. The more the three investigate, however, the more they realize that something’s gone terribly wrong in their town. Death is on the loose, and if history repeats itself, Essie’s might not be the last murder in Poplar Wood.


KIRKUS – “Magical elements, evocative, intelligent writing, and ever-ratcheting suspense.”

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY – “A smart, thrilling mystery, equal parts dark and gentle, that explores questions about freedom, power, and choosing one’s master.”

SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL – “Quirky, spooky, and thoroughly enjoyable.”


  • A New York Public Library Best Book for Kids
  • A Chicago Public Library Best Book
  • A Bank Street Children’s Book of the Year


Chinese ComplexChina Times Publishing
ItalianMondadori Libri
RussianClever Media Group


For film/TV rights, please contact Addison Duffy at UTA.

NOTE: Audio exploited by author.