Review Blog

Feb 24 2016

Room 13 by Robert Swindells

cover image

Rollercoasters . Oxford University Press, 2015. ISBN 9780198328933
(Age: 11+) Recommended. Horror, School trip, Holiday, Friendship. A reprint of Swindell's award winning book first published in 1989, Room 13 is scary enough to enthuse any younger reader, having a class group going on a school camp to a seaside hotel. Swindells, a former teacher has written a wonderful tale, the horror story aside, of teachers herding their charges onto the bus, fussing about rules and dormitories and suitcases, until I breathed a sigh of relief that school excursions are a thing of the distant past for me. Swindells has written a background that is just so real, I sweated for the staff.
The students are all allocated to different rooms on the three floors of the hotel ('but I wanted to be with...') and odd things happen right from the start. Fliss in Room 12 sees that there is no Room 13 but a door marked with that number is only a closet, and wonders. But at the stroke of midnight on their first night there, Fliss sees her friend, Ellie-May wandering the corridors and going through the door marked Room 13. The next day Ellie-May denies this but is acting very strangely. So Swindells builds the tension in this little horror tale sure to intrigue upper primary and lower secondary readers.
This is one in a series of books called Rollercoasters, aimed for children between 11 and 14 with more challenging subject matter, written by well known authors and suitable for class texts. They are supported with free and down loadable teacher and student notes which are comprehensive and extensive.
Fran Knight

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