What the heck am I talking about? I'm talking about part of the plot of the new book Heap House by Edward Carey. Filled with unique black-and-white illustrations, Heap House is a gothic story set in England in 1875.
Clod lives in a large house surrounded by large heaps of dirt and discarded objects with all his aunts, uncles, and cousins, and each one has a birth object that they keep with them at all times. The strange thing is that Clod can hear the objects talking, and they're calling out names.
At the same time, a young girl called Lucy is brought to the house to live as a servant, but she doesn't take very well to the strict rules under which she must live, namely giving up her name and being called by the last name of "Iremonger" like the rest of the servants.
Lucy and Clod strike up a forbidden friendship and must work together to figure out what happened to a servant who has disappeared and why all the birth objects and dirt heaps seem to be taking on lives of their own.
This is just the first book of a trilogy, so the story isn't over when you get to the last page. Just don't go reading about the books on Edward Carey's website before you finish this one because you might risk getting a spoiler alert. Unfortunately, that's what I did. Even knowing what I did, that didn't ruin my enjoyment of this book. It was kind of quirky, a little dark, and very unique. It's age-graded for 10 and up, but I think that younger kids may have trouble following the story. The characters in the book are in their teens, so this might be better for kids 12 and up.
Heap House is published by The Overlook Press and is available to purchase now. I received a free advance review copy at Book Expo America with no obligation to review.