Achim is eleven years old when he moves from the orphanage to the house by the sea. Here everything is strange and new. But one day he discovers an unusual door that leads to a circular room with walls made of rough stone. The light coming through the window is hazy, as if the room is under water. It is a magic room—which he calls “The Adopted Room”—belonging to another world. And on a bed in the room sits a boy who is waiting to take Achim with him into the realm of the powerful Nameless One. Achim learns that the boy, Arnim, is the long-dead son of Achim’s new parents. When he died in a car accident at the age of four, Arnim was supposed to have become a bird and flown free to the land of the dead, which can be seen through the window of The Adopted Room. But the Nameless One has somehow locked Arnim inside, so he cannot leave. Achim, however, finds he can turn into a bird, slip through the window, and fly across the strange land. And thus begins a journey in which Achim must fight the Nameless One and free Arnim so he can finally leave his parents and they can let go of their grief.
This was a truly amazing story. I expected a childrens story about a wild adventure in a secret room. What I got was so much more. This was a bittersweet story about love and grief, the ability to move on and the sadness that remains. Achim is an orphan who thinks noone wants him because of his asthma. He goes to live with Ines and Paul, who have lost thier young son Arnim to an accident. Achim finds Arnim trapped in the secret room by the nameless one who is building his castle from peoples sadness and longing. Achim takes on the task of trying to free Arnim, and a risky adventure ensues. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I will say the ending is again bitter sweet but happy. The Secret Room is a great read for anyone of any age and comes with a great life lesson. 5/5 from me 🙂
About the author
Antonia Michaelis was born in North Germany in 1979 and spent her childhood and adolescence surrounded by her crazy-likeable parents and various cats. She started writing stories at a very young age. After finishing school, Michaelis left Germany and moved to South India for a year. She worked in a school near Madras as a teacher for English, arts, and acting. She has just finished studying medicine and is now writing children’s books.