A long journey,
an empty house,
so many changes to face!
The trip from their small rural island to the New Land was planned by Uncle, but he died before they reached his huge city.
Now Meixing has her very own room on the second floor of the tall Big Scary house with all its windows like eyes looking out and a top floor with no stairway up – did its round window wink at her again?
Oh, she does meet Uncle in the greenhouse hidden in the overgrown backyard – how? There he helps the girl plant seeds that sprout as she watches, shows her the wonderful orange trees that he wrote about when he invited her family to live with him, ignores the pink snake behind him…
Ba Ba seeks any kind of work, driving their rattletrap car on traffic-filled streets, as Ma Ma prepares for the new baby to arrive, both hampered by their limited English,.
A kindly neighbor who speaks a different home language brings baby clothes and a uniform for the school that Meixing will attend with her grumpy son Kevin who gets in trouble for not doing his homework.
Meixing has trouble understanding everyone, so she’s glad when they get special English reading and writing classes with Ms. Jardine.
A classmate steals Meixing’s ring – whose story will be believed?
An accident leaves Meixing and Ma Ma alone in the too-big house – what now?
Visiting relatives say this house is haunted – maybe its ghosts are friendly?
The greenhouse and Big Scary begin to share their secrets with Meixing in this magical realism for middle grades, based on the author’s childhood immigration to Australia, written in second-person voice.
What place has spoken to you and revealed its secrets?