'I know what an endsister is,' says Sibbi again. We are endsisters, Else thinks, Sibbi and I. Bookends, oldest and youngest, with the three boys sandwiched in between. Meet the Outhwaite children. There's teenage Else, the violinist who abandons her violin. There's nature-loving Clancy.
There's the inseparable twins, Oscar-and-Finn, Finn-and-Oscar. And then there is Sibbi, the baby of the family. They all live contentedly squabbling in a cottage surrounded by trees and possums… until a letter arrives to say they have inherited the old family home in London. Outhwaite House is full of old shadows and new possibilities.
The boys quickly find their feet in London, and Else is hoping to reinvent herself. But Sibbi is misbehaving, growing thinner and paler by the day, and she won't stop talking about the mysterious endsister. Meanwhile Almost Annie and Hardly Alice, the resident ghosts, are tied to the house for reasons they have long forgotten, watching the world around them change, but never leaving. The one thing they all agree on - the living and the dead - is never, ever to open the attic door...
When a struggling but happy Australian family with five children suddenly inherits an old mansion in London, the Outhwaite’s world is turned upside down.
The chapters show the views of all the five Outhwaite children as the family decides to move, and how they each settle into or struggle with their new surroundings. The inhabitants of the mansion, Almost Alice and Hardly Alice, have been walking its halls for over a century and the ghosts are not sure how they will get on with this large family.
But both the new and old inhabitants all agree that the attic door should remain sealed to keep its sinister mysteries inside. How a family survives such a big change is the crux of the story, and when their world starts to disintegrate it’s how they cope, and whether they can stick together as one that keeps you enthralled.
The Outhwaite family certainly find out what is important in life in this well-written, wonderful story that is ideal for upper primary students.
Reviewed by Rob