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The House with a Clock in Its Walls

Written by: John Bellairs
Narrated by: George Guidall
Length: 4 hrs and 33 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A haunting gothic tale by master mystery writer John Bellairs - soon to be a major motion picture starring Cate Blanchett and Jack Black!

When Lewis Barnavelt, an orphan, comes to stay with his Uncle Jonathan, he expects to meet an ordinary person. But he is wrong. Uncle Jonathan and his next-door neighbor, Mrs. Zimmermann, are both witches! Lewis is thrilled. At first, watching magic is enough. Then Lewis experiments with magic himself and unknowingly resurrects the former owner of the house: a woman named Serenna Izard. It seems that Serenna and her husband built a timepiece into the walls - a clock that could obliterate humankind. And only the Barnavelts can stop it! 

©1973 John Bellairs (P)1992 Recorded Books, LLC

What the critics say

"The House with a Clock in Its Walls will cast its spell for a long time." (The New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jackie Thomas
  • 2018-04-13

A formerly unknown classic.

What did you love best about The House with a Clock in Its Walls?

I read this series when I was little & really identified with Lewis, being a less than athletic fat kid myself. He's flawed, but tries to do the right thing, even when He's scared, which is rare for the hero of any book, let alone one for young readers.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The House with a Clock in Its Walls?

The many spooky supernatural elements will stay with you.

Which character – as performed by George Guidall – was your favorite?

Uncle Johnathan really comes across perfectly. A kind but blustery man who wants to make sure Lewis has a safe home.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

I think the one for the actual film soon to be released is "can you hear the ticking?" I might have gone with "Each tick of the clock brings the world closer to its doom!"

Any additional comments?

All the books by this author are very well done, but for this series things really become "perfect" when Rose Rita is introduced in the second book. The 4 lead characters balance each other out, but you need to read this book first because it establishes the world.

73 people found this helpful

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  • Richard S. Swol
  • 2018-08-26

Before Harry Potter, there was Lewis Barnavelt

This is the first of the Lewis Barnavelt series. They are set, not in Britain, but in late 1940's Me Michigan. The characters are likable and relatable. In fact they show more human foibles and fears than are typically seen in such a book. The author doesn't talk down to the reader, nor make excuses for them.

This compares well to the Harry Potter books. But the plot is more straight forward and not nearly as drawn out. This is understandable considering ongoing series when this was written, were typically a series of stand-alone stories, with only some characters bridging between the books.

Recommended, particularly if you like the Harry Potter books.

130 people found this helpful

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  • mzkjgal
  • 2018-10-04

Better than the movie!!

Great book! Much better than the movie!!!
I absolutely recommend this to anyone who likes a good read/listen!

22 people found this helpful

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  • Ashton Jonesy 1994
  • 2018-11-06

12 BOOK????

I recently went to see the movie based on this novel and I was super happy to find out that this series contains 12 BOOKS!!! And all narrated by the same person! This series is filled with great imagery, lovable characters, and twists and turns that make you want to keep listening! 5/5 would recommend!

41 people found this helpful

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  • Donna Bowen
  • 2018-06-09

I've always loved these books

I'm stoked they finally recorded some John Bellairs books. Used to read these back in middle school they're just as good as I remember

15 people found this helpful

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  • Aleshia Rodriguez
  • 2018-09-25

loved it! All five of my boys enjoyed it as well.

The movie came out Friday and after seeing the previews I'm feeling like it's not much like the book. I think we will like the book better. It was so good.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Ashley Reedman
  • 2018-10-22

A great, entertaining short

I was originally concerned by the shortness of this book, but it's clear that the writer said all that was needed to be said in this humorous, mysterious, and fantastical piece. George Guidall did a stellar job, as always, in depicting the characters and the given mood of any scene. Even if you're not one for the PG nature of a young adult book such as this, the writing will keep you entertained and curious for the next turn. My experience with it makes me eager to check out the rest of John Bellaire's work.

11 people found this helpful

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  • R F L Jr
  • 2018-10-12

Exciting wonderfulness

My 8 and 9 year olds loved this as much as I did! We absolutely recommend this book.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-10-09

Fun Book<br />Definite Read for Wizards and Witches

Loved this book. Especially geared towards ages 9-12, but Witches and Warlocks of all ages will enjoy this audio performance. Use caution for those too young.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Lindsey Soliday
  • 2018-08-06

Fun!

Admittedly, I read this book because of the upcoming Jack Black movie adaption, and after reading I'm now stoked to see how the filmmakers handle the material. It has a lot of potential! The other concern I had was that one character preforms a magic spell that brings someone back from the dead and several other characters talk about preforming a seance which some parents (such as my mother, may she rest in peace) might have an objection to letting their children read (I'm also the kid who wasn't allowed to read Harry Potter growing up, so take that last paragraph with a grain of salt). But really this was a fun book with some wonderfully loveable and quirky characters and I'm really looking forward to seeing the movie later this year!

7 people found this helpful