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The Boy in the Burning House

3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  379 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
An Edgar Award Winner

Two years after his father's mysterious disappearance, Jim Hawkins is coping -- barely. Underneath, he's frozen in uncertainty and grief. What did happen to his father? Is he dead or just gone? Then Jim meets Ruth Rose. Moody, provocative, she's the bad-girl stepdaughter of Father Fisher, Jim's father's childhood friend and the town pastor, and she sho
Paperback, 214 pages
Published September 8th 2003 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published August 1st 2000)
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(showing 1-30 of 757)
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Allie Randall
Oct 30, 2009 Allie Randall rated it really liked it
Genre/Category: Mystery/suspense/mental illness/murder/frienship
Read for the "Tim Wynne-Jones lit circles"

Summary: This book starts off creepily, foreshadowing the rest of the book: a step-daughter listening to her father's private guilty confessions, and drawing the conclusion of murder. This step-daughter, Ruth Rose, determines that she needs help in order to reveal her father's crimes and she turns to 14-year-old Jim Hawkins. The same Jim Hawkins whose father disappeared two years ago. The sa
Jan 08, 2011 Julia rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book.
I am a a big fan of murder/mystery books and this is a good one.
The main characters, Jim, or Jimbo, father disappeared. They say it was suicuide, a mental state. Nobody considered murder. Then along came Ruth Rose with all the answers. She herself is crazy, but only seemingly.

" Somebody was trying to blackmail Father.
She didn't expect it would be easy to find proof
and no one was going to believe her without it.
So she searched when and where she could,
and watched and lis
Michael Canfield
Sep 11, 2015 Michael Canfield rated it liked it
It was a strange book. I thought it was good but not great. I saw the ending coming from 75 pages away. I liked how Tim Jones writes. He makes it very easy for readers to enjoy and understand what is happening in the book. I thought that it was good but at times i had to go back and reread a couple pages when a new clue was given to us to make sure I understood it. The vocab in this book is easy it is probably 7-8 grade reading level. It is a good book if you like mysteries.

"Don't you want to k
Graeme Cash
Apr 05, 2015 Graeme Cash rated it liked it
14-year-old Jim Hawkins is growing up in rural Ontario, Canada dealing with the loss of his father Hub, following his sudden disappearance two years earlier. Many in the community suspect suicide but his body has never been found.

Jim’s world is further thrown into turmoil when he meets 16-year-old Ruth Rose, the stepdaughter of Father Fisher, the local pastor. Ruth Rose tells Jim that her stepfather is a murderer and is involved in his father’s disappearance.

The problem is in the community’s eye
Mar 04, 2016 Noah rated it liked it
The book that I read is called The Boy in the Burning House. My book is about a boy named Jim Hawkins who is regularly living his life when a girl named Ruth Rose. Jim knows that his dad supposably went mentally insane and died. Jim still doesn't believe that because he knew his dad and he knew that there was something deeper that he didn't know. Ruth Rose finds him destroying a beaver damn. He is caught off guard and the two start talking and she tells him that she knew what happened to his dad ...more
Marcus Anderson
Mar 06, 2012 Marcus Anderson rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was very good at building suspense without giving anything away, and kept adding several clues that may or may not have contributed to the solution of the overall mystery. Although it was a very compelling story, the one and only thing I would critique is that from the very beginning of the book it was pretty obvious who the killer was.
Andrew Bui
Mar 07, 2009 Andrew Bui rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
This book was about a young boy who goes off on his own to find out what happened to his father's dissapperence. Soon later he met this girl, whom he thought that he wouldn't get along with, but she helped him by giving him answers to what he was looking for. He learned to listen and opens up and become good friends with her soon.
Oct 24, 2015 Maggie rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-and-kidlit
This book reminded me a lot of The Night of the Hunter (which most people know only from the classic movie, but it was a book by Davis Grubb), because of the bizarre preacher-villain. This was a thriller and a character study, and certainly moved at a fast pace and kept my interest. However, a lot of it strained credence, which I always find distracting. There were several points that disaster could have been easily averted with one person doing or saying something, and it was unclear (other tha ...more
May 01, 2010 Alicia rated it it was amazing
So eerie that I couldn't put it down and was scared of every little thing afterward.

"Children," boomed the voice of Father Fisher," enough of this foolishness."
Jul 26, 2014 Anna rated it really liked it
Shelves: great-mysteries
The Boy in the Burning House is a short but theatrical novel full of fantastic twist and turns. From the get-go, you know who did it, but in an interesting turn of events it's up to the main character Jim and his somewhat-friend Ruth Rose to uncover the mystery of Jim's father's apparent suicide. Suspense, mystery, good characterization, and a fantastic "creepy" factor through the whole thing make this book a book I really enjoyed. It kept me on the edge of my seat until the end.

(And Tim Wynne-J
Dec 09, 2009 Kara rated it liked it
Mystery/suspense/mental illness

This was a fun book to read. It has been a long time since I read a murder mystery novel and I forgot how much fun they could be. I couldn't stop reading it once I picked it up, and I was so sad to come to the end because it was so enjoyable. Jim Hawkins's father went missing about a year ago, and then suddenly the preacher's stepdaughter shows up and tells Jim that the preacher murdered him. From there all kinds of suspicions break loose and Jim follows the trail
Brittany Sweeney
Dec 09, 2009 Brittany Sweeney rated it it was amazing
When Jim Hawkins loses his father, his whole world crashes down around him. Left to man the farm with only his mother and his anger to guide him, Jim just floats along... unitl he meets Ruth Rose, the step-daughter of the town pastor, who is convinced that Father Fisher is a murderer who wants her dead as well. To get Jim to join her quest in bringing down Fisher, she attempts to convince him that Fisher is the one who had his father killed. As the evidence piles up, Jim begins to feel convinced ...more
Lisa Rathbun
I thought it was well-written and kept your interest. (Some bad language.) I liked the themes of fathers, appearance vs. reality, and the destructive power of anger. Still however I am uncomfortable with the portrayal of Christianity in the book. When a major Christian character is the bad guy, I always wonder: is this just a plot device, a way of showing ultimate hypocrisy, someone who preaches love but is living a lie? OR does the author have an ulterior motive? Is the author motivated by a ha ...more
Jan 09, 2013 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, enjoyed, 2013
Murder mysteries are not my usual fare, but I quite liked this one. Probably because it was a little less murder mystery and a lot more a boy dealing with his father’s disappearance. And dealing with a girl who is (possibly?) schizophrenic, whom he struggles with wanting to believe because she offers an answer to what happened and doubting because her mental stability is constantly in question.

Honestly I found Ruth Rose a fascinating device in this book, and an interesting commentary on how peop
Apr 04, 2013 Mrtracksclass rated it really liked it
The book “The Boy in the Burning House” written by Tim Wynne-Jones is a non-fiction mystery. The novel shows the events of a teenage boy named Jim Hawkins whose father had disappeared 2 years earlier. All seemed to have settle in his life before meeting Ruth Rose a seemingly psychotic girl who is on anti-depressants. When Ruth Rose surprises Jim while he is taking down a beaver dam on his farm one day he thinks she is playing some sort of elaborate game on him. She has been spying on Jim and his ...more
Apr 10, 2012 Adrienne rated it really liked it
Jim Hawkins' life turned upside down when his father went missing unexpectedly. All evidence points to suicide, but Jim's convinced his father would never hurt himself. As Jim and his mother begin to piece their lives together again--Jim's come out of his constant silence and he and his mom talk and work with each other again. When Jim goes into the woods one day to break the beaver dam near his house, he meets Ruth Rose, stepdaughter of the town's beloved pastor Father Fisher. R
Ryne Steinacker
Apr 05, 2012 Ryne Steinacker rated it really liked it
Shelves: engl-420
CAUTION: Spoilers ahead!

I'd read Wynne-Jone's The Maestro before, and thought it was good. But I wasn't prepared for The Boy in the Burning House. This book was compelling and great and—well, it was great!

The novel follows Jim Hawkins, who has lived a life of turmoil ever since the disappearance of his father. He's had a hard time of it since then—he's even attempted suicide (and failed) a couple of times—but things seem to be looking up. Then, without warning,
Apr 09, 2012 Ellen rated it really liked it
Shelves: english-420

This book had an intriguing story about a boy striving to solve the mystery of his father's death. There are lots of plot twists and surprises, and the story is inventive and original. Jim Hawkins is trying to figure out what happened to his father who everyone presumes dead. It is a mystery how he disappeared two years ago. Enter Ruth Rose, a girl he wants nothing to do with, but says she knows who killed her father. Ruth is the step daughter of a local pastor--a corrupt one--who
Elyse Bradley
Nov 03, 2009 Elyse Bradley rated it really liked it
Shelves: english-420
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

This is the first book in a long time where I literally could not put it down. I was immediately drawn into the story from the first two pages of the prologue. Tim Wynne-Jones creates a very real drama full of mystery, emotion, and excitement. The story tells of fourteen year old Jim who attempts to cope with the aftermath of his father's disappearance a year earlier. After meeting the local pastor's daughter Ruth Rose, Jim finds himself thrown into a dangerous pl
Sep 02, 2015 Abbie added it
I think that the boy in the burning house was an okay book. It wasn't one on the top of the list but I still liked it. It was very well written and I loved how the author made Ruth Rose feel like she was an actual crazy maniac/ person. It is an easy read for a mystery. It takes like a week or so. It took me a while to get into it. Not until the middle did it finally start to get good. You won't believe what happens at the end.
Allison Morgan
Dec 10, 2009 Allison Morgan rated it really liked it
Shelves: english-420
Genre/Category: Required Reading

When 14-year-old Jim's father disappears, he tries to move on with his life. One day, a girl named Ruth Rose tries to convince Jim that her step-father Father, the local pastor, is the murder. After a chain of events, Jim begins to believe Ruth Rose may be telling the truth, endangering both of their lives as they try to run from Father while revealing the truth of the past.

This book was extremely thrilling for me to read. At one point when Father was trying to br
Sep 13, 2015 Abbie rated it really liked it
This book is definitely one of my favorites. Even though it wasn't the most interesting at the beginning it still was a very good book at the end. I love how the author made you think it was one person who committed the crime but in the end it was someone else. Look out for Ruth rose. She is a maniac and I means complete MANIAC. I hope you read this book and like it just like I did.
Emily Townsley
Dec 07, 2009 Emily Townsley rated it liked it
Shelves: english-420
Mystery/Murder/Self discovery

Jim Hawkins is a teenager who has recently experienced the death of his beloved father. The death however, is still a mystery. Suicide? Murder? No one knows and the body was never discovered. One day the minister's crazy step-daughter Ruth Rose finds Jim and accuses the minister of murdering Jim's father. The rest of the story is Jim's mission to discover whether or not this claim is true or false.

I think Wynne-Jones is a talented writer. I never felt annoyed by his
Jan 30, 2011 Dominique rated it it was amazing
Jim Hawking was just learning how to cope after his father's mysterious disappearance. He starts to believe the stories that his father committed suicide and he's trying to get on with his life. That is until Ruth Rose shows up on his farm with a secret about her step father, who is also the minister, that shakes up Jim's life and what he believes about his father. Now Jim must discover if he believes Ruth Rose and if he's ready to search out the truth, which leads to troubling problems.

This bo
Tay Hook
Oct 17, 2015 Tay Hook rated it liked it
I didn't realise this was a young adult novel at first but that didn't stop me once I got into it. Well written with a quick, gripping plot, this story line keeps the reader engaged at every turn. Excellent suspense and good story telling, worthy of the Edgar award its author received.
Dec 25, 2014 Maya rated it liked it
I kinda liked this book. I read it for school, and i wouldn't suggest doing so because it was sllightly confusing for me. The only thing i really liked was how intriguing it was, you could pretty much read the whole book in a day because it keeps you wanting to read more and more.
Apr 10, 2012 Kristina rated it really liked it
Shelves: eng-420
The Boy in the Burning House
by Tim Wynne-Jones

Status Read in Arpil 2012


Jim Hawkins is just an ordinary kid, but is he. AFter his dad's mysterious disapparence, Jim finds himself dealing with a whirlwind of emotions. When Jim meets Ruth Rose, he is not sure what to make of her. Ruth tells him that his father has been murdered, by her step-father who just so happens to be known as Father Fisher. Jim embarks on a thrilling mystery as he discovers his fathers' past and runs
Lauren Avery
Oct 23, 2012 Lauren Avery rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1-12
This book starts off very eerily it foreshadows the rest of the book: a step-daughter listening to her father's private confessions, and drawing the conclusion of murder. This step-daughter, Ruth Rose, determines that she needs help in order to reveal her father's crimes and she turns to 14-year-old Jim Hawkins. The same Jim Hawkins whose father disappeared two years ago. The same Jim Hawkins whose father was killed by Ruth Rose's step-father.

I really liked this book because I love scary becaus
Aug 28, 2015 Jacqy rated it really liked it
A great mystery story, not too scary but full of suspense, with intriguing characters and a clever plot. Beyond the story are themes of friendship, loyalty, and truthfulness. I couldn't put it down.
This is the story of Jim, a young boy dealing with the disappearance of his father, who encounters Ruth Rose--a wild young girl who proposes seemingly impossible ideas about a connection between the town preacher, Father Fisher, and Jim's father's mysterious disappearance, and a historic tragic fire that took the life of a young man many years prior.

I really loved reading this novel, and found myself completely taken up in the suspenseful story. It brought up interesting questions for me regard
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crazy? 2 3 Sep 16, 2015 03:12PM  
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Tim Wynne-Jones (born 12 August 1948) is an English–Canadian author of children's literature, including picture books and novels for children and young adults, novels for adults, radio dramas, songs for the CBC/Jim Henson production Fraggle Rock, as well as a children's musical and an opera libretto.

Arthur Ellis Award
Best Juvenile (2001): The Boy in the Burning House
Edgar Award
Best Young
More about Tim Wynne-Jones...

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