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Walls Within Walls

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3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  1,151 ratings  ·  245 reviews
After their father, a video-game inventor, strikes it rich, the Smithfork kids find they hate their new life. They move from their cozy Brooklyn neighborhood to a swanky apartment on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue. They have no friends, a nanny who takes the place of their parents, and a school year looming ahead that promises to be miserable.

And then, one day, Brid, CJ, and Pat
...more
Hardcover, 349 pages
Published September 14th 2010 by Katherine Tegen Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,391)
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Marjorie Ingall
Meh. Terrific concept, not-so-terrific execution. Brooklyn kids -- Dad's a video game designer whose company's been acquired -- must cope with being newly rich and moving to the Upper East Side, to a deluxe apartment in the sky-y-y. Turns out the place used to be owned by the Post cereal family and there are secrets and mysteries hidden in the walls. The now-perpetually-left-to-their-own-devices kids band together to solve the mystery. I loved the author's obvious affection for NYC, which really ...more
Sweet on Books
The Smithfork kids are moving on up, moving on up, to the east side (that was for you Jeffersons fan out there). Their dad has hit it big with his video game business and they are leaving warm and cozy Brooklyn for the wilds of Fifth Ave. With their new home comes a nanny, busier parents, less family time and a vast mystery hidden inside the walls of the new apartment. Years and years ago when the pre-war apartment was built, the puzzle-loving builder Mr. Post, hid a series of clues to find his ...more
Bethe
Spring break bookaday #8. 2013-14 Texas Bluebonnet nominee. This book was a struggle to read, a bit of a chore to get to the end. I found it too long and inconsistent in story flow. I also didn't care for the character descriptions: willowy and wiry at the same time for Brid? I thought CJ was wimpy. One of the illustrations was incorrect, showing Carron when she was supposed to be at yoga with her mother. Thought this was going to be a fantasy story like Coraline or the Gregor Underland series b ...more
Joshua B.
Walls Within Walls By: Maureen Sherry
Historical Fiction 349 pages
Finished 12-12-12

Walls Within Walls by Maureen Sherry is a book about three kids, C.J., Patrick, and Bridget Smithfork, who went from poor to rich. It all started when Mr. Smithfork invented a new video game and the whole family had to move to New York. When the Smithforks moved they find out that a very rich person, Mr. Post, had lived there before them. When the children are fighting, they find a clue to something but they are n
...more
Beth Maline
This book, a golden sower nominee, is such a fun read for a young reader. Target audience is 3rd-7th grade (8-12 years old) and this is the next on the list for my grandson and me to team read.

The book itself is a quick read, and starts with a family moving to New York - bright lights, big city, unhappy Brid, CJ, and Patrick (because who wants to pick up their lives, leave their friends, and move?) end up in the middle of a huge mystery, and a puzzle behind the walls, where a fabulous tome ends
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Michelle

While NYC's history deserves a spirited book devoted to promoting children's curiosity of its historical structures and neighborhoods, this is not that book. Walls Within Walls takes a potentially exciting topic and makes it dull and inaccesible by weighing down the topic with a smug, consitent idolatry of the upper class, pointlessly complicated dialogue and incomplete characterization.

Give it a pass and go back to The Westing Game if you desire a puzzle-book or The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil
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Heather Pool
This book can be for any gender, but I would say around the fifth grade age and this book is pretty big so maybe for those who are comfortable reading. It's not a hard read, actually it's page-turning but it's long without very many pictures, but there are short chapters. This book is mysterious and adventuresome which makes it a page-turner. When reading "Walls Within Walls" I found it was something I would read to my own students and could make lesson plans with it, I was imagining all of the ...more
Thevoraciousreader
Wonderful old-fashioned mystery with all the requisite components: 3 clever kids, a hidden treasure, a missing person, a mysterious intruder and a quirky old lady downstairs. The three Smithfork children discover a complex mystery within the walls of the old apartment they've just moved into on Manhattan's upper west side. With puzzles and twists and turns galore, the book takes the reader all around New York City, delving into its architectural history as well. Highly recommended for readers 8- ...more
Maxbfunk
Opening: Who here likes riddles? Would you like riddles more if it meant you had to travel all over New York City looking for the answers? What if at the end of the trail of riddles was hidden treasure? For the Smithfork children the opportunity is too good to pass up. After a freak tennis ball accident results in a broken grate, the Smithfork children find a painting of a human eye with strange writing on it. And what happens next? Well we'll just have to read to find out in Walls Within Walls ...more
Dipper Pines
I will start off by saying this, anyone who moves to New York probably has a dream of living in Manhattan in a fancy apartment and nice neighborhood. Realistically these kids would enjoy living in a place like this, since getting a nice apartment (for a reasonable price) is a problem in New York not to mention being rich.

The only reason I wanted to read this book is because I live in New York. The story begins right after the move, and mentions a lot that the trio misses their old life, but duri
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Laura
After reading this book - one I found hard to put down - I have successfully managed to check every nook and cranny of my apartment searching for secret clues. Sherry did a wonderful job recreating actual NYC sites with her tale of four children sweeping through one discovery after another. While meant for a younger generation, this book is captivating for adults and children alike and will give you a new appreciation for what this city holds. I highly recommend it.
Melissa
This book had such potential and the ending spoke of sequels that maybe would have expanded the story-but were never written.

"After their father, a video-game inventor, strikes it rich, the Smithfork kids find they hate their new life. They move from their cozy Brooklyn neighborhood to a swanky apartment on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue. They have no friends, a nanny who takes the place of their parents, and a school year looming ahead that promises to be miserable. And then, one day, Brid, CJ, and
...more
Gail
Audience: Grades 3-7 students and teachers
Appeal: This book is fast-paced, incorporating puzzles, codes, and clues in a New York City treasure hunt. Poetry, architectural details, and full page illustrations throughout add to the intrigue.
2012-2013 Intermediate Nebraska Golden Sower Nominee
Michele
I really liked this and I think 4th & 5th grade teachers would really enjoy reading this aloud to their students. There's is a lot of NYC history and poetry. There's positive message about how to live your life and a great mystery. If you liked Chasing Vermeer, give this a try.
Addison Children
This tale of mystery and adventure unfolds as four children move into a fancy new apartment following the family's sudden upturn in prosperity. The children have two parents who were once quite involved in their lives, but now Dad is very busy making money and Mom's very busy decorating the new digs. They have a new nanny, but she is very busy with the baby. Now that we've gotten rid of all the adults, the three oldest children (ages 6 to 12) are free to roam about NYC in search of clues. The or ...more
Susan
3 1/2 stars, really. I was waffling between 3 and 4 on this one.

The Smithfork kids move into a building with a lot of history, and an apartment that comes packaged up with a mystery and a hidden inheritance. The clues to begin their quest are lurking behind their walls, where the remnants of the original apartment remain more or less intact, according to the wishes of the original tenant. Unfortunately for the kids, this particular inheritance has left a share of unpleasant wreckage in its wake
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Hornets Nest
Walls within walls is an adventure, intrigue, exciting book from beginning to end. You will be thrown for a few curves and if you love solving puzzles, this book will catch your attention. I love the history of New York City and found it fascinating. Recommend from ages 11- adult.

The Smithfork children are forced to move to Manhattan after their father, who invents video games strikes it rich. Their entire lifestyle changes and the apartment they move into has some very unusual secrets...hidden
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Stephanie
The author's use of suspense lagged a bit about 3/4 of the way through. The rising action just became a little tedious. Bluebonnet Nominee 2014. Lexile 770.
Annie Oosterwyk
One of CT's Nutmeg nominees this year and a really fun and interesting read. The family moves from Brooklyn to Manhattan as the result of their father's successful computer game.
The house they move into has a rich history (owned by the Post cereal family) and is full of poetry and clues to a missing treasure. The three older children use their talents and curiosity to solve the puzzles and learn a lot about New York city history at the same time.
Similar to Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library,
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Sarah
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Suzanne
For a Nutmeg Nominee I was really hoping for more.
The story is good, the characters are interesting, but it gets very mired down in the details of the hunt in NYC and kind of makes you lose interest.
A family moves into a swanky new home, one that used to be owned by a titan of industry who was known for his love of poetry and treasure hunts. The new occupants, CJ, Brid, & Patrick, discover the original home was 2 floors high and now is 4 separate apartments; they also find the original walls
...more
Debbie
• First in a series.
• Smithfork children living in an old NYC mansion converted into apartments, try to solve the mystery of a missing fortune from the 1930’s. With the help of an elderly daughter of the original mansion owners, they travel around NYC based on clues.
• A lot of historical facts, along with some fiction.
• The 6 year-old boy (1st grade?) acts way beyond his yers and the mansion owner’s daughter who is well into her 80’s, acts considerably younger.
• Other than some impossible scen
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Linnae
The Smithforks have moved up in the world and the Brid, CJ, and Patrick aren't happy about it. Ever since their dad's video game company has made millions, they hardly see either parent and they've had to move away from all their friends in Brooklyn. Now they're living in a historic building in Manhattan with basically just a nanny for company.

Then things begin to get interesting. They discover that the eccentric previous owner of the building (it all used to be the Post family mansion) made it
...more
babyhippoface
When the Smithfork kids leave their beloved Brooklyn to move to a fancy new high-rise apartment in Manhattan, they couldn't be less thrilled. Their excitement level shoots sky-high when they discover clues to a decades-old, unsolved mystery on the very walls of their new home.

I would have eaten this up as a kid. I liked Nancy Drew and was always wishing for a mystery to solve or a long-lost treasure to find. This book delivers both, really well. There are a couple of things that require some su
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Josiah
The Westing Game has had an impressive impact on the world of literature. Since the release of that instant classic in 1978, it seems to me much more common to find puzzle-themed novels in the genre of juvenile literature. Just as surely as Ellen Raskin and her Newbery-Medal-winning creation took the art of mystery writing for younger readers to new heights of intellectual complexity and emotional depth, it can also be said with certainty that every author who has written a similar book since t ...more
Charlyn  Trussell
Apr 06, 2013 Charlyn Trussell rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Grades 4 and up
Recommended to Charlyn by: Texas Bluebonnet Reading List 2013-14
Sudden wealth has caused the Smithfork family to move from their Brooklyn neighborhood into an apartment in Manhattan in a neighborhood where children attend European boarding schools and have nannies. Mr. Smithford often leaves to work on his growing business and Mrs. Smithfork is smitten with the idea of decorating their new home and the CJ, Brid, and Patrick are sent to private schools and have a nanny to oversee their day-to-day life and care for young Carron.

When the children engage in ten
...more
Heather
Apr 16, 2013 Heather rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: tweens
The Smithfork siblings had just moved into a strange historic building on 5th avenue, all do to their father making millions of dollars off a video-game he had invented. They missed their old lives in Brooklyn. But things were about to get really weird, when CJ, Brid, and Patrick uncovered a mysterious painting of an eye and a yellowing, overdue library book hidden behind a grille in CJ’s room. Soon after these discoveries, they continued to stumble upon other cryptic messages regarding the shro ...more
Linda
Loved it, loved it, loved it! Reminds me of a series called Red Blazer Girls where the kids have to figure out the clues. I loved it so much that I even read the author's note at the end. The author tells where she's taking the kids next so it leaves me hopeful that this has a sequel and I WANT IT!

Over 70 years ago a wealthy family named Post lived in a huge three story apartment at the top of a skyscraper in Manhattan. When the father died in 1937 the fortune, which consisted of jewels, paintin
...more
Julie Bestry
I originally picked up this book because Maureen Sherry, the author, is a fellow Cornellian and her book had been profiled in the Cornell Alumni Magazine. I didn't realize that it was a young adult book until I had it in my hands, but between the description and the charming characters, I was caught up in the story in no time. It's a gentle mystery, with secret passageways and a history lesson wrapped up in clues.

I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that this book lends itself to b
...more
Susan Cox
Bluebonnet-nominated Walls Within Walls serves as a diverting adventure story set in New York City. Sherry goes through great lengths to introduce readers to architecture (including the works of Rafael Guastavino, currently being exhibited on the East Coast), poetry, codes, history, and landmarks within NYC. In fact, I found this aspect of the author's book to be its strongest asset, and the author's final comments attest to her personal connections to the story. Four children who have moved to ...more
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Recently added to the 2010 American Booksellers Association list of Best New Voices, Maureen Sherry was born in New York City and raised in Rockland County, New York. She graduated from both Cornell and Columbia Universities and went on to work on Wall Street, retiring as a managing director after twelve years. She used her extra time to ply her four young children with fantastic stories on a more ...more
More about Maureen Sherry...
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“I haven't felt like part of the living world these last years. I go out and walk around, but it's hard when you feel the best times of your life have happened already.

—Eloise Munn”
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