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Walls Within Walls

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,701 Ratings  ·  274 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
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 3,000)
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Marjorie Ingall
Mar 27, 2013 Marjorie Ingall rated it it was ok
Shelves: kids-9-12
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
Oct 12, 2010 Sweet on Books rated it really liked it
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
Joshua B.
Dec 13, 2012 Joshua B. rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 15, 2013 Bethe rated it did not like it
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
Beth Maline
Oct 26, 2012 Beth Maline rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 01, 2013 Michelle rated it did not like it
Shelves: bluebonnet-2014

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
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
Ellen Zarate
Dec 10, 2014 Ellen Zarate rated it really liked it
Super fun read! Smart kids, a challenging mystery, poetry, history and ADVENTURE!
Feb 02, 2011 Thevoraciousreader rated it really liked it
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
Feb 09, 2015 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s, realistic
What a fun puzzle book! I love books that involve riddles and secrets and treasure hunts, and this one balanced the riddles with the everyday worries and goings-on of kids really well. I loved that the kids felt uncomfortable and strange in their new life and I loved the interactions of the parents with the kids. Very well done, Sherry.

Also, that man in their apartment was legitimately creepy. Maybe it was the invasiveness or maybe I just was really connected to the kids at that point, but that
Dec 29, 2014 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
When CJ, Brid, Patrick, and their baby sister move to 5th Avenue from Brooklyn their lives change dramatically. With their new address comes fancy private schools and distance from old friends. They aren't happy about it until they stumble upon clues to a mystery that's almost 100 years old. Bouncing a tennis ball, which goes astray, leads them to a mysterious message behind a wall, and they discover a way overdue library book (it was due in 1937). They don't realize that returning the book will ...more
Cheryl Gatling
My daughter, who is 12 years old, and in 7th grade, brought this book home from the library. I read it to her. I think she liked it, based on two things. When we got to the part where the children find code writing on the wall, she had me stop reading. She copied the letters over onto a piece of paper, and tried to figure it out for herself. Later, when I was reading, when I would reach the end of a chapter, she would tell me, "Keep reading. Keep reading." So I kept reading.

The story is that the
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
Rey Skywalker
Aug 25, 2014 Rey Skywalker rated it liked it
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
Jan 29, 2016 Kimberly rated it did not like it
I approached this book, the current pick for a tween book club I co-host, hoping for something similar to The Westing Game or From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - a good old-fashioned mystery. Unfortunately, what promised to be a fun, adventurous treasure hunt across New York City was ultimately crushed under the weight of poorly written sentences, one-dimensional characters, and an implausible mystery.

One of this book’s biggest flaws was the amateur writing style and unbelieva
Apr 10, 2014 Melissa rated it liked it
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
Jun 06, 2012 Gail rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 22, 2010 Michele rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-novel
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
Feb 10, 2014 Addison Children rated it really liked it
Shelves: chapter-books
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
Jan 08, 2014 Susan rated it liked it
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
Hornets Nest
Jan 22, 2014 Hornets Nest rated it really liked it
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
Elizabeth Chiliberti
Feb 09, 2016 Elizabeth Chiliberti rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the book Walls Within Walls. I thought that it was a great mystery that was also very adventurous. Maureen Sherry kept the reader interested by having them wonder what would happen next. She has the three children, and their nanny, running around the city they moved to because of their dad's work, Manhattan, to solve the puzzle that the builder of the apartment hid inside the walls. He left clues for the hunters along the way in order for them to find the fortune the puzzle lead ...more
May 26, 2013 Stephanie rated it liked it
Shelves: books-for-school
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
Sep 14, 2014 Annie Oosterwyk rated it really liked it
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,
Oct 23, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 21, 2014 Suzanne rated it liked it
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
Cheryl Mallette
Little slow to get going, but once you get into a few chapters, it picks up. Setting is Manhattan, and while it's not a true historical fiction, it has New York City history involved in the story. The kids find clues hidden around in their new home. They try to use those clues to find the Post fortune. There is an element of mystery surrounding a stranger, but I was a little disappointed with the lack of development with that character. Enjoyable story--would take a look at it again before going ...more
May 13, 2014 Debbie rated it liked it
Shelves: karen
• 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
Jul 07, 2014 Linnae rated it it was ok
Shelves: juvenile, clean-reads
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
Jan 24, 2014 babyhippoface rated it it was amazing
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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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. Raising four children has made her skilled in all things action-figured, sugary, myster ...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.

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