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Hyacinth and the Secrets Beneath

(Hyacinth #1)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  268 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Magic is real. History is a big, fat lie.
Before Hyacinth Hayward moves from Illinois to London, she reads up on the city's history. Too bad for her. Because the books are wrong. The truth is, London was built on magical rivers, and all the major events in its past have been about people trying to control the magic.
Hyacinth discovers this when her mom is kidnapped. In t
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 23rd 2017 by Random House Books for Young Readers
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Maryam Before Hyacinth Hayward moves from Illinois to London, she reads up on the city's history. Too bad for her. Because the books are wrong. The truth is,…moreBefore Hyacinth Hayward moves from Illinois to London, she reads up on the city's history. Too bad for her. Because the books are wrong. The truth is, London was built on magical rivers, and all the major events in its past have been about people trying to control the magic.
Hyacinth discovers this when her mom is kidnapped. In the chase to get her back, Hyacinth encounters a giant intelligent pig in a bathing suit, a boy with amnesia, an adorable tosher (whatever that is), a sarcastic old lady, and a very sketchy unicorn. Somehow Hyacinth has to figure out who to trust, so she can save her mom and, oh yeah, not cause a second Great Fire of London."

Thats what it said on the description! Hope it helped!(less)

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Whispering Stories
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Hyacinth and her mother Cleo have come from living in America to move to the UK. For the time being, they are staying with Cleo’s sister. However, when they arrive at her flat on their first day they discover she has had to work away for a while and so they have the place to themselves.

Hyacinth can’t understand why the water in the UK comes out of two taps, you can either have it too hot or too cold but never just right unless you put the plug in and mix
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, humour, adventure
This book is hilarious and is such a great adventure full of fantasy and even the real-life strangeness of London. Hyacinth has recently moved to London, from America, where her whole family is originally from. But living in London is hard for Hyacinth, especially as she has to get used to how strange and different British life is, including the fact that hot and cold water aren’t mixed in our taps. One day Hyacinth’s has enough of scolding and freezing her hands, and finds a way to mix both wat ...more
Clay Kelly
I had all sorts of personal reasons for enjoying this delightful adventure. For instance, Hyacinth moves to London with her mother from the US to a house minutes from where we lived when we first moved to London. Also, I love underground stories. Maybe it has to do with growing up in big cities but you always know there just has to be something unique going on down there... be it alligators in the subway, or catacombs in Paris... such potential for mystery. But even if you don't share Hyacinth's ...more
Mar 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It seems that unable to see the magic in London writers are obsessed with inventing underground magical spaces there . To be honest there is a lot of it underground . Think of this one as a modern fairy tale . Brothers Grimm meets Lewis Carroll . When your sidekicks are an amnesiac 12 year old boy and a giant pig wearing a swimming costume you get the drift . It is nevertheless a ripping yarn as they used to say even if a bit one dimensional at times . Altogether a good read and I assume from th ...more
This was cute, and fast paced, but felt a little off in some places. I couldn't get a good feel for a couple of the characters, especially the mom. Why was she so spacey? Was there something wrong with her? That part was strange.
Overall a good, solid, fantasy for middle grade.
At first you would think that a story involving the underground rivers of London, a pig in a bathing suit and police made from mud is a bit too random to be any good. You would be wrong. This 9 to 12 fiction book is a wonderful romp through the underground of London meeting interesting and rich characters along the way. Our main character, a young girl named Hyacinth, creates a problem that she needs to solve or not only her mother but all of London will be in serious trouble because of.

She find
Jason June
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I fell in love with this book and the fantasy world Weinstein creates based on real world London. I also especially liked Lady Roslyn and her dry humor. Looking forward to the sequel!
Jessica M
The City of Secret Rivers is fun to read, with mad cap adventures and a fast-paced invitation down into the depths of London’s underground rivers.

The author actually did a lot of research whilst writing this book, which he talks about in the Author’s Note. The book features a lot of illustrations throughout the pages, which I think kids would love.

“During the creepiest and most disgusting day of my entire life, I thought I had handled everything pretty calmly, all things considered. But now ther
Justine Laismith
Our main character reluctantly moves to London and as expected, has trouble settling in. One of the things that irritates her immensely is the separate hot and cold water taps. Even a mixer tap doesn't solve this problem. She takes it upon herself to open up the pipes to see what can be done, and our adventure begins here.

This middle-grade book suddenly picks up speed and is so fast paced I felt exhausted reading it. I had to put it down every few pages because she is thrown from one danger to a
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Not gonna lie... I picked this based on the cover.

When our hero Hyacinth accidentally unleashes an ancient and powerful force,she discovers history is really just a cover story for enchanted rivers and magical politics. The journey to retrieve an ornery drop of magic water becomes an adventure involving monsters and underground sewer systems all while figuring out who to trust and what to believe.

This adventure is fast-paced and fun to read. Hyacinth keeps a level head while running from danger
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hyacinth is a young American girl who has just arrived in London. She is struggling to settle in and doesn't seem to have made any friends. Then one day she gets fed up with the tap in the bathroom which just won't mix the hot and cold. The rest is an exhausting and frankly quite mad rush through London.

I quite enjoyed this book and can quite see its appeal for a junior school aged child. It is quite frantic with plenty of action & zany creatures. There are elements of history thrown in - Bazelg
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hyacinth has just moved to London with her rather surreal mother who talks about growing up in Hampstead surrounded by green fields and sheep.
The act of adapting her new taps to mix the water in the taps rather than the sink sets off a sequence of events involving towels, monster postmen, sewers, umbrellas and the Circle Lane, little boys and printing presses, a porcine creature in a bathing suit, toshers (treasure hunters), a Royal Mail Sorting office, Monument, the former site of Newgate Pris ...more
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was asked to review by Nudge

This is a really fun book for 9-12 years but equally entertaining for the adult (or child within the adult)

A girl called Hyacinth and her Mother move to London. Her Grandmother gives her a book about the sewers of London for a going away gift ( a strange gift I hear you say- this is a strange story) She finds out that they are not at all right. They move to a flat that her family owns. there are plumbing issues in the bathroom, there is a problem with the tap. The
Sharon Craft Viall
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the true story of the sewers of London. Hyacinth and her strange Mother are moving to London. Her Grandmother gives her a book about the sewers of London for a going away gift. She finds out that they are not at all right. They move to an apartment that her family owns. There is something wrong with the plumbing in her bathroom and they call in a plumber to fix it. That's when the Adventure begins. A drop of water gets away and a whole lot of problems and weird things start to happen. So ...more
Kristie J.
Jun 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Fantastical, adventure story about an 11-year-old American girl who moves to London with her clueless mom. Hyacinth finds out that a lot of British things (putting milk in your cup before the tea, having a hot and cold water tap separate, monuments, the postal station, the underground sewer system) have secret magical meanings. It felt like an American writer went on vacation in London and then invented magical purposes behind each of these things. I felt that some of it was a bit silly, however ...more
Kathleen Dixon
What a romp! This book for kids is non-stop action as Hyacinth is led under- and over-ground through the sewer system and the once-rivers (which, if you have an ounce of magic in your blood, can also be seen in their beautiful, magical state) and up to several monuments and famous places.

I love the way the author has taken real curiosities and woven his tale around them. There is a segment at the end of the book which tells us just what is factual and what is not, and I enjoyed reading that. I a
Jul 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s
I am not sure how to rate this book. It has an interesting premise. It is well written. But it is odd.
In a case of alternative history, many events of the past in London and the world have been shaped/caused by who controls magical rivers.
Hyacinth moves to London with her mother. After a short introductory section on that topic and the fact that Hyacinth is getting chapped hands from the hot and cold water being separated, the rest of the book takes place in about 36 hours. It is fast paced and
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
When Hyacinth moves to London with her mother, she is quickly shocked to learn that water of London is teeming with magic and her accidental use of that water results in the kidnapping of her mother. Hyacinth teams up with a helpful neighbor to complete the quest that will release her mother – jumping into the secret, magical subterranean world of the London sewer system. Nothing and no one are what they seem in this funny, fast paced kickoff to a planned trilogy. Fantasy fans should race just a ...more
Hannah Belyea
Hyacinth and her mother have moved back to London, but when she accidentally unleashes a magic drop of water that threatens the entire city, she will have to risk it all to save her new home, even if it means teaming up with some of the strangest folk on - and under - the streets. Weinstein is sure to please young readers with this creative story that mixes history with magic in an entertaining way. Time for all her plumbing skills to finally come in handy outside the home!
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I enjoy books with twisted history. This is a great book that those that enjoy that added tier in their stories. I did find that some of the scenes of the book did drag on a bit for juvenile fiction. The book does wrap up nicely, but still leads well into more of this series.

I received this ebook from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this fiction book. The author is extremely imaginative and the world he created is out of this world. From strange mystical creatures like evil unicorns running on a treadmill to a posh loyal pig. I recommend this book, it's a bit like a detective mystery book and so much happens in it I hope there's a sequal ...more
Dec 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's was fun!!! The story is crazy and fun and magical and quirky. Sewers, giant pigs, talking mosquitoes in tuxedos, just weird but so fun. Super fun for young kids, the sewer stuff was a little yuck.... but if you stop thinking about the fact that they spend a large amount of the book in the sewers than you are good to go! Just a fun one. ...more
Apr 21, 2018 rated it liked it
This was an annoying yet interesting book. I listened to the book on CD while traveling. There were parts in it that made me want to eject the CD I was listening to and throw it out the window. However this being a library copy that was not an option. There were also places where if I had had the book I would have need to reread to find out what was going on because it was just confusing.
Heather Gunnell
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Staff Pick

I love this book because you think you know what's happening, and then everything changes. Just like Hyacinth, you're trying to figure out who's good and who's bad, and maybe everyone's a little bit of both. I also love how sarcastic and witty Hyacinth is. She had me laughing out loud numerous times. I'm looking forward to more.
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
Don't you love when your books lead you places you never saw coming? And when giant pigs show up? And then when you check on some of the amazing things mentioned in the book and find out they are REAL PLACES that you yourself could VISIT IN PERSON if you are in London?

Ooh. That's what you'll get when you open up Hyacinth and join the adventure.
Isabelle Himes
Jun 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was pretty good. At first I did not want to read it but I started to enjoy it more towards the end. One reason I enjoyed this book was because it had magic in it. It also took place in London which is a place I want to go someday. This book at some points was sad but it was still a good book.
Jeana Lawrence
Oct 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Really interesting premise and setting and the cast of characters are really hilarious and amusing. I'm interested to see if there will be a sequel though I hope there isn't any more travels through the sewers (probably will be though). ...more
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really funny book. I really like the character of Hyacinth. Seems like some things will be explained later books, like hyacinth’s connection to the rivers and how oddly unobservant Hyacinth’s mom is.
Lisa Boyd
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a fun book that I really did not expect to be as good as it was. There are some parts in here that would make this a great read for older kids, younger kids might get scared or miss some of the finer points of one of the character's sarcasm at times. ...more
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I would have read more in the series, but I can't find the audio for the next book.
This book has a bit of a confusing beginning. Eventually you get into the world of this weird under level in London. It was a bit cleaver, and a slight amount of romance.
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Goodreads Librari...: The City of Secret Rivers 3 33 Apr 02, 2016 09:00AM  

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Jacob Sager Weinstein's work has appeared in The New Yorker and The Onion, and he has written for HBO and the BBC as well. He lives in London with his wife and children.


Other books in the series

Hyacinth (3 books)
  • Hyacinth And The Stone Thief (Hyacinth #2)
  • Untitled (Hyacinth #3)

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