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Children's Fiction General

The Boy in the Burning House

by (author) Tim Wynne-Jones

Farrar Straus & Giroux
Initial publish date
Sep 2003
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2002
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Aug 2000
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2003
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 10 to 14
  • Grade: 7 to 10
  • Reading age: 12 to 15


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 shocks Jim out of his stupor when she tells him her stepfather is a murderer. "Don't you want to know who he murdered?" she asks. Jim doesn't. Ruth Rose is clearly crazy -- a sixteen-year-old misfit. Yet something about her fierce conviction pierces Jim's shell. He begins to burn with a desire for the truth, until it becomes clear that it may be more unsettling than he can bear. What is the real meaning of the strange prayers Father Fisher intones behind the door of his private sanctuary? Why does Ruth Rose suddenly disappear? And what really happened thirty years ago when a boy died in a burning house?
The Boy in the Burning House is the winner of the 2002 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery.

About the author

TIM WYNNE-JONES is one of Canada's foremost writers for children. The author of over thirty-five books, he is a two-time winner of the Governor General's Award, as well as a two-time winner of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and of the Arthur Ellis Award. His short-story collections include Some of the Kinder Planets, Book of Changes and Lord of the Fries. He is also known for his Rex Zero series. Recently, he wrote the young-adult novels The Ruinous Sweep; Emperor of Any Place, which earned seven starred reviews; and Blink & Caution, which won the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award. Tim is also the recipient of the Edgar Award and the Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work. In 2012, he was made an Officer to the Order of Canada. He lives in Perth, Ontario.


Tim Wynne-Jones' profile page


  • Long-listed, ALA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults
  • Unknown, American Library Association Popular Paperbacks for Young Readers
  • Winner, Edgar Allan Poe Award Winner
  • Unknown, Edgar Allen Poe Award Winner
  • Unknown, Edgar Allen Poe Award
  • Unknown, American Library Association Popular Paperbacks for Young Readers
  • Unknown, Edgar Allen Poe Award Winner
  • Unknown, ALA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults

Editorial Reviews

?Wynne-Jones builds an action-packed thriller around the mysterious disappearance of a Canadian farmer . . . His son, Jim, starts to suspect foul play . . . after a teenage acquaintance, "crazy" Ruth Rose, makes some startling accusations . . . Will keep the pages turning.? “Publishers Weekly
?Wynne-Jones weaves a strong, sensitively observed cast, plus themes of inner conflict, unlikely friendships, and the enduring power of hate, into a powerful tale.? “Kirkus Reviews
?A gripping, fast-moving plot that offers the pure adrenaline rush of a thriller.? “Starred, The Horn Book

Other titles by Tim Wynne-Jones