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Something Upstairs
Scholastic, 2010
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Something Upstairs

The mystery deepens …

The room was shabby and dirty, heavy with heat. None of the things which Kenny called his own remained. Even the painted walls and skylight were gone.

Baffled, he wondered if other things—even outside—had changed. Kenny went to one of the windows and looked down. On a stoop across the dark street a man was standing, gazing straight at Kenny's window. He was wearing what appeared to be a long black cape which reached his knees, and a hat, triangular in shape. Its brim obscured his face.

As if suddenly realizing he was being observed, the man moved quickly into the shadows. Keeping his face averted, he fled up the street.

Story Behind the Story

  1. I was living in Los Angeles, one of the USA’s newest cities. I moved to Providence, Rhode Island, one of the USA’s oldest cities. The city is like a museum of early American architecture. It was a rather like traveling back in time.

  2. I began to read about Providence history.

  3. I was visiting a school somewhere. A teacher took me aside and said, “I have a student who says it’s urgent that he talk to you alone. I don’t know what it’s about. But he’s very insistent. Could you spare a few moments?” read more

Awards and Honors

YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 1999
Rhode Island Award, 1991
Florida Sunshine Award, 1992
California Young Readers Award, 1993
ALA Notable Recording, 1992 (Recorded Books, Inc.)
Best Books of the Year, Library of Congress, 1989
Nominated, Best Juvenile Mystery of the Year, Mystery Writers of America, 1989


Something Upstairs is an intelligent and well-intentioned effort. It can provoke discussion of the issues … as well as how, finally, violence visits the lives of both Caleb and Kenny and how Kenny, through choice and circumstance, may have become a slave himself.” (School Library Journal)

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