The Night Gardener

The Night Gardener

A Scary Story

Book - 2014
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Irish orphans Molly, fourteen, and Kip, ten, travel to England to work as servants in a crumbling manor house where nothing is quite what it seems to be, and soon the siblings are confronted by a mysterious stranger and secrets of the cursed house.
Publisher: New York :, Amulet Books,, 2014.
Branch Call Number: OLDER FICTION
Characteristics: 350 pages :,illustrations ;,22 cm.


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From Library Staff

This creepy little number is ‘The Secret Garden’ mixed with ‘Little Shop of Horrors’. When Irish orphans Molly and Kip travel to England to work as servants, nothing could prepare them for the mysterious spectre and the secrets that wallow within the cursed house. Nothing is truly as it seems. Wo... Read More »

From the critics

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Nov 05, 2020

Auxier is my new favorite children's author, hands-down. His talent with spinning a tale, combined with his sparkling language and strong themes are everything I look for in a great novel to share with my kid. This one is a bit too spooky for my kids right now, but it will be a great one to grab in a few years I think. Fantastic YA horror--even though I normally don't go for the horror genre, this one kept me delighted, turning the pages and hardly daring to breathe between sentences, gripped by his treatment of themes of overcoming addiction, personal trauma and fear.

Apr 23, 2019

A beautifully dark tale that definitely engrosses you. I had messed up dreams in the middle of this book. Auxier paints a world that you can't help but interacting with. The characters are quite easy to relate to, even where somewhat unrealistic (such as the family after having been involved with the tree). Very enjoyable and worth a read.

Feb 13, 2019

love the imagination and creativity. A "ghost" story that wasn't overly scary but the suspense was good.

Awesome, spooky book. It was amazing

Oct 16, 2017

Perfectly spooky tale to read this time of year. Complete with black edges and shadowy silhouette illustrations, this is a tale that all can appreciate. The central theme is what you desire is not always what you need. Plot is excellent and well developed; as creepy as the Addams family without the humour.

0Charlie Oct 03, 2017

This was a wonderfully creepy tale. There were spooky noises in the night, mysterious locked rooms, creepy characters, and a gutsy brother and sister who find themselves plunked into the middle of it all. I appreciated how storytelling could amuse and enthrall, distract and shield, escape and avoid all at the same time. The work was peopled by interesting, moving characters and the various mysteries were spun out at an exciting pace. Well done. Highly recommended.

Jun 29, 2017

My son really enjoyed this book. It is a long story, but kept him engaged the whole time!

An engaging, well-written, not-too-creepy yarn about wishes, stories, and lies. The characters are well-drawn and more complex than they may seem at first, and the tensions between them are realistic; the story intrigued and entertained me, while also making me think. While it wasn't "my kind of story", The Night Gardener is good enough for me to want to read something else by Jonathan Auxier.

May 01, 2017

A good book, filled with delightful characters and just the right amount of spookiness. I found it very interesting that the two main characters were Irish. I didn't want to put it down! The villain was extremely intriguing, especially since it is difficult to tell who (or what) is ultimately responsible. There is a bit of violence and a few suspenseful/scary moments, but overall, this isn't too frightening a book.

Mar 11, 2017

Whenever I choose a William Allen White award book, I am not disappointed. This book is fantastic! I like how (similar to many children's books) it includes kids exploring an old house and fighting against an evil that the adults fail to notice or appreciate. Also this book hinges on the theme of storytelling and the archetype of the storyteller, and inspires me to cultivate tales of my own, and my skill as a story-teller. This book kept me turning the pages nonstop. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in creepy tales. And the best thing about this book is how satisfying the ending is. Many otherwise good books fall short with the ending, but this one leaves me feeling content and with a sense that the story was resolved and need not go on....

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Mar 24, 2015

Don't let fear take you away from who you love.

JCLChrisK Nov 24, 2014

“I think I figured it out." She sniffed, looking up at the stars. "Hester asked me what the difference between a story and a lie was. At the time, I told her that a story helps folks. 'Helps 'em do what?' she asked. Well, I think I know the answer. A story helps folks face the world, even when it frightens 'em. And a lie does the opposite. It helps you hide.”

JCLChrisK Nov 24, 2014

“Stories come in all different kinds." Hester scooted closer, clearly enjoying the subject at hand. "There's tales, which are light and fluffy. Good for a smile on a sad day. Then you got yarns, which are showy-yarns reveal more about the teller than the story. After that there's myths, which are stories made up by whole groups of people. And last of all, there's legends." She raised a mysterious eyebrow. "Legends are different from the rest on account no one knows where they start. Folks don't tell legends; they repeat them. Over and over again through history.”

Jul 26, 2014

``Disease``, Kip said.


“A story helps folks face the world, even when it frightens ‘em. And a lie does the opposite. It helps you hide.”


“Both lies and stories involved saying things that weren’t true, but somehow the lies inside the stories felt true.”

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
Feb 11, 2017

ririshres2 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Oct 18, 2015

edbodnar thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Feb 11, 2015

koala786 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

LibrarianDest Jul 08, 2014

LibrarianDest thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


Add a Summary
Oct 18, 2015

Molly and her brother come to an old mansion, hoping for work. Instead they find powerful secrets. There is a magical tree right beside the house. It can give you whatever you want, but for a price: you must pay by giving part of your soul.

Mar 24, 2015

2 poor kids go to a mansion to be maids and gardeners. The house is very creepy and weird things are happening.

Feb 11, 2015



Molly and Kip are driving a fish cart, pulled by a horse named Galileo, to their deaths. That’s what everyone’s been telling them anyway. Living without parents, Molly sees herself as her brother’s guardian and is intent upon finding a safe place for the both of them. When she’s hired to work as a servant at the mysterious Windsor estate she thinks the job might be too good to be true. Indeed, the place (located deep in something called “the sour woods”) is a decrepit old mansion falling apart at the seams. The locals avoid it and advise the kids to do so too. Things are even stranger inside. The people who live in the hollow home appear to be both pale and drawn. And it isn’t long before both Molly and Kip discover the mysterious night gardener, who enters the house unbidden every evening, tending to a tree that seems to have a life of its own. A tree that can grant you your heart’s desire if you would like. And all it wants in return? Nothing you’d ever miss. Just a piece of your soul.


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