Looking for a book title. Help please?

I read this very long time ago, around seventh grade, or approximately 10 years ago. So this book would have been published at the latest prior to 2006. It's an young adult fiction, something that can be found in a middle-school library.

It was about a teenage boy who goes to live in a large countryside house of his relative (uncle, I think) by himself. The said relative is not present in the house throughout the entire book. The uncle is a some kind of an explorer who left a journal in the house about his travels to exotic tropical lands and wrote with emphasis about this white flower.

The boy reads this journal throughout the novel, while befriending another girl (if I'm remembering this right). The cover of this book had an illustration of a reddish-brown house/wall with green ivys on it. It may have had an illustration of the boy himself in the corner.

That's about as much as I can remember. If anyone recognizes this description, you're my hero because this has been bugging me the whole week.

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