My Eldest (19-ish) and I both enjoy reading middle school fiction, in part because MUCH of the time we can rest assured that it will be clean and interesting, without any of the yuck that is in so much adult fiction these days. For that reason, we were both pleased to have a little light reading to review in the form of The Glass Castle by Trisha White Priebe and Jerry B. Jenkins, published by Shiloh Run Press.
Those who have read and enjoyed Princess Academy and are looking for something with a similar feel for their younger readers might be very happy with the Glass Castle. The action is less intense but the plot is interesting and strong (if perhaps at times a bit confusing).
Avery (the main character) is kidnapped while playing in the woods with her little brother on her 13th birthday. She is brought to a castle by an old woman, to live with a large group of orphans. However, to the best of her knowledge, she isn't an orphan. Avery can't figure out why she is there, and confusion reigns in her heart (and our heads) as we all (Avery and the reader) realize that there are children who know more than they are saying. Cryptic remarks that leave Avery scratching her head, and worrying about finding her little brother and her father. Maybe, just maybe, Avery can help herself, and all the other orphans, but she needs to listen and make wise decisions.
Side note: At first one might be a little surprised to hear 13-year olds talking about marriage. That seems little young, especially when we have so many children "growing up" too quickly in our day and age. However, once one realizes that the time-period/culture "married young" it will likely become part of the story (at least that was our experience ~ but we aren't precisely the target age group. I'm curious what a tween/early teen will think?).
The beginning of the book starts with a BANG WHALLOP! The greater portion of the rest of the book is a little slower, as the story-line is laid and expanded with some detail that paints a fascinating picture of this double-lived castle. In the last third of the book the action builds, the story gets exciting, and your heart kind of drops as you realize that there aren't enough pages left, with the size of print used to conclude the tale with any sort of authenticity. Eldest was very disappointed in the cliff-hanger ending. For a book this size (250 pages of fairly large type) she felt that unless there is an amazing plot twist that requires 3/4 of a book to resolve, that the author should have just lengthened the book and completed the story. However, there is an Olympiad to look forward to, and quite a few hanging threads that need to be neatly tied together, so instead we'll anticipate reading the sequel The Ruby Moon when it is published this fall. If you or your children can't stand cliffhangers, you might want to add both books to your autumn or winter reading list! This would be a fantastic read-aloud for the right age group as the air gets crisp and the days get shorter!
Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty
- Company: Shiloh Run Press
- Product: The Glass Castle by Trisha White Priebe and Jerry B. Jenkins
- Ages: 10-14 target age
- Price: List $12.99
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