My daughter is following in my footsteps when it comes to a love of reading. She can zing through books just like I used to (and still would if I wasn't so busy being an adult). She seems to enjoy some of the same kinds of books that I used to (and still do really). I have always enjoyed mystery and fantasy type books. As I got older, I started reading more Christian fiction and Christian Historical Fiction. So, when The Glass Castle by Trisha White Priebe and Jerry B. Jenkins from Shiloh Run Press came available for review, I knew it was something I would be interested in. Though I had never heard of Trisha White Priebe, I had heard of Jerry B. Jenkins, as I own the entire original 12 books of the Left Behind Series which he co-authored. Knowing that this was a Christian book and one based in a fantasy type world (though without the magic), and that there was mystery and intrigue involved, I was quite interested.
The thing is, this book is geared for children ages 10-15. That didn't bother me, because I have found I enjoy reading books geared for this age range. I also had a feeling Tabitha would also enjoy it. Of course, she isn't 10 yet, but I knew from past experience she could read books geared for older children. Fortunately, I was able to have her read an excerpt over on the site before I made up my mind about my interest level in reviewing this book. She fell in love with it instantly and had no trouble reading or comprehending it.
We received a hardcover copy of The Glass Castle. There are 41 shortish chapters in this 250 page book. At first, my plan was to have her read a chapter or two, and then let me have a chance to read the same chapters. That way I would be able to question her on what she was reading. Unfortunately, she was so enthralled with the story, I had a hard time getting it away from her. She ended up finishing the book way before me. However, I did have her write a book report. More on that later.
First, let me tell you a little about The Glass Castle. This story appears to be set in some medieval time and land. There are castles, horses, carriages, kings, queens and other royalty. The tale begins with our main heroine, Avery, attempting to take care of her little brother Henry. Unfortunately, they are captured by an old woman and separated. We do not know what happened to Henry, only knowing that he is supposedly being kept safe as long as Avery does as she is told.
Avery finds herself trapped in what we gradually find out is the castle of the elderly king and his soon to be queen. Avery is not the only one there however. It appears that every 13 year old orphan has been abducted. The only strange thing is, Avery herself is not an orphan, at least as far as she knows. This does make her more prone to want to find a way to escape than the others, because she knew a father's love and had a loving family she wants to get back to, while most of the other teens have found themselves in better conditions than they left.
They have the run of the back rooms and top floors of the castle as long as they stay alert for adults. They keep busy by doing the work that dismissed servants would have been doing. They even have their own form of government which Avery becomes a part of along with Kate (who was her first friend), Tuck, and Kendrick. They are leery as they await the kings marriage to Angelina, not sure what this union is going to hold for them.
Who had them captured and why? This is the first of quite a few mysteries Avery is trying to solve as she adjusts to life in the castle. Avery discovers that she knows a lot about this castle from what she thought were just stories her mother had told her when she was younger. This opens up a new mystery. How did her mother know so many details about this castle, and what is the significance of her necklace? Throughout the book, more questions are raised, but most are never answered. Thankfully The Glass Castle is the first of a series, with the second book, The Ruby Moon, slated to be released in October of 2016.
My daughter and I enjoyed reading The Glass Castle. I appreciated that there was no foul language or other inappropriate behavior. Avery does find herself attracted to one of her fellow teens, and discovers that someone has feelings for her, but most of this is discovered through notes being passed back and forth, though on a bit of a different scale than the way notes used to be passed in school. There was a bit of a Christian message in the story, but it was quite minor. Though not really interested in going to chapel at first, Avery eventually finds herself there and is found to ponder on the teachings and the Word of God. This does play a part in a decision she makes toward the end of the book.
Some people may take issue with the fact that Avery keeps breaking rules. Normally, this would also bother me. However, in this instance, we have to remember that she is a prisoner who realizes she isn't being told the whole truth and wants to return to her family. She has been kidnapped, and usually those in such circumstances are going to try to find a way to escape if possible. Of course, she is also not sure who she can trust.
The following is a bit more spoiler-ish than I usually like to share, but I did want to mention it, so feel free to skip the next paragraph.
I took more of an issue with how easy it was for her to escape the castle and then reenter after discovering there was nobody actually at home for her. She meets another teen who escaped, one they had all been worried about, needlessly it now appears. She is able to talk to this person and discover things she didn't know about, including an upcoming uprising. She decides to go back to the castle instead of joining with this cause. Somehow she is able to sneak back in, bringing her dog with her.
Tabitha and I are anxiously awaiting the next book in the series. We are both hoping some of these questions are going to be answered. Neither one of us felt there was a significant problem that was resolved in this book. In fact, though she was able to write a summary of the book in her book report, she found she couldn't answer the questions, "What problem needed to be solved?" and "How did they solve it?"
Writing book reports is something new I have been trying with the girls. I don't have them write reports for every book they read, but when I signed up for this review, I knew I wanted to have her take on the book, and a book report seemed like the way to go.
You can purchase The Glass Castle by Trisha White Priebe and Jerry B. Jenkins for $12.99 in either hardback, ePub, or Kindle editions.
Shiloh Run Press is a division of Barbour Publishing. You can find Barbour Publishing on Facebook and Twitter.
Don't forget to click the banner below to check out what my fellow Crew Mates had to say about The Glass Castle.