Thursday, January 5, 2017

THE WARDEN'S DAUGHTER by Jerry Spinelli


I'm honored to be part of the blog tour for The Warden's Daughter, Jerry Spinelli's new novel!





The Warden's Daughter by Jerry Spinelli (January 3, 2017, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 352 pages, for ages 9 to 12)

Synopsis (from the publisher): Cammie O'Reilly is the warden's daughter, living in an apartment above the entrance to the Hancock County Prison. But she's also living in a prison of grief and anger about the mother who died saving her from harm when she was just a baby. And prison has made her mad.
 
In the summer of 1959, as twelve turns to thirteen, everything is in flux. Cammie's best friend is discovering lipstick and American Bandstand. A child killer is caught and brought to her prison. And the only mother figures in her life include a flamboyant shoplifter named Boo Boo and a sullen reformed arsonist of a housekeeper. All will play a role in Cammie's coming-of-age. But one in particular will make a staggering sacrifice to ensure that Cammie breaks free from her past.


Jerry Spinelli
copyright Elmore DeMott


Why I recommend it: A new novel from Jerry Spinelli is always reason to celebrate. And this lovely historical novel revisits Two Mills, the town (based on Norristown, PA) that was the setting of Maniac Magee, my favorite Jerry Spinelli novel. Like all of Spinelli's novels, The Warden's Daughter is full of heart, sly humor, and gasp-inducing moments of drama. This one is also chock-full of 1959 culture (pedal pushers, crew cuts, convertibles) and of Philadelphia-area details, like Dick Clark's American Bandstand, Tastykakes, and scrapple. (I was born in Philadelphia and now live outside of it and yes, I've eaten scrapple, but I definitely do not like it!).

Cammie is a complex character who really grows on you, a curmudgeon of sorts, a 12-year-old who is not happy. But knowing about her past, you understand her and you feel for her. There are introspective chapters but there's also plenty of action, as Cammie rides her bike all over town and sometimes gets into fights. (There's a reason they call her Cannonball O'Reilly!)

Favorite lines:  "Some kids had tree houses. Some kids had hideouts. I had the Tower of Death." (from p. 35)

Bonus: To hear more about The Warden's Daughter from the author himself, watch this brief video:


Jerry Spinelli's website


Here are the next few stops on the blog tour:

January 6: Book Blather
January 9: Bookhounds YA
January 10: Reviews Coming at YA
January 11: Project Mayhem


For other Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts, visit Shannon's blog.

19 comments:

  1. I have this one on my list to read this year. It sounds like the female version of ALL RISE FOR THE HONORABLE PERRY T. COOK, which was one of my favorites from 2016. Anyway, thanks for sharing.

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    1. I haven't read that one, Greg, but I remember reading a review of it, probably on your blog!

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  2. This book is getting a lot of buzz, and I hope I can get to read it soon. Thanks for the review.

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    1. It certainly deserves all the buzz it gets, Rosi.

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  3. I'm part of the tour too (Project Mayhem), and am loving THE WARDEN's DAUGHTER. Jerry Spinelli is such a great writer. (By the way, I had no idea what scrapple was, and it sounds like I shouldn't try it, in your opinion!)

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    1. Ah, you're the Project Mayhem blogger for this. Looking forward to your review.

      Patricia, below, loves scrapple, but me... no way.

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  4. I'm terrible. I never read anything by Jerry Spinelli. Glad you liked it.

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    1. Oh, Natalie, you're not terrible, just overwhelmed with too many books to read! When you get the chance, read STARGIRL first. It's YA and I think you'll love it.

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  5. Has Jerry Spinelli ever written a book I couldn't connect with? Nope. And as a former Quakertown-ian, I look forward to more hometown charm. Thanks. Sending you a box of butterscotch krimpets now...

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    1. Oh, Joanne, this is filled to the brim with hometown charm. Nice way to phrase it. I'm familiar with Quakertown. I grew up in the Fort Washington area. Ah, butterscotch krimpets.

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  6. I've heard good things about this book. Such a crazy, unique setting for a teen. I was 8 in 1959 -- and scrapple is yummy -- better than mush. I haven't read Jerry Spinelli's novels. I want to read this one!

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    1. Then you're the same age as my sister, Patricia! Oh my goodness, you and Natalie both. Yes, read this one or any of his books. Pronto!

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  7. I love Maniac Magee and this new character sounds like one of those beautifully flawed souls that you can't help but love. Thanks so much for the recommend, and happy MMGM!

    --Suzanne
    www.suzannewarr.com

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  8. Your review has me really intrigued. I'm going to look for this one!

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  9. I loved this book! Spinelli's work really speks to me. Great review! :D

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  10. Andrea and Erik, thank you for your comments. For some reason, Blogger isn't allowing me to reply directly underneath your comment.

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  11. I have read a lot of Jerry Spinelli's books and have really enjoyed them. So many memorable characters. This sounds like great book and I am adding it to my list. I met Jerry a few years ago at a local bookstore and he was so nice. Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

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    1. So glad you got to meet Jerry! I've met and talked to both Jerry and his wife Eileen on several occasions. They're wonderful people.

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