To my great delight, my son has developed a love for reading. He absolutely devours books. What used to be a begrudging task is now a favorite pastime. He’s always sharing with me what exciting adventure he’s in the middle of. He goes through books faster than I can keep them supplied. Which is kind of awesome.
We were looking for some new young adult fiction books when we received a copy of The Glass Castle by Trisha White Priebe and Jerry B. Jenkins by Shiloh Run Press. My son was thrilled! Spoiler alert: My son finished this book in one weekend!
The Glass Castle
The Glass Castle is a beautiful hardback book. At about 256 pages and 41 chapters, it’s a perfectly sized chapter book for late elementary to middle school children. This book is written by Trisha White Priebe, a wife, mom, and writer, and Jerry B. Jenkins, who has authored more than 175 books and is known for his Left Behind series.
About the Book
An ordinary afternoon walk through the woods had just turned dangerous for 13 year-old Avery and her 3 year-old brother, Henry. After being kidnapped, Avery gets separated from her brother, and is taken away to the king’s castle where she finds several more kidnapped children.
Avery soon discovers the reason behind her captivity. The king is old and dying and needs an heir to the throne. The king’s first wife had a child 13 years ago, but the king was told that the child had died. Angelina, the woman the king is about to marry, wants to provide the king’s heir but is the real heir to the throne still out there? Just in case, she has all 13 year-old orphans taken captive and threatens to have them killed.
Avery has a lot to uncover in the king’s castle. There are secrets about the king’s first wife and the Forbidden City. And what about the underground tunnels? And the royal ruby flower necklace? Avery is determined to discover the answers to these secrets and more in order to escape her prison, find her little brother, and go back home to her father. Sometimes in her effort to discover the answers to these secrets, she gets herself into difficult situations. However, her friends, Kate, Tuck, and Kendrick, are usually there to help her out.
Will Avery be able to escape? Where is this Forbidden City? Is the king’s heir still alive? Who is leaving Avery secret notes?
My Son’s Thoughts
Full of suspense, my son couldn’t even put this book down between chapters. He was on the edge of his seat during the entire read! He had this to say about The Glass Castle:
The Glass Castle is about a girl named Avery and her little brother. She and her brother are kidnapped and Avery finds herself in a castle with her little brother missing. Later on, kids start going missing and strange things begin happening. An old lady dies. Or was she killed? The kids are in danger because the old woman knows all the secrets of the castle.
When I came to the end of the book, I was so scared! It ended with a cliffhanger!! I was sad that I had finished the book, and I can’t wait for the next book to come out. The book is full of mysteries, and I liked how each chapter ended on a scary note, forcing me on.
– my son
I read this book after my son did and I have to agree, this is one exciting book! I had a hard time putting it down as well.
The book has mostly good themes throughout. Avery values her family. She once thinks, “To me, a world without my family is the farthest thing from perfect.” Mmm, I agree. But also, because the kids have been kidnapped by evil people, there’s a lot of avoiding adults and hiding from them. Although it’s subtle, I think it’s possible for kids to get it into their heads that they too should hide from adults and keep secrets from them.
A little romance was going on between Avery and the boy named, Tuck. Their eyes lock, Avery’s heart races, she blushes, and she thinks about Tuck often.
Christian themes and ideas can be found throughout the book. Avery finds a Bible in the library and notices how the pages come alive to her, unlike other books. Avery and some of the other kids have chapel where they “worship to reflect on God.” While scrubbing the floor, Avery is reminded that she should do her work as unto the Lord. Avery finds it difficult to worship God when so many things are going wrong but then realizes that maybe that is the most important time to pray.
As far as the grossness factor, thankfully there are only a couple instances that I wish had been cut out. In one chapter, the king is sick and coughs up blood. Later, the king’s cupbearer is poisoned and blood “trickled from his nose and ears and streamed down his neck, pooling on his shirt.”
My son and I loved this book. It’s a fun and suspenseful read! My only complaint is with the gross parts. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I prefer a clean mystery without any horror elements thrown in. And I feel that because this book is geared towards young children, the horror elements are really inappropriate. Children do not need to fill their minds with graphic blood scenes. These two parts are on pages 69 and 121, if you want to blot them out before your child reads the book. That said, we are planning to purchase the sequel, The Ruby Moon, in October when it comes out. In fact, my son has even informed me that October is in just five more months. <wink>