The Warden’s Daughter – Jerry Spinelli

41nkvuf6qtl         The Warden’s Daughter – Jerry Spinelli, Alfred A. Knopf, (9780375931994), 2017

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1- 5 (5 is excellent or a Starred review)  5

Genre:  Realistic

What did you like about the book? This is a coming of age story, set in 1959, about a motherless 12-year old named Cammie who lives with her warden father in a Pennsylvania prison.  Cammie is full of anger and sadness and has earned the nickname Cannonball for her habit of blowing up.  She resents not having gotten a chance to know her mother, who was killed by a milk truck after pushing infant Cammie in her stroller to safety.  Cammie is searching for a mother substitute and feels she has found one in the prison trustee named Eloda who cares for her the spring and summer before she turns 13.  But Eloda resists all of Cammie’s overtures except when she braids the tomboys short hair every morning.  Came is also dealing with the new maturity of her best friend Reggie, who looks 17 and gets on American Bandstand.  Cammie’s churning emotions will be challenged by a tragedy in the prison and Eloda’s release. Years later, Cammie is given Eloda’s diary where she learns a lot more about the summer of 1959.  

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No

To whom would you recommend this book?  Readers who enjoy the author’s previous books will end lots to love in this new one.  Hand it to readers who enjoyed Tales From Alcatraz series by Jennifer Choldenko.  

Who should buy this book?  Public libraries and missile school libraries

Where would you shelve it? Fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this at the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Date of review:  1/21/17             

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