The Warden’s Daughter

Author – Jerry SpinelliThe Warden's Daughter

Age – 10+

Cammie O’Reilly doesn’t have a mother. She lives with her father who is the warden of the prison in a town called Two Mills. Throughout her 12 years, there have been trustees (inmates on light sentences), who dust, cook, clean and look out for Cammie.

Cammie’s best friend is Reggie Weinstein – a bubbly, popular, pretty girl who is dabbling in make-up and nice clothes, and dreaming about fame on the stage. She is the opposite of Cammie who is a staunch tom-boy, riding her bike, playing base-ball and dreaming of playing in the big leagues.

The loss of her mother when she was just a baby has moulded who Cammie is. She is surly, challenging and acts tough a lot of the time, her nickname Cannonball. Now she is nearly a teen, Cammie feels the void where her mother should be more intensely every day. She hatches a plan to make her latest trustee, Eloda, treat her like a mother would. But Eloda doesn’t fall for it.

Events with her friends over the summer holidays and a sudden loss of someone else close to her, pushes Cammie even further until she is ready to snap. The solution to her growing anger and pain comes not a moment too soon.

It’s nearly four years later, when she learns that she was being watched closely by not only her father, as she tried to sabotage her friendships, family and herself as her anger and grief boil over. The one person she thought was ignoring her had a plan of her own.

A story about a soon-to-be teen finding her place in the world, grieving a mother she doesn’t remember and learning about the people around her who love her. Cammie isn’t a likeable character at first, but I got to know her, the prison, her best friend and the town of Two Mills like they were my own. Jerry Spinelli has done it again. Loved it!

(Prison, Grief, Growing Up, Friendship, Loss, 1950’s, Pre-teen, Acting up, Bandstand)

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