Insta Review: The Warden’s Daughter, by Jerry Spinelli

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The Warden’s Daughter drove me nuts and made me cringe again and again while I was listening to it, but I missed it when it was over. Isn’t it funny that some books can manage to worm their way into our hearts in that unpleasant way? Cami is the queen of Hancock County Prison. At least, that’s how she sees it. In reality, she’s the daughter of the warden, and the prison is her whole life. Cami’s mother died pushing her out of the way of a wayward milk truck, and Cami cannot let go of the anger that she feels from being deprived a mother. That anger and need for love push Cami into making all kinds of bad decisions – bullying her only remaining parent, searching for maternal attention from prison inmates, shoplifting, flat-out punching people in the face – but none of that fills the void. It’s not until she is forced to deal with her feelings and come to terms with what she has lost, before she even knew that she had it, that she can move forward. I love that author Jerry Spinelli made a truly unlikable character in young Cami. She’s rude, she’s mean, she never says the right thing – and it’s maddening. By the end of the novel, we hear from a more grown-up Cami, who waxes poetic about her younger self and finally reveals whether or not she managed to leave her cantankerous attitude behind. Slow paced and more emotions than action, this one will be a much harder sell than Wringer or Maniac Magee. Not my favorite Spinelli novel; at times the Warden’s Daughter felt long and slow, and it didn’t always hold my attention, but it was worth it in the end. #bookreview #jerryspinelli #audiobook #kidlit #bookstagram #instabook

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