Friday, August 16, 2013

Emily's Book Review: The Life of Glass by Jillian Cantor


Glass is fragile and likely to break from a single drop, but it takes a million years to decay. The night her father died, Melissa and her friend Ryan found a piece of glass in “the wash,” a large dry riverbed they ride their bikes through, looking for treasure. When she came home, her dad’s last words to her were about the glass, and she’s held on to it ever since, a talisman she keeps in her pocket along with his memory. It’s now the start of Melissa’s freshman year, a year and a half since his passing, and it seems that everyone in her family is moving on except her. Melissa’s mother is starting to date again, and her older sister Ashley is no comfort, never giving her a ride to school and always calling her “the imp” to her friends. Other parts of her life are changing as well—Ryan starts dating the pretty new girl Courtney, causing Melissa to realize she’s had feelings for him all along. Melissa has always felt less than beautiful, and with her father gone, she’s left to be the ugly duckling in a house of swans, as her mom and sister are both literal pageant queens. His journal is her only solace, but one day, when she finds a note reminding him to call a strange woman, she realizes he may have had a secret she can’t bear to leave in the past.


Life of Glass is the story of a girl who is coming into her own with a past she can’t leave behind. Jillian Cantor writes in gorgeous, metaphorical prose, weaving Melissa’s dad’s facts about glass and stars and other everyday items into a story about human relationships. Like glass, Melissa realizes that human life itself is fragile and that our connections to those we love are easily broken, but the impact we leave on one another can take a lifetime to fade away. I’m excited that I’ve discovered Jillian Cantor’s writing, and I can’t wait to read more of her novels.


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