Book Review: Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

29 Mar

When Castle Glower grows bored, it grows rooms. Or takes them away. Or lengthens hallways,Image 
or adds secret staircases, or makes a shortcut from the throne room to a secret spyglass tower. The castle is alive — it 

can choose the next king, like it chose Prince Rolf by placing his room closest to the throne room. It will make life uncomfortable for anyone unfaithful to the royal family and has been known to eject such people from its halls.

Princess Celie has lived in Castle Glower all her life, and knows her way around best. She listens to the castle, and the castle listens to her. So when her parents and oldest brother are pronounced dead but the castle hasn’t changed their rooms at all, she knows something is suspicious is afoot. Soon, Celie and her siblings Rolf and Lilah are fighting for their lives as an foreign prince attempts to take over the castle. Fighting him is easy with the castle so obligingly forming ramps so they can wheel in barrows of manure, or making the prince’s chamberpots disappear, or providing a secret hideaway only they can access. But then the castle stops, and Celie and Lilah are trapped, and the evil prince has their father’s crown at his fingertips–but Celie won’t let them take Castle Glower. She’s determined to stop them, whatever the cost.

This is exactly the kind of book I would have gobbled whole at the tender age of ten with three years to wait until the next Harry Potter book came out. Castle Glower is like a new and improved Hogwarts, more magical and more alive–yes, I said it. I loved how it could practically read Celie’s thoughts and make new doorways and secret passages for her and responded to things she asked of it. As a kid, I would have been utterly entranced–I still was.

The only thing is, as an adult, you can’t read too much into it. For instance: the castle creates a door and makes it disappear for Celie and Lilah when they have to hide in one of the towers. But when Celie goes to her room and finds it padlocked, the castle doesn’t do anything like make a new door into the room. There were a few situations where I was like, “But couldn’t the castle just…” which would have made everything too easy, of course. Again, this is a book for 10-year-olds, so you can’t get too picky.

I loved the characters. Celie was great–fun and spunky and smart–but I particularly loved Rolf, who I felt made a pretty good king while he had to be. Lilah got on my nerves a bit with her mothering, but I felt like it was believable enough if you think your parents are dead and you’ve got these two siblings to look after. The various minor characters were great, too. Cook made me laugh every time she walked onto the page.

The children’s mischief and shenanigans was fun to follow and it was a fun, light read overall. Kids will wish they lived in Castle Glower. I know I do.

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One Response to “Book Review: Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George”

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  1. 2013: A Year of Reading in Review | More Than One Page - December 26, 2013

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