(Image from Barnes & Noble)
Cammie O'Reilly knows what it's like to have a caretaker, but not a mother. Hers died 12 years ago when Cammie was just a baby. For as long as she can remember, it's been her and her father, who works as a warden at the local prison. Since the O'Reillys live in an apartment above the entrance to the facility, she's always had one of the female inmates—a prison trustee—as a housekeeper and Cammie-keeper. Which is all well and good, but this is a pivotal time for Cammie; she wants a mother of her own to help her through it.
There are plenty of women in the Hancock County Prison from whom to choose. Maybe they're not the most ideal candidates in the world, but Cammie's not all that picky. Boo Boo, a flamboyant shoplifter, would be a fun mother. Eloda, the current Cammie-minder isn't exactly the warm and fuzzy type, but she would do. Cammie just has to do a little scheming to make all her mother-shaped dreams come true.
Of course, procuring a mother isn't that easy. Neither is growing up, as Cammie is finding out the hard way. Between her determined mom-scheming, her friends acting strangely, the discovery of an unlikely new pal, and the arrival of an intriguing inmate, her emotions are running high. It will be a summer full of startling revelations—truths that will change everything for one "Cannonball" Cammie O'Reilly.
I've never read anything by Jerry Spinelli, so when a copy of his newest—The Warden's Daughter—arrived at my kids' school library, I jumped at the chance to read it. The jail setting caught my attention, as did Cammie's endearing plight. While I didn't end up loving the novel, I did find it a thoughtful and poignant book that tells a sad but intriguing story. Overall, I did like the tale, which reminded me a lot of the old Rolling Stones adage "You can't always get what you ... you get what you need."
(Readalikes: Reminds me of the Al Capone series [Al Capone Does My Shirts; Al Capone Shines My Shoes; and Al Capone Does My Homework] by Gennifer Choldenko)
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for brief, mild language (no F-bombs)
To the FTC, with love: I borrowed a copy of The Warden's Daughter from my kids' elementary school library.