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The Life of Glass

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  723 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
Before he died, Melissa's father told her about stars. He told her that the brightest stars weren't always the most beautiful—that if people took the time to look at the smaller stars, if they looked with a telescope at the true essence of the star, they would find real beauty. But even though Melissa knows that beauty isn't only skin deep, the people around her don't seem ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Harperteen (first published February 9th 2010)
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YA Novels of 2010
123rd out of 610 books — 2,842 voters
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✧・゚:*Shattered Glass*:・゚✧
6th out of 34 books — 20 voters

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Community Reviews

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Jun 03, 2010 laaaaames rated it did not like it
You guys, this is seriously from the book:
I was trying on dresses in size 2, which Ashley looked at in disdain [Ashley is a size 00.:] but that my mother said most other girls would kill to wear. But I didn't care all that much about sizes the way Ashley did.

Um. I think this is the first time I've ever read a size 2 being justified as thin (in a book at least, I do live in L.A. after all). Holy crap. This is so what girls reading a book about a fourteen-year-old need to be reading. /sarcasm

Brianna (The Book Vixen)
Nov 21, 2015 Brianna (The Book Vixen) rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
Review copy provided by author

The Life of Glass is a coming of age novel about a 14-year old girl, Melissa. Her father died from lung cancer which came as a surprise since he was not a smoker. For Melissa, it was like losing half of herself. She was closest to her father whereas her mom and sister were two beauty queens in a pod. Melissa's best friend is Ryan, the boy who lives down the street. They are pretty inseparable until Courtney, the new girl in town, starts crushing on Ryan. Ryan and Co
The Bookologist
Mar 20, 2010 The Bookologist rated it really liked it

The Life Of Glass is an emotional novel that takes readers on a journey, not different from that of glass. Glass is fragile, much like this emotive and powerful novel. The Life of Glass is--both literally and metaphorically--truly forever.

Jillian Cantor instills words and unforgettable metaphors that ultimately help the novel grow as the plot is gently unraveled. The plot is smooth and fluent, and not at all lacking in vital detail. It enhances the utter importance of Melissa's turbulent, yet di
Feb 09, 2010 Alea rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-for-review
The Life of Glass is one of those books, one of those books that encompasses the whole high school/growing up experience and in my opinion the author does it beautifully.

At first glance I thought the book was going to be mostly about Melissa dealing with her dad's death and all the other things being sort of secondary plots but turns out her father's death was sort of the map that she experienced everything else on and it came together so perfectly. Melissa reads from her father's journal when s
Feb 09, 2010 CorLostForWords rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. It was written beautifully; the words just dance across the page and it slowly tells the story of a girl, Melissa, who has lost her father to cancer. It tells us of how she deals, or doesn't deal with his death, and how she maintains friendships with those around her. A few things fell flat for me though. I can't imagine her mother would be dating so soon after losing her husband--she's dating a year later. The author never expands on how it really impacts Melissa and ...more
Dec 31, 2009 Lauren rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Last year a little debut called The September Sisters took a place in my heart and The Life of Glass continued to do the same.

I can't even begin to describe how much I absolutely loved this book of love, loss, and moving on, because I don't think my words could ever do it enough justice.

The one thing I absolutely love about Jillian Cantor's books is that she takes a topic so simple that you worry for a moment that it'll provide to be dull, but instead proves to be complex and enjoyable with he
Liza Wiemer
Mar 07, 2010 Liza Wiemer rated it it was amazing
Jillian Cantor has a way of capturing the voice of teens and adults alike. Real experiences, heartbreak, survival, and tons of fascinating facts in this journey of life, death, love, family, and friendship. The characters in this novel will stay with you long after you finish the last page. They could be your neighbors, friends, sisters, mother, or father. I highly commend Jillian for doing an outstanding job portraying a-year-in-the-life in such a vivid, heartfelt manner! This novel leaves you ...more
Jan 10, 2013 Kristina rated it it was ok
I don't know what exactly I was expecting from this book. It read very slow, and I nearly gave up on it about halfway through. It just seemed like nothing was really happening, and I still don't know what exactly I'm supposed to take from it. I think that I expected the story to include more of the main character: Melissa, figuring out more about her father and his secrets. While there was a bit of that, it just seemed like we followed a very clueless Melissa through her drab and boring life. I ...more
Jan 26, 2010 Kristen rated it it was amazing
Melissa's father died nearly two years ago in April. The last words he spoke were spoken to her and involved a small piece of glass she found in The Wash - a nearby dried up riverbed. Now her life is changing. A new girl moves into town - Courtney and becomes a close friend. The only problem - she likes Melissa's best friend Ryan and he's a bit taken with her as well. Her mother is now dating again and the guy may be younger but her mother seems to be taken with the man. Melissa's older sister ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jaglvr for

THE LIFE OF GLASS is a coming-of-age story of a high school freshman dealing with the death of her father and her troubling feelings for her best friend.

Melissa McAllister is the smart one. She spent lots of time with her father, who shared interesting facts and tidbits with her. But her father has died of cancer, leaving behind his journal of thoughts and findings. It's to this journal that Melissa turns to when she needs to keep her father close.

When her
Steph Su
Feb 06, 2010 Steph Su rated it really liked it
Shelves: dead-relatives
With all the contemporary YA fiction out there, it’s become increasingly harder to find one that stands out. Fortunately, there is one in THE LIFE OF GLASS. Easily readable and touching, Jillian Cantor’s second book is a must-read for fans of Sarah Dessen.

The first thing one notices when reading THE LIFE OF GLASS is the ease and confidence with which Jillian Cantor writes Melissa’s voice. Melissa feels like a completely real high school freshman girl: some situations make her uncomfortable, and
Haley Mathiot
Mar 25, 2010 Haley Mathiot rated it really liked it
Melissa’s father died almost two years ago. She has been struggling, but is surviving with the help of her best friend Ryan. But through a series of events, her world gets turned upside down. A new girl comes to school and befriends her immediately, for some unknown reason. Ryan gets a girlfriend. Melissa’s mom is dating some guy. Ashley, her older sister, is… well just being an annoying older sister with problems. And in the middle of it all, Melissa still has unsolved mysteries about her ...more
Princess Bookie
Mar 02, 2010 Princess Bookie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read2010
Taken from

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed reading this book! This is such a complex yet simple book, you'll have to read the book to totally understand what I mean. We meet Melissa who is just your average teenage girl. She watched her father wither away day by day and pass away finally. It happened in the beginning of the book so you feel the heartbreak right away. I think I could relate to her in so many ways. My father also passed away when I was 13 years old, so I knew exact
Jenni Frencham
Apr 01, 2014 Jenni Frencham rated it did not like it
This was quite possibly the most boring YA book I've ever read. The MC's dad recently died, and she lives with her mom and her older sister. Yep, that's about it. Mom starts dating, and the girls aren't sure what they think of mom's boyfriend. The girls are both in high school, but apparently the MC doesn't have any emotions, because this book flatlines pretty early on and doesn't revive. Also, the MC's biology class spends AN ENTIRE SEMESTER dissecting on frog. For one class period, their ...more
Mar 03, 2016 Leslie rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Really impressed with this book. A lot of books try this story, but I think this one got it right. I didn't feel like the story was rushed. It wasn't entirely predictable. The plot had lots of development and twists that kept me interested and believable characters that weren't flat. Rarely are people either good or bad, and I felt this did a good job of representing that. Melissa as a character grows with the people around her. She's realistic. I guess I've just been burnt out on similar ...more
Apr 17, 2010 Chelsea rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. Melissa McAllister's father died of cancer two years ago, and she still is having a hard time. Then she starts her first year of high school, and her best friend Ryan gets a new girlfriend. Courtney, the girlfriend, acts like Melissa's friend, but tries to end Melissa's and Ryan's friendship.

This book is great because it has a hint of everything. Romance, comedy, drama, mystery, and more. I liked it more than I expected to. The ending really made me smile though, it wa
Mar 21, 2010 Amanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This book is a rather enjoyable coming of age story. It follows the main character, Melissa, through her first year of high school. As Melissa fumbles her way through high school with no help from her older sister, she looks to her deceased father's journal for guidance. Melissa's journey through the novel has many similarities to the "typical" high school experience, so quite a few people will be able to relate to it.
Gabrielle Bernal
Oct 17, 2016 Gabrielle Bernal rated it really liked it
What would you do if all that remained of your father after he passed was a journal that never truly ended? Melissa, the main character in the Life of Glass; faces this task of piecing together the clues from her father’s journal in attempts to keep her father’s presence around. The Life of Glass is a inspiring story and truly captivating. The book deals with the ups and downs of life and the struggles that we all face. The Life of Glass is a realistic fiction novel that can truly relate to the ...more
Karen Keyte
Aug 10, 2011 Karen Keyte rated it really liked it

“The last thing my father ever told me was that it takes glass a million years to decay. ... It was amazing, the way humans were just flesh and bones, and so susceptible to being broken down into so much less than that, into shadows and old men and hospice-bed figures, and yet glass could stay whole for so long.” - Melissa McAllister

Exactly one year, two months and three weeks before Melissa McAllister’s first day of high school, her beloved father died of cancer. It is an event she still strugg
Feb 19, 2010 Katie rated it really liked it
The Life Of Glass is Jillian Cantor's second novel and after reading this one I seriously need to check out the first. The Life Of Glass took a little getting into but once I did the writing and the story just blew me away.

Melissa McCallister is starting high school. For most people it's a time of nerves but also of excitement. Not for Melissa. For her it's all nerves. It's been a year since her father died and she still hasn't really moved on with her life. She has one real friend, Ryan, and hi
Emily Green
Nov 13, 2013 Emily Green rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Draganal lunic
Dec 16, 2010 Draganal lunic rated it it was amazing
I read a book called The Life of Glass by: Cantor, Jillian. The book is about a girl whose father dies of lung cancer. The main character’s name is Mellissa. Mellissa’s father dies but the last thing he tells her is that it takes a million years for glass to decay. In school Mellissa isn’t popular even though her sister is the most populist person in the school. Mellissa only has one friend until a new girl comes to town. When this girl comes to Mellissa’s school Mellissa’s life gets better and ...more
Rianna Grant
Feb 02, 2016 Rianna Grant rated it it was amazing
Life of Glass is such a great book, it follows a girl, Melissa. Her father had passed. The last conversation they had together was one about this piece of glass Melissa had found, her father had said, the night before he passed that that piece of glass would take 1000 years to decay, longer than a human’s lifetime…

It had been over a year since her father died, but Melissa still misse him. Having his journal full of unusual facts and quotes about love, her memories of him, and the piece of rainb
I enjoyed this one! It was sweet and touching, and kept my interest enough to finish in 2 sittings.

As is quite popular with many YA books, the main character, Melissa, is dealing with the loss of her father. I especially loved all the flashbacks, and it made me feel so sorry for all the time she won't get to share with him. Her "too perfect" mom and sister were cliched, and yet it didn't bother me. It seemed like a plausible family dynamic, and the author did a great job showing both flaws and s
Daisy Contreras
Jul 17, 2010 Daisy Contreras rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jenny Renee
Oct 15, 2010 Jenny Renee rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-books
I have wanted to read this book for a while and was so excited when I saw it at my library. It was definitely not what I expected; I thought it was going to be really sad (because of Melissa's father’s death) but it was more focused on moving on, with a little romance thrown in from time to time. I loved the little facts that were throughout the book from Melissa's deceased father, they really added substance to this book and I could really relate to Melissa. Her best friend Ryan was so ...more
Nov 25, 2010 Gabry rated it liked it
When her father talks about the life of glass, I found it really interesting. The things that her father knew were very unique to read so it was a plus when reading this book. It's a nice coming of age story, apart from the fact that Melissa is slowly getting over her grief.

This book had a lot of stories going on, so the characters very developed because you got to hear about Ryan's, Ashley's, and Courtney's story so it's interesting. The story also broke away from what you see from the person a
Aug 11, 2011 Peony rated it really liked it
Shelves: 11th-grade
Melissa McAllister, a teenage girl, struggles to live a normal life.
Her dad had cancer, and her grandmother has memory loss. While her life was going down the drain, she looked forward to riding her bike down to the river along with her guy best friend, Ryan. But everything changed after her father had died. A new girl, Courtney, was attending her school, and her guy best friend started to hang out with her less because of Courtney. Her sister has a new boyfriend that is an alcoholic and now h
Apr 09, 2011 Kristina rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010, read-in-2011
Ok, first let me get this off my chest. This book dragged on forever. And another thing, what's up with the Sally Bedford situation? I felt like she was trying to dig too deep into her late dad's past. If someone dies you go through a period off grief, you suddenly want to trespass their own lives, even if they are dead. You want to remember them for who they were and not their past "relationships."

Courtney and Melissa are the best of friends at the beginning of the book, they paint their toe
 Imani ♥ ☮
This wasn't all that bad, if I'm to be honest. This is the story of Melissa, a freshman whose father has died of cancer. As she navigates her way through her first year of high school she:

* Finishes her late father's journal.

* Begins to be jealous of her older, pretty, popular sister, Ashley

* Makes "friends" with a new, pretty girl named Courtney

* Becomes jealous of this Courtney girl when she begins to date her best friend, Ryan.

* Witnesses her mother getting a new boyfriend

There's more but the
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Jillian Cantor has a BA in English from Penn State University and an MFA from The University of Arizona. She is the author of award-winning novels for teens and adults including the critically acclaimed MARGOT, which was a Library Reads pick for September 2013 and also featured in O the Oprah Magazine, People, Ladies Home Journal, and Her most recent book for teens, SEARCHING FOR SKY, ...more
More about Jillian Cantor...

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“Whereas it was so hard for people to break, but we could get sick or die in what seemed like a matter of seconds.” 3 likes
“It was crazy the way I could break this glass, shatter it so quickly with just one false move, but I could not kill it, not really, not for a million years.” 1 likes
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