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The Glass Town Game

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  1,216 ratings  ·  332 reviews
Charlotte and Emily must enter a fantasy world that they invented in order to rescue their siblings in this adventurous and fiercely intelligent novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.

Inside a small Yorkshire parsonage, Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne Brontë have invented a game called Gla
Kindle Edition, 544 pages
Published September 5th 2017 by Simon & Schuster
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Average rating 3.67  · 
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 ·  1,216 ratings  ·  332 reviews

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Emily May
Sep 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, arc, childrens, 2017
Because this is a Valente book, the writing is stunning. And, because this is a Valente book, The Glass Town Game is very... odd. I'm rounding up to three stars for this combination of one of today's best fantasy authors and the juvenilia of some of my favourite authors of all time, but I struggle to know who to recommend it to.

The Glass Town Game goes back to the childhood of the four Bronte children - Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne - and explores their inner world in a strange tale that b
Mar 28, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Valente could write the backs of ketchup bottles and I'd read them. ...more
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thought experiment: What would it be like to transport a handful of Regency-Era children from their playtime expositions into a very real and rich toyland stolen right out of their own noggins like Athena from Zeus's brow?

Add an amazingly rich assortment of famous real and imaginary personages of the time period showing up as children's characters their own age but as dolls, luggage, rags, pins, buttons, or ANYTHING that might be found in the playroom, stir, give vivid life, and then turn it int
Mar 14, 2021 rated it it was ok
Reading Catherynne Valente, I have felt many things: beguiled, repulsed, bewildered. This is the first book of hers in which I have felt bored.

The Glass Town Game is a sort of children's portal fantasy in which the four Bronte siblings - Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne - are whisked away from the grim reality of boarding school into a world that seems to have been shaped by their own imaginations. The wooden soldiers they played with are life-sized and alive in Glass Town, the stalwart tro
I loved the atmosphere and the language, but this book was altogether too long! I empathized with the four girls at their fears and dreams, and frequently felt Branwell was a little snot. I, however, just kind of ran out of gas for this story about 200 pages in, and felt like I was heaving each wonderful description over my shoulder just so I could get to the plot. There were several chapters where I struggled to sustain my interest, and took to skimming my way through the remaining 300 or so pa ...more
Jan 17, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This copy is an uncorrected proof Advanced Readers Copy of the hardcover edition.
Katie Lumsden
Dec 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable read - fun, entertaining, and filled with Brontë references.
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book by Catherynne Valente is for younger readers. Supposedly. One of the great things about this author is that she doesn't let it show because she knows that little readers are just as smart and deserving of a good tale and complex characters as big readers are.

We follow Charlotte, Bran(well), Emily and Anne. Yep, the Bronte siblings. Their two oldest siblings, Maria and Elizabeth, have died not too long ago, as has their mother. Now, their father wants to send Charlotte and Emily off to
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, own, middle-grade
The cleverness of this! I don't know if kids would get a lot of it, I really feel like it was written for the Bronte-Loving Inner Child. The jokes and puns - they go incognito to the Wildfell BALL, meet a woman made of gray chalkboards who is named Agnes- had me laughing out loud, but I know my kids wouldn't get it. They would, however, enjoy the adventure of the story, and the beautiful and strange imagery! ...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

As a relative newcomer to Catherynne M. Valente, having only read my first book by her earlier this year, I’ve grown increasingly curious about her other work especially her Middle Grade/Children’s projects. And so when the opportunity to read The Glass Town Game came to me, it sounded like it could be the perfect place to start.

Inspired by the fantastical stories and worlds created by the Brontë siblings as children, this
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The Glass Town Game feels a little like Fairyland-lite. Based on the childhood games and stories of the Brontes, including Branwell, Valente delivers another kind of portal fantasy in which the Brontes find themselves in the middle of their own imagined world. The four are generally fun to follow, though Branwell is rather annoying (probably quite in line with the real Branwell). It’s all very whimsical and charming, but the Fairyland books are better at that, so it didn’t quite work for me; I’v ...more
Acacia Ives
Stayed up all night and read it straight through!
The Library Lady
There is something in this woman's writing that makes me queasy. I find everything she writes to be precious to the point of twee. Her earlier stuff was marketed as YA, but this 500+ page attack on the Brontes is being labeled as, I guess, fiction for "older elementary students."

Now maybe there are some rare, brilliant beyond their years children who will read a 500+ page book that isn't by J.K Rowling. Perhaps they are the same ones who will know all about the Brontes, their childhood play with
Lenna • Sugar Dusted Pages
So I accidentally fell head-over-heels in love with this book.

Recently I read The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Valente, and I thought it was pretty much perfect, (as you can see in this casually self-promoted review, if you would like.) Well. This one was even better, which is saying a lot.
5 Things About The Glass Town Game

1. The writing is gorgeous. I'm convinced it is actually made out of magic and I would like to go live in it, thank you. I love Valente's
I expected this to be something other than what it was. That was difficult to overlook, but I do have some other complaints about TGTG. My main ones surround the question: who was the target audience? The vocabulary and imagery were almost too complex for me, an adult. I don't think many middle grade readers would be able to easily read this book. Many of the Brontë references in here are only apparent to those who have already read the Brontës' works, which aren't many people under the age of 1 ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
This is one of those wonderful children's books that adults can enjoy even more than children because of the backstory. The four Bronte children invent a game called Glass Town in which their toy soldiers fight against Napoleon. Unexpectedly, the children find themselves in a real Glass Town, which is much like their own creation, though some things are oddly different. Then two of the children are taken captive by Napoleon's men, and the other two much find their siblings before it is too late. ...more
L.S. Popovich
Sep 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2019, ya
3.5 stars.
C. M. Valente does a fair impression of a British writer. Her humor (chiefly wry sarcasm) is sophisticated and literary as usual. Her imagery is vivid and playful. Her imagination is inexhaustible.

I found myself struggling to justify the setting. You have Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne Brontë as the protagonists, underaged, with guest appearances from Byron, Mary Shelley, P. B. Shelley and others. Interesting puns and goofy side characters a la Alice in Wonderland, and a
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Two stars - "it was ok." Maybe 2.5. I really wanted to like this book, since I love the Brontes, I've read the biography, I wrote essays about them in high school and college, I've read Charlotte's juvenilia and Emily's poems. But I did not like the writing style. It was way too full of puns that form the basis of how this magical world works, and made up words so strange I had to pause to even figure out how to think the words. Some other reviewers have expressed they didn't like it but that ma ...more
Much like her The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making series, Glass Town is full of whimsy. And there's just the right amount of literary nose tapping for those of us who know our British lit, while still being approachable to middle graders not yet familiar with the Brontes, Lord Byron, or Jane Austen (all characters that appear). In Glass Town, the Brontes become sucked into their own recreation of the Napoleonic Wars, but now all their toy soldiers are real. And the ...more
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think the main problem in The Glass Town Game is that Valente couldn't decide whether to write a fantasy novel for adults or whimsical middle grade novel; the fantasy world that Brontë siblings created is incredible as its' own and now the novel is in the border of both age groups, making confusing. The imaginary and the word choices are incredibly complex, almost too complex for an adult reader to understand the world Valente has created. There are multiple Easter eggs for Brontë lovers to th ...more
Jan 16, 2017 marked it as dnf
This is definitely not something I ever thought I'd say about anything written by Catherynne Valente but... this one really wasn't for me. I got a solid third of the way through by sheer grit-teethed effort, and decided that her words didn't deserve an un-enthused reader.
Jenna (Falling Letters)
New middle grade by Valente? Okay, if you insist on twisting my arm so much, I'll read it. :P ...more
Mar 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book. I've finished it and I'm still not sure how I feel about it.

On the one hand, I love that it's based on the Brontë children. It's packed with cleverness out of the Brontës' juvenilia, and history, and just general creativity. I enjoyed many of the details, especially the names that came from the Brontë sisters' books, and even the former version of their last name, Brunty.

But on the other hand, the many, many details expanded this book to over 500 pages, 500 pages in which there are m
Ms. Yingling
Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

I was hoping that this would be a book that would make the Brontes appealing to a younger generation, but the language and general characterizations didn't quite work for me. I'm not seeing my readers putting up with Branwell or getting into the imaginary game.

That said, fantasy is a really hard sell in my library, and I have few students who like Little Women, much less the work on the Brontes. If you have students who have watched PBS' To Walk Invisible
Sep 25, 2020 rated it liked it
It was an alright story but I did found myself little disappointed
Sep 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This one took me longer to get through because I could only get it on audio CDs so could only listen to it when I was traveling in my vehicle because it’s just not practical at home. I did enjoy this and it kept me engaged trying to think how things were going to play out. There are some very nice quotes in the last chapter or two of the book and I want to look them up and see if I can paste them into here and edit the review later. Lots of good bits in this book.
Alyssa Nelson
Charlotte and Emily have to go back to school, and nobody is happy about it. Their older sisters died of an illness they caught from school and everyone’s worried that their group will continue to dwindle. Besides that, they’ll be separated from Branwell and Anne, and the games they play will have to be put on hold until they return. On their walk to the carriage that will take them to school, they stop off at the train station to see if they can see a train, and something amazing happens — a tr ...more
My favorite living author writing a story about my favorite historical authors. There are no words for how in I was from the word go.

And yet upon completing The Glass Town Game, I'm of two minds about it. I completely loved it. I have yet to read a Valente novel I didn't find beautiful and strange and compelling. And I've read the collected works of the Bronte sisters, watched documentaries, read biographies, wrote an undergraduate thesis. I love these women, and it gave me so much gratification
Kathleen Flynn
I salute the uncompromising strangeness of this book, which I can understand how people love.
Nonetheless I got to the 50% mark and decided to give up. It's very clever, but I somehow don't feel emotionally involved with the characters. Not sure what is at stake emotionally despite the direness of everything, and the decision to take turns with close third-person on all four Brontes was a gamble that did not pay off for me.
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
I loved the writing because, com'on, we're talking about Valente. The basic concept was adorable, like coming out straight from a childhood fairytale. The big problem with it was the fact that it was long, kinda boring after a while, maybe because there were thing that bored me down. I found myself skipping pages just to know how the kids were going to go back home.
A pity.
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Who is the right child for this book? 1 14 Sep 12, 2017 11:14AM  

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Catherynne M. Valente was born on Cinco de Mayo, 1979 in Seattle, WA, but grew up in in the wheatgrass paradise of Northern California. She graduated from high school at age 15, going on to UC San Diego and Edinburgh University, receiving her B.A. in Classics with an emphasis in Ancient Greek Linguistics. She then drifted away from her M.A. program and into a long residence in the concrete and cam ...more

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