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The Warden's Daughter

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  2,495 ratings  ·  490 reviews
From Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli (Maniac Magee, Stargirl) comes the "moving and memorable" (Kirkus Reviews, starred) story of a girl searching for happiness inside the walls of a prison.

Cammie O'Reilly lives at the Hancock County Prison--not as a prisoner, she's the warden's daughter. She spends the mornings hanging out with shoplifters and reformed arsonists in the
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Published January 3rd 2017 by Listening Library
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Mandy Kirkendall
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
Oh, this problematic book.

I knew we were not going to get along from the moment Boo Boo appeared in the story. What a shameful caricature she is. From the moment she "came bounding and laughing across the yard like a huge denim beach ball," I braced myself for the cringing relationship that played out just as I suspected: the "jolly" black woman who is entirely charmed by the spoiled, kind-of-terrible white girl protagonist, for... absolutely no reason? She promises Cammie every day that the fi
“The Warden’s Daughter” is one of the best historical literary young-adult novels I have ever read. I couldn’t put it down.

There are some flaws in the novel, with a child protagonist who is extremely limited in her view of others in the world. However, these flaws are intentional and acknowledged by the adult narrator saying they come from memory and may not even be in the correct order. I love that the big stories of the day were related only as to how they affected Cammie. Isn’t that how most
Nancy Kotkin
This latest novel from Newbery-winning author Jerry Spinelli has some issues. First, a sixteen-year-old girl is found murdered in the fictional small town of Two Mills, yet it isn't ever mentioned until Chatper 15 (pg 69). Then there's the obsession with American Bandstand, which seems to evaporate shortly after Reggie appears on the show; if anything, her successful performance should have increased her passion for the show.

I also have some credibility issues with the set-up. There is no way an
Mar 07, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I gave this one a good effort but finally quit after 140 pages. It was just so BORING. And the main character, Cammie, was horribly unlikeable. I understand that not all characters have to be likable, but in the absence of it I usually look for them to be relatable or at least understandable. She was none of these things for me. I honestly have no idea what was driving her or the plot for the 140 pages that I read. The other characters all suffer from the same lack of good writing. I was expecti ...more
Kelly Gunderman
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Check out this and other reviews (and a really cool video about the book!) on my young adult book blog, Here's to Happy Endings!

Stargirl was one of my favorite (if not favorite favorite) book that I've read, and I read that one when it first came out in 2000. I was eleven, and made me fall in love with reading. Because that book has always had a special place in my heart, I was super excited to read The Warden's Daughter, by the same amazing author, Jerry Spinelli. I hoped that it would have all
Dec 21, 2016 rated it liked it
The Warden's Daughter
By: Jerry Spinelli

I received an e-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

I really wanted to love this book. Jerry Spinelli is an author always worth reading. This book too is worth the time it just isn't Mr. Spinelli at his best. The characters and plot were perhaps a bit sloppy.

The story centers around and is narrated by Cammie, a 12-year-old girl who lives with her warden farther. We learn fairly early on that Cammie's mom was hit and killed by a milk tru
Tena Edlin
Oh, what a beautiful book. I had tears so many times today as I read. The writing is divine, and the whole thing has so much feeling. My heart broke for poor Cammie all through the book. She was so full of hurt and had no way to fix it, at least no way that she could see. But this book says it best... "All will be revealed." Loved it.

Want a taste of the writing? Here is the description of the fireworks: "Without warning came a deep, concussive thump and a whistling into the night, a plasticky cr
Alise  (Readers in Wonderland)
A fond memory of mine in middle school was when my English teacher read us chapters of STARGIRL by Jerry Spinelli every day. STARGIRL was an interesting, unique read that made me think, and THE WARDEN’S DAUGHTER affected me similarly.

Cammie, the main character, is not exactly easy to get along with but she definitely grows on you. Once you find out more about her story I think everyone could manage to sympathize with her a bit. The other characters were a little harder to connect with, but it’s
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think my heart might explode into bits, this book was so incredibly moving.

Spinelli outdoes himself with this exquisite blend of historical fiction, family drama, and mystery.

Cammie is a delight from the first page, with her quippy wit and bravery, she steals the show and it is easy for the ready to jump right into her heart and want what she wants.

The plot is a lovely meandering of twists and turns and the reader begins to long for answers in much the same way that Cammie is searching....f
Jean Beach
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved Connie

She made me laugh she made me cry. Rich characters that brought me to tears on more than one occasion
Jan 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: children
Insanely unrealistic and problematic for many, many reasons, not least the unlikeliness of Cammie's complete self awareness at every step. Also, her supposedly loving father is completely absent for most of the story. And Eloda's bit at the end? And the granddaughter? UGH, all of it. This book is librarian bait, for adults nostalgic for childhood and the 50s, not for actual children. Eyerolls all around.
Laura Harrison
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I promised a review of The Warden's Daughter quite some time ago. When you are an avid reader you come to adore certain writer's. I heart Jerry Spinelli big time. Every time he has a new release I am darn near giddy. Giving an author you love a less than perfect review is always an incredibly hard thing to do. Especially if you have met him or her. Considering how author's are so accessible these days or if you are in the industry in some capacity there is a pretty good chance you have. But it a ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think I need to stop reading Jerry Spinelli books, or at least these latest ones he's writing. I keep hoping with each new book that he's going to find the magic again and give the readers the same wonderful characters and writing we found in some of my favorites like Maniac McGee, Stargirl, Loser, and Jake and Lily. So yeah, I'm disappointed. I honestly don't ever know where to begin with this book, so I won't. I'll just say that I couldn't tolerate the main character, seriously didn't care f ...more
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great story with endearing characters from Jerry Spinelli. Though set in 1950s, this is a story that will resonate with a lot of kids--it's essentially about dealing with tragedy and grief and what can happen to a person if those things aren't dealt with. The prison setting is original and interesting, and several side characters (Eloda, Boo Boo, Reggie) are just as developed and likable as our narrator, Cammie. The short chapters will appeal to my middle graders, as well, and for a hist ...more
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Brian
Cover Story: Robert Stroud
Drinking Buddy: Guy Fawkes
Testosterone Estrogen Level: Papillon
Talky Talk: Chief Bromden
Bonus Factors: Prison, 1950s
Bromance Status: Abbé Faria

Read the full book report here.
I just didn't really care for this book. Not sure if it was the narrator, but I didn't like the characters very much.
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-books
Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli tells the story of a girl who lost her mother as an infant and grew up as the daughter of a prison warden. Cammie isn’t a girl who is silly and lots of fun. In fact, she is fast moving and fast talking, exactly why she has the nickname Cannonball Cammie. Cammie is actually angry most of the time. Her best friend has developed faster and seems to be 17 instead of 13 sometimes. She wants to get on Bandstand and be famous. Cammie though is more interested in riding h ...more
Ms. Yingling
E ARC provided by the publisher

Cammie lives in an apartment in a prison in 1959 because her father is the warden there. Her mother died in a car accident when Cammie was a baby-- her mother's last act was pushing the stroller Cammie was in away from the car that hit her. A series of "hands" have helped raise Cammie, and the latest, Eloda, is someone to whom she has warmed. Approaching her teen years, Cammie longs for a mother figure in her life, since she sees her father as distant and marginall
Such a lovely book reminds me of Manic Magee, very lyrical. Becuase it is framed as an adult looking back, pushes the boundaries of children's lit but does an amazing job.
Jessica King
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
I'm not going to summarize the story here. I'm going to point out the one big problem.

SO to save a girl whose mother died, you have to show her no emotion and NOT give her the love she's so desperately looking for? I agree, sometimes it's the best and hardest to let someone (a child) figure things out for themselves, but by showing no empathy? And no discipline? You don't want to teach her that her pain doesn't give her the right to cause other people pain? Isn't that the actual underlying probl
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Cammie, the warden’s daughter, lives with her dad in an apartment that is part of the prison he commands.

Her mother was killed in an accident at a nearby intersection when Cammie was a baby; a truck turned the corner as her mom was crossing the street pushing Cammie in her baby carriage. Her mom’s last act was to push the baby carriage out of the way before the truck hit her and killed her.

And that is Cammie’s dilemma, for she lives in a prison made of stone to be sure, but she also is a prison
Leonard Kim
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Books like this have been done before: a girl coming to terms with the loss of her mother, even the prison setting. Still, Spinelli is a very good writer.
I don't think master storyteller Jerry Spinelli has ever written a book that I didn't like, and this one is no exception. The daughter of the warden, Cammie O'Reilly lives in an apartment above the Hancock County Prison in Two Mills, Pennsylvania. Although she dearly loves her father, Cammie misses her mother who died when she was very young. Readers will recognize her desire for a mother in how she behaves toward several of the women prisoners, particularly Eloda who is the family's housekeeper ...more
I'm torn on how to review this one. It's definitely a book mean to win awards (and it probably will/has). It's lyrical and poetic and told from a limited point of view. And it's certainly not something that most kids will pick up unless it's assigned to them. It's heavy and scary in parts and not necessarily written "for" kids.

But darn it... I actually liked it. I didn't think I would in the end.

I did get mad when Cammie's friend Reggie started fangirling after the guy who was charged with kille
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Initially, I was thinking of giving this a three. But the characters got into my head and the story was so vivid a three wasn't fair. I thought about this book for days after finishing. Thought about what it really would be like being raised above a prison. How having female inmates as friends could mess with a little girl's mind. Then wondering if all of that gave her greater insight to the human heart than most adults have? I felt for her and her desperate need for a mother figure. Her worries ...more
I listened to this book. I don't know if I would have read it. I seem to be getting particular about the way a story starts, and this one did not immediately draw me in. But the reader, Carrington McDuffie, with her smoky almost male-sounding voice DID begin to draw me in. The story takes place in 1959 in Brooklyn New York, where Cammie is being raised by her single dad, who happens to be the warden of the county jail. This is the story of a motherless girl during the summer before seventh grade ...more
Tina Dalton
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: family, juv-fiction
This is a beautiful book about a girl on the brink of her teen years. Cammie lives at a prison with her father, the warden. She's trying to fill the mother-shaped hole in her life with friendships she's developed with prisoners. The story takes place in the 1950s. Cammie is an unhappy, firecracker of a girl who has both epic highs and dark, dark lows. Its a touching tale of love and family.

She's retelling the story as a grandmother, of the year she finally allowed herself to mourn the loss of he
Mortisha Cassavetes
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
What a cute story. I just loved it. This book is set in the 1950's and it follows a little girl named Cammie who is the warden's daughter and lives in the Hancock County Prison. She likes to go into the yard and talk with the female prisoners as well as spending time with her friends. Cammie lost her mom when she was a baby and is in need for a mother's affection so she tries to find it in the trust prisoner that works in her home as the housekeeper. I don't want to go into the story more as to ...more
Prince William Public Library System
Camille O’Reilly is trapped in a figurative prison of grief and anger over her mother’s accidental death saving Camille as an infant. Cammie is also bridging the perilous gap between childhood and adolescence while craving a “real live mother to beg and pester like all the other kids” or at least one who would pay attention to her. Growing up adjacent to a Hancock County Prison where her Father is a warden, Cammie is drawn to several mother figures via the female prisoners and begins to “auditio ...more
Thomas Bell
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a good, well-written book. It definitely had its share of problems, but I still think the book is a high 3.5 star book, worthy of being rounded up to 4 stars.

The problem many people find with the book is the missed opportunity to talk about race relations during the late 50's. However, doing so would detract from what the author wanted to talk about, namely the relationships between Cammie (the warden's daughter) and her father (the warden), some lady prisoners and her friends
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Mock Newbery 2019: March Read - The Wardens Daughter 54 286 Aug 16, 2017 08:24AM  
When Jerry Spinelli was a kid, he wanted to grow up to be either a cowboy or a baseball player. Lucky for us he became a writer instead.

He grew up in rural Pennsylvania and went to college at Gettysburg College and Johns Hopkins University. He has published more than 25 books and has six children and 16 grandchildren.
Jerry Spinelli began writing when he was 16 — not much older than the hero of his
“There was a sense that things - words, feelings, laughs - were forever brawling inside her to be the first one out. Now, beside me, I sensed... emptiness. Emptiness in such a person is not nothing, is not small. It is enormous." -Cammie” 1 likes
“When you're inside your own story, you don't see things like a reader. You don't see your life in tidy paragraphs and chapters.” 0 likes
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