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The Life of Glass

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  764 Ratings  ·  107 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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Jun 03, 2010 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)
Dec 19, 2009 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
Feb 02, 2010 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
Dec 19, 2009 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 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 Ashley ...more
May 20, 2009 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 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 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
Aug 11, 2009 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 A ...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
Draganal lunic
Dec 15, 2010 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
Steph Su
May 23, 2009 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
Aug 29, 2009 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 fathe ...more
Princess Bookie
Nov 12, 2009 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 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 assig ...more
Mar 15, 2010 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 storie ...more
Apr 17, 2010 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 15, 2010 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 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
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was fabulous. Heartwarming, and understandable, knowing disaster can strike. I could relate to this book because of school life, and how she missed her dad deeply. When I picked up the book, I was really excited to read it. I really wished the book could've gone on longer, I wanted to know what happened to her oh, so, perfect sister ashley, and how her mom was doing. I really wanted the story to never end. Although this book was perfect, I would've liked if there was more of a plot to ...more
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had a hard time falling in love with this book. I was hungover from the last book I read and the characters in this one were a little superficial to start off - I didn't really think about the fact that I was reading a book about a high school freshman...

But this book was really nice. After I sat it down for a day or two, once I picked it up again I kept finding myself retreating into it. Melissa became more and more sympathetic as the story went on and I found myself exactly where I wanted to
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Melissa is a high school freshman who struggles with the loss of her father and with her beautiful sister Ashley. Her best friend and neighbor Ryan starts seeing a new girl names Courtney, and Melissa starts dating Max, but in the end they realize that all along they only wanted each other. This story rings true in the descriptions of teenage life. It also helps us to understand what true love is.
Dec 02, 2017 rated it liked it
I don't know what to say about this book. It was decent, and I enjoyed it, but it didn't blow me away. Ms. Cantor has a poetic way with words that made it enjoyable, but I think if I had read this when I was little younger I would have had an easier time relating to the teen angst that's rampant throughout the book.
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I always like a book that is set in Phoenix or Arizona and this one does a lovely job setting up that background.
Megan DeWaal
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a good book, and event hough my favorite genre is fantasy, and this is realistic fiction, this was a really good book.
Janice R Morrison
Good read

This book reminded me of someone I knew. Compelling story about a dysfunctional family and how the children overcome adversity.
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing...the analogies are so subtle. Life is as fragile as glass and easily broken. Typical teenager angst and actions amid family setting.
Karen Keyte
Jan 24, 2010 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
May 20, 2009 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
Jul 07, 2013 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 hi ...more
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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 including the critically acclaimed THE HOURS COUNT & MARGOT. Her work has been translated into 10 languages, and has been featured as a Library Reads pick, and in People Magazine, O the Oprah Magazine, Glamour, and PopSugar among others. Up next: TH ...more
More about Jillian Cantor
“Whereas it was so hard for people to break, but we could get sick or die in what seemed like a matter of seconds.” 4 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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