Middle Grade Monday: Greenglass House


Title: Greenglass House
Author: Kate Milford
Publisher: Clarion Books, 2014. 375 pages.
Source: Library

Publisher's Summary:
A rambling old inn, a strange map, an attic packed with treasures, squabbling guests, theft, friendship, and an unusual haunting mark this smart middle grade mystery in the tradition of the Mysterious Benedict Society books and Blue Balliet's Chasing Vermeer series.

It's wintertime at Greenglass House. The creaky smuggler's inn is always quiet during this season, and twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeepers' adopted son, plans to spend his holidays relaxing. But on the first icy night of vacation, out of nowhere, the guest bell rings. Then rings again. And again. Soon Milo's home is bursting with odd, secretive guests, each one bearing a strange story that is somehow connected to the rambling old house. As objects go missing and tempers flare, Milo and Meddy, the cook's daughter, must decipher clues and untangle the web of deepening mysteries to discover the truth about Greenglass House-and themselves.

My Review: 
This definitely wasn't what I expected. I'm not sure just what I did expect, but this wasn't it. It was even less what I thought it was in the middle of the book. Probably the most telling thing I can say about it is that I was about 2/3 of the way through at bedtime, and ended up staying up rather late to finish it, because I just couldn't stop! It wasn't just that things got exciting, though they did. I also felt a strong need to find out just what was going on.

In addition to a story about family and friendship, and a mystery, this is a book that plays with the boundaries of reality. The time period is left deliberately vague; it is modern, but no one seems to have a cell phone. The location is likewise unknown, but we are on a river that harbors smugglers, but the smuggling seems to be in order to get around the greed of the sole purveyor of supplies in the region (this might be a nice way to make the smuggling less morally dubious for the sake of younger readers). The effect of all this vagueness is that the reader is perfectly positioned to believe whatever unfolds.

I did.

My Recommendation:
A good fun read, with a little bit of a serious side about family--what it is, and who is part of it. Milo's adoption has come to the forefront of his thinking, and that allows the reader to think about what it means to be adopted, and to have two families, even if you only know one of them. So I'll give this credit for being well-written, thought-provoking AND a lot of fun.

I am intrigued enough to want to read the sequel, though the blurb sounds kind of like a re-hash of the same story. I'm going to give Milford credit for being better than that, given the quality of this one.

FTC Disclosure: I checked Greenglass House out of my library, and received nothing from the writer or publisher for my honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."  


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