Thursday, February 4, 2010

Review: The Life of Glass by Jillian Cantor

Tags: YA, death, grief, love, beauty

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


14-year-old Melissa’s life has not been easy after the death of her father almost two years ago. Her older and more glamorous sister Ashley pretends they’re not related, their mother is already dating someone new, and Melissa’s best friend Ryan has been acting stupid over the gorgeous new girl, Courtney.

Melissa often turns to her father’s journals, reading them for a sliver of his thoughts and wisdom. But as her freshman year progresses, she begins to learn that people, even those who are dead, can change over time, including herself.


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 when all else fails, she tends to close into herself, but her eyes, ears, and—most importantly, the element that is often missing in realistic YA fiction—brain are constantly open, observing and learning from the world around her. If you ever felt shy, awkward, or confused as a freshman, then you’ll be able to relate to Melissa.

Actually, all of the characters in this book are spectacularly written. All of them run the risk of falling into “types”: Courtney the manipulative and fake new girl, Ashley the bitchy older sister, and so on. Yet not one of them, including the most minor of minor characters, is flat. Each character leaps off the page and confidently takes his or her spot on center stage when it is his or her turn. It made reading THE LIFE OF GLASS hugely enjoyable.

Admittedly the post-death coming-of-age plot is a bit tired, but Jillian’s skills as a writer make sure that readers will never feel the need to put this book down. Don’t underestimate this unassuming book or you’ll regret it!

Similar Authors
Sarah Dessen

Writing: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Plot: 4/5

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Cover discussion: 4.5 out of 5 - Don't you just love this cover? It's beautiful and delicate, yet powerful. I love it.

HarperTeen / Feb. 9, 2010 / Hardcover / 352pp. / $16.99

Sent to me for a blog tour from the lovely ladies at Blue Slip Media--thanks, B and S!

Click on for a guest blog post from Jillian herself, plus giveaway information!


  1. If you say this is a must read for Dessen fans then I am adding to my list. Loved the review

  2. Great review! I know it is almost sacrilegious but I have never read a Dessen book! This one sounds really good though!

  3. What a great review! I absolutely love the way you described the character development.

  4. Great review. You certainly leave me wanting to read it.

  5. I'd never even heard of this one. Thanks, Steph!

  6. This book sounds wonderful, and I agree, the cover is great!

  7. Ooh, I love Sarah Dessen, so I'll have to check this one out. Thanks for the review!


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