Girl Under Glass

Young Adult - Coming of Age
258 Pages
Reviewed on 04/10/2024
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jennie More for Readers' Favorite

Girl Under Glass by Ginny Rorby is the story of a thirteen-year-old girl living with her alcoholic mother and assuming adult responsibilities of caring for their home and managing the bills. From the get-go, the author depicts Kelsey as an outsider when she steals a flower for her mother, gets arrested, and the judge sentences her to community service instead of juvenile detention. The judge says that this is her last warning. When Kelsey meets the seemingly crazy old botanist, Hobby, whom the judge assigned her to help at his greenhouse for her community service, her life takes a turn. Kelsey is caught between Hobby's age-old wisdom about plants and the mumblings of a constantly drunken mother. Things can go either way for Kelsey, but she gets to choose.

Girl Under Glass by Ginny Rorby is an absorbing, heartwarming, inspirational, and beautifully written book. At every crossroad, I wondered what choice Kelsey would make because it could go either way. With everything counting against her, one almost expected her to make the wrong choice, but throughout this narrative, Kelsey surprised me. Kelsey’s character creates a lot of suspense throughout. Thoughtfully written and skilfully yet subtly delving into the deepest, rawest, and often conflicting emotions children have about their parents, Rorby developed a stunning narrative that captivated my attention. I could not wait to pick up where I left off. This book is undoubtedly one of the best I've read, and I can't wait to read more from this author.

Mimie Odigwe

Girl Under Glass by Ginny Rorby follows thirteen-year-old Kelsey McCully, who is struggling with an alcoholic mother and a shoplifting record. When Kelsey is arrested for shoplifting, she is sentenced to 300 hours of community service with a local botanist. Despite a rocky start, Kelsey soon develops a warm relationship with him, his cat, and an entire greenhouse of plants and discovers through science that plants can communicate. When a crime occurs at the greenhouse, it’s up to Kelsey to pay attention and let the plants expose the perpetrators. Girl Under Glass is a story of growth, loss, changing one’s path, and forming new relationships and friendships.

Girl Under Glass is a captivating story: I devoured it from cover to cover in one night. The author uses a great plot, complex, fleshed-out characters, and a rich writing style to craft a young adult novel that resonates with readers of all ages. With a steady narrative, Ginny Rorby beautifully sets the pace for the action and robbery, while also providing insightful backstory for the characters. The plot features fantastic characters like the loving and accepting Lauren and the eccentric, Einstein-like botanist Hobbes, and some characters that evoke mixed emotions, such as Kelsey’s mother, conquered by her addiction and neglect of her daughter. I particularly appreciated the exploration of experiments and science, illustrating how all living beings are interconnected and capable of communicating with each other. Additionally, this book touches on important social issues such as addiction, mental health, and the criminal justice system, sparking meaningful conversations and reflections. I highly recommend Girl Under Glass to anyone who appreciates a compelling read.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Girl Under Glass by Ginny Rorby is a heartwarming tale that tells the story of a juvenile delinquent who tries to curb her loneliness with petty crimes. Kelsey McCully doesn’t have the greatest life with a bipolar, alcoholic mother. When Kelsey is arrested for stealing a plant, she is given community service. She has to work for a botanist studying communication in plants. When the botanist is attacked and left for dead, Kelsey knows that there were witnesses to the crime – the plants – but how will she persuade the police of this? And how does she prove it?

Girl Under Glass by Ginny Rorby is a fascinating read. While it is a fantastic mystery story with a wholly unique plot, it is also a story of life, of the very real struggles that some children face as they grow up, especially those with less-than-ideal home lives. It deals with alcoholism and mental health issues sensitively but truthfully, highlighting the stark reality of living with illness, no matter what it is. This is a well-written story with a scientific element, and it will grip you from the first page. The characters are real people that most readers will relate to in one way or another, and the descriptive prose is easy to follow. The story has plenty of action, and you’ll be invested in the plot all the way through. This is one of the most inspirational stories I have ever read, proving that no matter what your upbringing, there is always something that can put you back on the right track in life. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I highly recommend it to teens and adults.