MMGM Review: Ghosts of Greenglass House, by Kate Milford (and a little bit about Greenglass House, too)
My dad used to say that the only good sequels were Star Wars and Indiana Jones. (Let me clarify that this was said before The Phantom Menace or The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Obviously.) I'd disagree, as some of my favorite books and movies are sequels. However, as good as sequels might be, reviews of sequels are doomed. How can I share, well, pretty much anything about a sequel without giving away the awesome twist of the original?
And that's my problem here. So I'm going to talk a little bit about Kate Milford's Greenglass House to convince you to read that first, and then I'll talk a little bit--you know, vaguely, about Ghosts of Greenglass House--which is, I should say, probably even better than the first.
In Greenglass House, we meet Milo Pine, a Chinese American boy whose parents own a wonderful inn called Greenglass House (surprise, right?), haven for guests of all kinds, even the smugglers who make their way through the coastal town of Nagspeake. When his normally quiet Christmas holidays are intruded upon by a number of mysterious guests who get snowed in at the hotel, it's all Milo can do not to completely lose his mind--but soon he realizes he'll have to solve a mystery before he can get the guests out of his hair. Each of the strangers shares a story as enigmatic as they are, and it's up to Milo and his friend Meddy to out the puzzle pieces together before a crime occurs.
This was my original Goodreads review, enigmatic in and of itself: "At first I really, really liked it. Then 2 chapters from the end I absolutely loved it. No spoilers here, though!"
So you see, even then I was worried about spoilers. I'm a pretty perspicacious reader, so when a big twist of a story is a total shock to me, I'm not about to ruin it for anyone else.
Therefore, to avoid plot in general, allow me to share some other things you might love about Greenglass House AND Ghosts of Greenglass House:
--Setting. The Greenglass House Inn is a perfect fictional setting to fall into on a cold winter's day, which we've had plenty of lately. Kate Milford created such a rich history around the place, and such clear descriptions of the inn's beautiful stained glass windows and cozy surroundings that you'll wish you could book a vacation there.
--Characters. SO wonderful and quirky, on one hand. So three-dimensional and real on the other.
--Family. I LOVE Milo's parents. There need to be more nuanced, honest representations of adoptive families like this one.
--Twisty-turny plotting. And this is where Ghosts of Greenglass House surpassed its sister story. But I can't tell you about it without ruining everything.
You should probably just check both of them out of the library, take a weekend off, get a stash of hot cocoa and have a nice read-in. You won't regret it.
To read more Marvelous Middle Grade Monday reviews, check out the list on Greg Pattridge's blog.