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The Glass Town Game
Cover of The Glass Town Game
The Glass Town Game
Parents' Choice Gold Award Winner
A Publishers Weekly Best Middle Grade Book of 2017

Charlotte and Emily must enter a fantasy world that they invented in order to rescue their siblings in this adventurous and fiercely intelligent novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.
Inside a small Yorkshire parsonage, Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne Brontë have invented a game called Glass Town, where their toy soldiers fight Napoleon and no one dies. This make-believe land helps the four escape from a harsh reality: Charlotte and Emily are being sent away to a dangerous boarding school, a school they might not return from. But on this Beastliest Day, the day Anne and Branwell walk their sisters to the train station, something incredible happens: the train whisks them all away to a real Glass Town, and the children trade the moors for a wonderland all their own.

This is their Glass Town, exactly like they envisioned it...almost. They certainly never gave Napoleon a fire-breathing porcelain rooster instead of a horse. And their soldiers can die; wars are fought over the potion that raises the dead, a potion Anne would very much like to bring back to England. But when Anne and Branwell are kidnapped, Charlotte and Emily must find a way to save their siblings. Can two English girls stand against Napoleon's armies, especially now that he has a new weapon from the real world? And if he escapes Glass Town, will England ever be safe again?

Together the Brontë siblings must battle with a world of their own creation if they are to make it back to England alive in this magical celebration of authorship, creativity, and classic literature from award-winning author Catherynne M. Valente.
Parents' Choice Gold Award Winner
A Publishers Weekly Best Middle Grade Book of 2017

Charlotte and Emily must enter a fantasy world that they invented in order to rescue their siblings in this adventurous and fiercely intelligent novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.
Inside a small Yorkshire parsonage, Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne Brontë have invented a game called Glass Town, where their toy soldiers fight Napoleon and no one dies. This make-believe land helps the four escape from a harsh reality: Charlotte and Emily are being sent away to a dangerous boarding school, a school they might not return from. But on this Beastliest Day, the day Anne and Branwell walk their sisters to the train station, something incredible happens: the train whisks them all away to a real Glass Town, and the children trade the moors for a wonderland all their own.

This is their Glass Town, exactly like they envisioned it...almost. They certainly never gave Napoleon a fire-breathing porcelain rooster instead of a horse. And their soldiers can die; wars are fought over the potion that raises the dead, a potion Anne would very much like to bring back to England. But when Anne and Branwell are kidnapped, Charlotte and Emily must find a way to save their siblings. Can two English girls stand against Napoleon's armies, especially now that he has a new weapon from the real world? And if he escapes Glass Town, will England ever be safe again?

Together the Brontë siblings must battle with a world of their own creation if they are to make it back to England alive in this magical celebration of authorship, creativity, and classic literature from award-winning author Catherynne M. Valente.
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About the Author-
  • Catherynne M. Valente is the New York Times bestselling author of fantasy and science fiction novels, short stories, and poetry. She has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards, and has won the Locus and Andre Norton award. She lives on a small island off the coast of Maine with her partner, two dogs, one enormous cat, a less enormous cat, six chickens, a red accordion, an uncompleted master's degree, a roomful of yarn, a spinning wheel with ulterior motives, a cupboard of jam and pickles, a bookshelf full of folktales, an industrial torch, and an Oxford English Dictionary. Visit her at CatherynneMValente.com.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 24, 2017
    Valente (Radiance) delivers a linguistically dazzling novel that draws on the Brontë siblings’ real-life childhood writings about Glass Town, an invented land where they escaped the difficulties of their lives. Charlotte, Emily, Anne, and Branwell are grieving the deaths of two older sisters and dreading the “Beastliest Day” when Charlotte and Emily are forced to go off to school. As Branwell and Anne accompany them to the carriage, a detour to the local train station leads them to escape to Glass Town, which turns
    out to be even wilder and more bizarre than they ever imagined. “Don’t worry, Em,” Charlotte reassures her sister. “We’re only in an insane, upside-down world populated by our toys, our stories, and Napoleon riding a giant chicken on fire. Nothing so bad as School.” The plot picks up after Anne and Branwell get kidnapped, but the story’s real delights come from the wit and cleverness woven into every description and conversation, as well as the sharp insights Valente brings to the children’s insecurities, longings, and hidden desires, which burst to the surface in this magical and perilous world. Ages 10–up.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from July 1, 2017
    In a middle-grade fantasy reminiscent of beloved tales from Edward Eager and Pamela Dean, the imaginary realms of the Bronte juvenilia come to wondrous life. "Once, four children called Charlotte, Emily, Anne, and Branwell lived all together in a village called Haworth"--but the never-surnamed protagonists don't remain in their Yorkshire moors for long. Instead of escorting the two oldest girls to their dreaded School, the siblings are whisked off to Glass Town, where, as Charlotte dryly observes, "we're only in an insane, upside-down world populated by our toys, our stories, and Napoleon riding on a giant chicken on fire." Valente seizes this irresistible premise and careens off merrily, in gorgeous, coruscating prose spangled with groanworthy puns, extravagant metaphors, whimsical imagery, literary nods, and historical references. Beyond the sly allusions, sufficient to delight the most devoted Bronte-phile, it is the vivid, achingly real, personalities--brilliant, bossy Charlotte; wild, passionate Emily; gentle, perceptive Anne; and bullying, insecure Branwell--that compel attention. Unfolding against a background of loss and fear, their madcap fairy-tale adventures deepen into a heartbreaking keen of brutality and grief, at the last transposing into an exhilarating, bittersweet paean to identity, agency, and (inevitably) the power of storytelling. (Illustrations not seen.) An absolute must for fans, of course; but even readers who've never heard of Heathcliff will be captivated from the first page to the last. (Fantasy. 10-adult)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    June 1, 2017

    Gr 4-7-Based on the Bronte siblings' real-life juvenilia, this new book by the author of the popular "Fairyland" series should generate excitement among both "Fairyland" and Bronte fans. The novel opens with teenage Emily and Charlotte preparing to return to boarding school. They are justifiably unhappy about the trip, considering that their two older sisters died of a fever while away at school. Their younger sister, Anne, and older brother, Branwell, go along to see them off-but instead of going to school, all four of them find themselves unexpectedly on a magic train to what turns out to be the real-life version of the imaginary world they created together, Glass Town. All the characters they imagined using dolls and toys have come to life, and all the rules they created in their fantasy are suddenly binding. While action-packed, the story is highly whimsical, and readers will need a high tolerance for puns. For instance, a "tea" spoon is made out of actual tea leaves while champagne "flutes" play music. Bad guys range from Napoleon, who rides a giant rooster, to a fly the size of a whale. The silly tone makes the stakes feel low. There is no clear reason why the Brontes ended up in Glass Town, and though the author tries to use the siblings' adventures to explore their relationships, ultimately the book's focus is on the characters' attempts to return home. VERDICT This fanciful take on the Bronte siblings lacks weight, but fans of Valente may be happy to go along for the ride.-Eliza Langhans, Hatfield Public Library, MA

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Margaret K. McElderry Books
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