Jars of Glass

( 16 )

Overview

From the critically acclaimed authors of Scrambled Eggs at Midnight and Dream Factory comes a poignant story of two sisters.

Chloe and Shana want the same thing-for everything to go back to normal, the way it was before their mom went to the hospital. But both sisters know that things can never be the same. While Chloe wants their mom to come home so they can be a family again, Shana never wants to see their mother. And while Shana is trying to escape her problems by hiding ...

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Overview

From the critically acclaimed authors of Scrambled Eggs at Midnight and Dream Factory comes a poignant story of two sisters.

Chloe and Shana want the same thing-for everything to go back to normal, the way it was before their mom went to the hospital. But both sisters know that things can never be the same. While Chloe wants their mom to come home so they can be a family again, Shana never wants to see their mother. And while Shana is trying to escape her problems by hiding under a new persona, Chloe is left trying to be the responsible one. Then things go from bad to worse, and the sisters are forced to band together and redefine what it means to be a family.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT - Ashleigh Larsen
The definition of family always included both a mother and a father for teenage sisters Shana and Chloe. They reminisce about the days when their mom would take them to the beach, telling tales of underwater kingdoms and sea glass. But their mother was sent to a mental institution, and now their lives feel less like a fairy tale and more like a nightmare. Chloe won't let herself believe those stories any more since becoming the cook of the house and primary caretaker of their adopted brother, Micah. She wishes her mother would come home and that her father would start acting like their dad again, rather than some distant drunk. Shana, on the other hand, seeks to escape the broken pieces of their life under black and white makeup and Goth garb. While she also wishes everything would feel normal again, she knows something that Chloe doesn't, and it's this secret that she uses to make sure her mother never comes home again. When things get even worse, the two try to redefine their friendship and their family—but is it too late? Alternating between the voices of the two girls, this novel demonstrates a broad range of reactions, feelings, and behaviors associated with difficult times. The combination of humor, heartbreak, and hope will help many YAs to understand what it's like to grow up in a disjointed home or a family torn apart by mental illness. Reviewer: Ashleigh Larsen
Children's Literature - Margaret C. F. Pollock
Five people make up the family of this story, but one is absent—the children's mother. Though she is a brilliant painter, she was recently institutionalized with paranoid schizophrenia. Those remaining at home are the father, sisters Shana (15) and Chloe (14), and four-year-old Micah, adopted from Russia. Mother's removal from the family and their individual senses of loss grip each family member. As they struggle to be free, at least three questions occur to the reader: Why focus on the jars of beach glass, which seem incidental? What did Mother do that showed she is a danger to herself or others? Why is the character of Micah even here? The answers to these questions emerge gradually as the characters fill out, and the background is completed. The authors tell each chapter alternately in the voices of Shana and Chloe. This dimensional technique raises interest and propels the reader onward. The authors realistically present teen speech patterns, mixing short, punchy sentences with wandering ones. The cold darkness of Maine in winter supports the emotional bleakness the family is experiencing. As in life, not every character manages to emerge free of the family tragedy. There is plenty of drama in this story, though there are sweet and considerate relationships, too. Boys feature as well as the sisters. This volume would be an engaging extra-credit option for high school students. If included in the English curriculum, the main topics for examination might be character evolution, the use of two narrators, realism, and what story elements or authorial techniques heightened the sense of loss. Reviewer: Margaret C. F. Pollock
VOYA - Lauri J. Vaughan
The sudden and tragic onset of their mother's mental illness forces adult responsibilities upon Shana and Chloe Beal. While Shana tries to hold together the family business, Chloe takes over parenting younger brother Micah. When he is not perfecting the charade of a still normal life, Dad is smoking, drinking, and generally not available. In the midst of it all, the sisters try to grow up, sort out their own shaky relationship, and figure out for what to hope. The complete break up of the family hangs over them like Damocles's sword. The sisters tell their story in alternating chapters, and although their voices are a little too similar and plot revelations are a little too delayed, there is much to like about this novel from the collaborative duo of Barkley and Hepler. The characters are compelling, and the dialogue is excellent. The reader grows to understand how a talented, hard-working, and loving family can be brought to its knees through no fault of its own. The girls seek out separate sources of support while never quite losing their connection to each other. They are alternately objects of the other's anger and support; their magnetic push and pull is realistically and deftly described. The reader is allowed to fall in love with Shana and Chloe despite the fact that they are sometimes enemies. Events and crises are solidly paced. The story reads fast and is an excellent recommendation for teens looking for a fresh read with some meat on its bones. Reviewer: Lauri J. Vaughan
VOYA - Isabel Crevasse
I found Jars of Glass to be a mediocre mix of Sarah Dessen's The Truth About Forever and Deb Caletti's The Nature of Jade. Although this novel can be funny and sweet, I often felt that the authors were trying too hard. In addition, I found it difficult to differentiate between Chloe and Shana's voices. The characters come off slightly lifeless, making it difficult to care about what happens to them. Reviewer: Isabel Crevasse, Teen Reviewer
School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up

Chloe, 14, and Shana, 15, live with their dad and four-year-old adopted brother, Micah, above their father's mortuary business in Portland, ME. Their mom, once an up-and-coming artist, has been hospitalized for a year. Shana's involvement in the local Goth scene, which Chloe doesn't understand, provides candid, grim humor and a nasty surprise. Chloe's obsession with their mother's last painting and reluctance to enter her abandoned studio worry Shana, who knows more than she is willing to tell. Dad is getting more and more vague and unreliable, and Micah has fears and needs that his sisters try their best to cope with. Tensions rise as Dad misses a visit from the dreaded social worker and spends more and more time on the roof, chain-smoking and getting drunk. If Mom can't come home and if Dad doesn't get it together-soon-they might lose Micah. Chloe and Shana share the narration of this shadowy story told in alternating chapters. Initially, the sisters' different personalities are clearly apparent. As they desperately seek a solution for their dissolving family and become enmeshed in their own struggles, their voices become less unique. Girls may enjoy the drama and angst, but the doom and gloom permeate so heavily that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish any real flickers of light at the end of this dark family tunnel.-Roxanne Myers Spencer, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green

Kirkus Reviews

With their institutionalized mother lost in a fog of visions and voices, Chloe and Shana find themselves living with a frayed, alcoholic father and a silent four-year-old who finds comfort in spoonfuls of sugar. Through alternating chapters related in soulful voices, readers hear from both sisters and experience two very different responses to familial disintegration. Chloe works to create normalcy, mothering her adopted brother Micah and clinging to fond memories: her mother's paintings, laughter and elaborate, oceanic fairy tales. She spends hours staring at jars of sea-glass, remembering her family's good times. Shana hides behind goth costumes and white makeup, sneaking out nightly to disconnect from the home she hates. Teens will relate both to Chloe's desire to ameliorate and to Shana's icy urge to distance herself from pain. When Social Services threatens to take Micah away and their father's neglected funeral business falters, their fragmented reality becomes impossible to ignore. Co-authors Barkley and Hepler offer a seamless, striking story that subtly depicts the girls' incremental growth and the healing they find in new friendships. (Fiction. 12 & up)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142414897
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/15/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 806,855
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Brad Barkley is the author of two adult novels (Money, Love and Alison's Automotive Repair Manual) and two story collections, the most recent of which is Another Perfect Catastrophe. Two of his books have been Booksense 76 selections. His short stories have appeared in over thirty magazines. He lives in western Maryland where he teaches fiction writing and raises two children, both too smart for their own good.
Heather Hepler grew up in North Texas. She has lived in Reno, on the coast of Maine, in the interior of Alaska, and near Death Valley, but she currently is being held against her will in Tyler, Texas. She holds a Master's in Library Science from the University of North Texas and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine. She works as a reviewer for VOYA, Kirkus Reviews, Publisher’s Weekly, Library Media Connection, and The New York Times. Her first novel, Scrambled Eggs at Midnight (Dutton) is set for release in May 2006. The second, The Dream Factory (Dutton) will be released Spring 2007. Her writing has also appeared in the Southwest Review and the Cincinnati Review.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 17 of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    Jars of Glass!

    This book is awesome. I love Cupcake Queen so I thought I would read this one too, even though I didnt know of I would like it or not. I did love it though its a great book. Its very sad though. But overall this book is one of my favorite books ever! And its kinda cool that my name is chloe and so it the girl in the book. I really recomend this book. Im 14 and loved and my mom loved it also.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    BUY THIS BOOK!

    if you can't decide if you want to buy it...I HIGHLY RECCOMMEND IT. It is very worth the money. Brad Barkley and Heather Helper are ammmaaaaazing writers. I'm an 18 yearold girl and this is probably, easily one of the best books I have read in a long time. I absoutly LOVED it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2012

    Aaaaaaaggghhhhh

    To good to be true!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2011

    Beautiful Read

    I am completely guilty of judging a book by its cover, because when I saw "Jars of Glass" at the bookstore, I was captured by the sweet, gorgeous cover.
    And I'm incredibly glad that I was drawn to it.
    The book easily wove many stories together, and I loved the every-other-chapter switch of narration between the two sisters. Each had such an individual voice, and they were realistic, making you want them to succeed even more. None of the characters were perfect, but their realistic struggles as well as their believable good personalities made them better than any of the other fictional characters on current bookshelves. There was so much left for the reader to think about, and I wish that these two amazing authors could get the recognition they deserve. One of the best books I've ever read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2012

    Anomynous

    My name is chloe too! And i loved it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2012

    Great book

    I give this book a 5 star review! I loved it so much. If you are considering this book I say to buy it. !

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2012

    I havea question

    Whats the secret

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2012

    Anonymous

    Sad and sweet, believablenand beautiful. Love it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2011

    I just bought it and cant wait to read it!

    Im really excirted to finish it! Its very good.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2009

    loved it

    This book was great, it has a great plot that you can follow easily. I couldn't out it down, especially in the middle. The characters were true to life, and you can relate to them. I recommend this book to anyone who wants something that will make them think, as well as show them that everyone isn't what they seem to be on the outside.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    five star book (: AMAZING

    This was honestly one of the BEST books ive ever read!<BR/>if you are thinking about getting it DONT HESITATE ; GETITGETITGETIT! you will not regret it trust meee. all my friends who read it loved it. (;<BR/><BR/>its a great book it makes you wana read it all day and just see what can possibly happen next! loved this book. gosh, you guys need to get this xD <BR/><BR/>(:

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted April 13, 2012

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    Posted December 18, 2010

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    Posted January 20, 2013

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    Posted January 28, 2010

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    Posted March 4, 2011

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    Posted August 25, 2009

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 17 of 16 Customer Reviews

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