Tuesdays at the Castle: I wish I could have read this when I was twelve

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsTuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George children's fantasy book reviewsTuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

Though I enjoy some young adult fiction, I don’t read many middle grade books at this point in my life unless my 12 year old really twists my arm. But the idea behind Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George (2011) just sounded so fun that I couldn’t resist when I saw it on the library shelf. Its pages were waving to me, I swear!

Eleven year old Princess Celie and her royal family live in Castle Glower, which has a life and sometimes quirky opinions of its own and takes an interest in the affairs of the kingdom. Rooms and corridors appear and disappear, or move from one part of the castle to another, or grow or shrink depending on whether the person staying in the room is favored by the castle or not. Castle Glower also takes an active role in choosing the next ruler: the current king’s 8-times great-grandfather:

…had become king when Glower the Sixty-ninth’s only heir had turned out to be a nincompoop. Legend had it that the Castle had repeatedly steered the old king’s barber to the throne room for days until the Royal Council had him declared the next king, while the young man who should have been Glower the Seventieth found himself head-down in a haystack after having been forcibly ejected from the Castle through the water closet.

The Castle also intervenes in love lives: Celie’s father, the king,

married the beautiful daughter of the Royal Wizard when the Castle guided them into the same room and then sealed the doors for a day.

When the king and queen disappear on a trip and are presumed dead, Celie and her older brother and sister are left to hold the kingdom together, which becomes even more difficult when some neighboring princes — with their guards and entourages — come for the memorial service and won’t leave, and the Council proves untrustworthy. Luckily the Castle is on their side!

Charming and enjoyable, even for some older readers. Tuesdays at the Castle has enough tongue-in-cheek humor to make the story go down easily and it kept me interested to the end, though I really wish I could have read this when I was twelve. My 12 year old says he read this last year and gives it a big thumbs up. Tuesdays at the Castle has two sequels: Wednesdays in the Tower and Thursdays with the Crown. A fourth CASTLE GLOWER book, titled Fridays with the Wizards, is expected in early February 2016 from Bloomsbury USA.

Castle Glower — (2011-2017) Ages 9-12. Publisher: Tuesday is Princess Celie’s favourite day. Castle Glower magically grows a new room, a turret or sometimes an entire wing! No one quite knows how, or why, but luckily, Princess Celie has mapped out the Castle’s many twists and turns. When the king and queen disappear and Councillors from neighbouring kingdoms arrive to advise Celie, a new tower and a secret passageway appear just as Celie needs them. The Castle is definitely trying to tell her something. But it’s down to Celie to find her parents, hold on to the kingdom and protect her home before it’s too late. This page-turning adventure marks the launch of a series sure to delight fans of Jessica Day George and win her countless new ones.

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TADIANA JONES, on our staff since July 2015, is an intellectual property lawyer with a BA in English. She inherited her love of classic and hard SF from her father and her love of fantasy and fairy tales from her mother. She lives with her husband and four children in a small town near the mountains in Utah. Tadiana juggles her career, her family, and her love for reading, travel and art, only occasionally dropping balls. She likes complex and layered stories and characters with hidden depths. Favorite authors include Lois McMaster Bujold, Brandon Sanderson, Robin McKinley, Connie Willis, Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Megan Whalen Turner, Patricia McKillip, Mary Stewart, Ilona Andrews, and Susanna Clarke.

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  1. April /

    I loved this one too! Of course, I read a lot of middle-grade fiction because I love the (for the most part) happy endings and the characters are usually so fun – and here we have a castle as a character.

  2. I enjoy MG fantasy, too. I’m currently reading John Flanagan’s RANGER’S APPRENTICE.

    I think I have all of Jessica Day George’s books. I bought them for my daughters. I’m glad I did!

  3. My son (now 13, and a huge fan of fantasy reads) also loved the Ranger’s Apprentice series. He tried to get me to read those as well, but they weren’t to my taste. Some MG books work for me and some don’t. But I really appreciate how he wants me to read the books he’s loved so he can share his joy and talk with me about them.

    • My kids do that, too. Sometimes if I don’t want to read a book that my 13 year old daughter loves, she’ll just open it and start reading aloud. I’ll listen at that point, just because I’m thrilled that she loves the book and I think it’s good practice to read aloud.

  4. Oh, I LOVE the castle! This sounds like a delightful book.

  5. Princess Celie is a plucky and resourceful heroine, but the castle was my favorite main character. :)


  1. This week’s round-up of middle grade sci fi and fantasy is up (7/12/15) « Teens Update - […] Tuesdays at the Castle, by Jessica Day George, at Fantasy Literature […]

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