Review: The Warden’s Daughter

w204Book: The Warden’s Daughter
Author: Jerry Spinelli
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Basic plot: Cammie is the Warden’s daughter at a prison. Her mom is dead and she is desperately seeking a mother-figure. She latches on to Eloda Pupko, a trustee housekeeper (i.e. she’s a prisoner). But Eloda isn’t quite cooperating with all of Cammie’s demands…


1) Cammie was a difficult character to like. I can only compare her Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden. BUT… I felt that she did grow on me.

2) I liked the bit about the toothbrush and the birthday party. Yes, well done, Mr. Spinelli! (BTW, I was with Cammie on this one, not the simpering toothbrush-girl. Although, she could have handle the situation a bit better.)

3) Reggie drove me crazy! She is obsessed with the prison’s most notorious inmate (a murderer) and wants his autograph… just ’cause he’s famous. Yet I like the arc with her character. And she works well as a foil to Cammie, making Cammie seem not quite so bratty. Especially when Cammie finally stands up to her and shows Reggie the mother of the murdered child, which puts the prisoners in perspective for Reggie.

4) I like the revelation at the end with regards to Eloda Pupko. But I won’t spoil it here. 😉

5) And Boo Boo. What a complex character!


1) At times it was really, really hard to like Cammie. I understand that this is part of the book (and it gets better near the end), but it’s still takes a toll on the reader.

2) At other times, I wanted to yell at Cammie’s father. Like why [*SPOILER] did he give her the key to the women’s exercise yard? [END SPOILER] I felt he allowed Cammie way too much freedom. She even bossed him around!


My rating is 3.5 Stars (out of 5) – I was certainly drawn into the story. I found that I didn’t like Cammie for most of the book, which is hard on the reader. We want to root for the protagonist. But in the end, I liked how everything turned out. (Which is why I tagged on the 0.5 star.)

2 thoughts on “Review: The Warden’s Daughter

  1. I rather liked that Cammie is so unlikable. I think that’s a difficult thing to pull off. They need to be realistically unlikable, but not so much that you want to throw the book down!

    Cammie’s obsession with scrapple was also really funny. I was not aware pig snouts were involved in the making of scrapple. That sounds so unappetizing.


  2. Overall, I thought he did a decent job with the unlikeableness of Cammie. It’s a really tight rope to walk. I did find that she grew on me. So, I definitely saw the character arc.

    Re: Scrapple. I have no idea what this is other than Cammie loves it so much. I pictured it as some sort of brown oatmeal. But pig snouts. No thank-you. 😉


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