The Glass Sentence
Glass Sentence
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S.E. Grove
ISBN 9780670785025
Viking/Penguin, 2014.
4 ½ stars
Keywords: adventure family friendship glass-sentence grove memory mystery time

The Glass Sentence
by S.E. Grove

Debut author S.E. Grove introduces a plucky 13-year-old heroine named Sophia Tims in the first of a planned trilogy. The Glass Sentence will attract Harry Potter fans and others who enjoy plunging into a world with alternate universes.

It is the summer of 1891 in Boston, and Sophia has been in the care of her uncle, Shadrack Ellis, ever since her explorer parents disappeared 10 years ago. Readers hit the ground running, as Sophia witnesses Shadrack, the world's finest cartologist, making a case to Parliament against closing the borders of their native New Occident. Ever since the Great Disruption, time has settled differently in different parts of the world. Shadrack is one of the few who advocate permeable borders, and he can read maps from many eras. He fails to sway Parliament, and a brawl breaks out. Big events happen in rapid succession. When Sophia gets home, Shadrack takes her into a secret map room and teaches her to unlock maps of metal, cloth, clay and glass. Each releases the memories of those who helped construct it, and Sophia experiences them as if they were her own. She also learns of the carta mayor, a memory map of the entire world that some believe exists, and others think is myth. But then Shadrack is kidnapped--his captor believes in the carta mayor and thinks Shadrack knows its whereabouts.

Grove explores haunting questions about the nature of time and memory. This would make an ideal family read-aloud; as an independent read, it's best undertaken in one sitting. Riveting.

This review first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers.
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