Cammie O’Reilly lives at the Hancock County Prison–not as a prisoner, she’s the warden’s daughter. She spends the mornings hanging out with shoplifters and reformed arsonists in the women’s exercise yard, which gives Cammie a certain cache with her school friends. But even though Cammie’s free to leave the prison, she’s still stuck. And sad, and really mad. Her mother died saving her from harm when she was just a baby. You wouldn’t think you could miss something you never had, but on the eve of her thirteenth birthday, the thing Cammie most wants is a mom. A prison might not be the best place to search for a mother, but Cammie is determined and she’s willing to work with what she’s got. (Goodreads Description)
The Warden’s Daughter is a coming of age children’s novel set in a 1959 Pennsylvania Prison. Yes, I said prison! Author Jerry Spinelli based the fictionalized prison on the old Montgomery County Prison in Norristown, PA. In a recent interview on NPR, Spinelli says he created the character Cammie O’Reilly after meeting a woman that grew up in a prison and hearing her story. Thus becoming the inspiration for the book. Cammie is raised by a single father who happens to be the warden in charge of the prison. Cammie and her father live above it.
With Cammie O’Reilly’s birthday fast approaching, Cammie decides it’s time she have a mom again. You see her mother was tragically killed when she was a baby. Cammie turns to the women prisoners as mother figures. She especially focuses her attentions on the trustee that helps care for Cammie during her father’s absences. Will her quest to find a mother lead to happiness or heartache?