Greenglass House

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Greenglass House Book Poster Image
Delightful, engaging mystery with a twist.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 9 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

A brief explanation of how a pinhole camera works. Definitions are given for "puissance," "relic," "vidimus," and "provenance."

Positive Messages

You have the power to decide who and what you are and what to do with your power or potential. It's OK to wonder about your birth parents and what your life with them might have been like; it doesn't mean you don't love your adoptive parents. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Milo's a smart, resourceful kid who carefully thinks things through to arrive at a logical conclusion. He gets his homework out of the way first thing over school holidays. He doesn't like change and is prone to panic attacks at first but learns how to handle disruption with calm. His parents are loving and supportive. Friend Meddy is very adept at helping Milo think outside of his comfort zone without Milo noticing.


A story within the novel mentions a man who was beaten "to within an inch of his life." A character threatens others with a gun two or three times; once, a boom is heard and assumed to be a gunshot, and another time a character is shot at but unharmed. A couple of instances of chasing and tackling.


An adult says "come hell or high water" and "crap" once each.


Once each: camera brands Hasselblad, Rollei, Voigtländer, and Leica.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Sharing a bottle of wine is mentioned in a story. Adults are offered whiskey for hot toddies. An adult asks for whiskey, and Milo gets it for her. A minor character smokes a pipe outdoors. Past cigarette smoking is described.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Greenglass House is a clever and engaging mystery. It presents positive messages about adoption, family, and having the power to decide who you are. A villain threatens others with a gun and shoots at someone, who is unharmed; there are a couple of instances of chasing and tackling. Greenglass House is an inn whose regular guests are mostly smugglers, but in this story, they're beloved by the locals for supplying goods, circumventing an evil corporation's stranglehold on commerce.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bycautious mama i... March 30, 2021

There was a lot to like except...

I was enjoying this book and the good messages I saw developing. However there is a short snippet where the main character reads a story about a person who kil... Continue reading
Parent of a 5, 8, and 11-year-old Written byD M. September 3, 2017

Great story, great writing, great read!

I really loved this book! There was a little bit of a love story towards the end, with Blue and Red vying for the affections of the same guy, but very clean. Al... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old December 3, 2017

A haunting hotel mystery

It kept me up at night, making me think of another ending. I didn't want it to be over.
Teen, 16 years old Written byFirePhoenix August 20, 2019

It was great, till there was Ghosts.....

I really liked the book, till I, ***SPOILER****** found out that one of the main Characters was a ghost. I just don't like that kind of stuff. Otherwise Gr... Continue reading

What's the story?

Milo's looking forward to a couple of weeks of quiet over winter break: The inn his family runs in a creaky, isolated house on top of a hill almost never has guests once the cold weather sets in. But when an unexpected guest is followed by another, and another, and more still, Milo's sure it can't be coincidence. When Milo finds one of the guests has dropped a mysterious map, he and his friend Meddy determine to decode the map's secrets and find out what's brought the strange visitors to Greenglass House.

Is it any good?

GREENGLASS HOUSE is a mystery that will delight and intrigue readers of any age, from the first ring of the guest bell to the astonishing twist at the end. The colorful cast of characters, including Greenglass House itself, immediately draw the reader into a richly imagined and vividly detailed story of tremendous depth. At the center of it all is Milo, whose personality quirks, smarts, and kind heart endear him to the reader.

Imaginative stories within the story add just the right touch of humor and chills.  Author Kate Milford deftly supports these wonderful aspects with writing that achieves a rare balance: Like the marvelous world she's created, it's wonderfully absurd and utterly believable at the same time.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about adoption. Were you adopted, or do you know someone who was? Do you think Milo's feelings about being adopted are realistic?

  • Do you like the stories Milo reads or the stories the guests tell? Why do you think the author includes them? Do they get in the way of reading about Milo, or do they make Greenglass House more enjoyable?

  • Did you figure out who the villain was before Milo did? Whom did you suspect, and why?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love mystery

Themes & Topics

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