Tumbleglass is one of many modern books that I have come across in my job as a librarian where it’s difficult to define the target audience. The main character is Rowan who is thirteen years old. Therefore you’d expect the audience to be 11 to 13-year-olds. However, Rowan and her sister, Ash, inadvertently end up at a party for people in their late teens and early 20-year-olds. The party is described in much detail and there’re all the things you would expect at a party for this age group. Ash doesn’t have a problem as she is nineteen. It would be better if Rowan was fifteen and there would be little adjustment needed for the author to have her a little older.
Ash plays a significant role in the story so as a librarian, I could catalogue the book as young adults for teenagers 16 and over. However, young adults wouldn’t pick it up because the cover shouts young teenager. The only option is adult fiction. Parents of teenagers, who don’t mind a bit of fantasy, would probably enjoy the story and be less worried about the cover.
Tumbleglass is a time-slip novel, where Rowan and Ash fall back in time and find themselves at a party at their current house. After a while, Rowan falls asleep and wakes up in her own time, but Ash doesn’t return. Rowan has to find a way to rescue Ash. She enlists the support of her magical neighbour, Verity, who is a glass artist. Rowan makes several trips back in time to collect the things that Verity needs to make a magical gadget that will bring Ash back to her rightful time zone. During her visits, Rowan makes friends with the previous residents of her house and learns about historical events from the people that lived through them.
Overall, Kate Constable has written an enjoyable time-slip novel, but it does contain adult themes and language.