Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Book Review: Sparrow Road

Published by G. Putnam & Sons
Released on May 12th, 2011
Source- ARC from author for review
Ages eight years & up
4.5 stars- A wonderful story about self discovery, love & friendship

It's the summer before seventh grade, and twelve-year- old Raine O'Rourke's mother suddenly takes a job hours from home at mysterious Sparrow Road- a creepy, dilapidated mansion that houses an eccentric group of artists. As Raine tries to make sense of her new surroundings, she forges friendships with a cast of quirky characters including the outrageous and funky Josie.

Together, Raine and Josie decide to solve the mysteries of Sparrow Road-from its haunting history as an orphanage to the secrets of its silent, brooding owner, Viktor. But it's an unexpected secret from Raine's own life that changes her forever.

Sparrow Road is a beautifully written, fulfilling read. It's not often I feel well connected to both the characters and the setting with a middle grade read from the get go like I was with with this book. Sheila O'Connor has a talent for writing prose and a magical ability to make her characters and the world they're apart of come to life. There are so many elements I liked about the story that I truly enjoyed every moment of this book.

One of the things I love about Sparrow Road is the way this story unravels. Little by little Sheila carefully unravels a beautiful story full of mystery with both it's characters, and the setting's history, that ends up becoming a relatable coming of age story. Though I wanted answers right away, I loved how engaged this made me feel with the book. I wanted to know more. Sheila is a brilliant story teller, because she doesn't tell me everything about her story, she shows me. I really enjoyed the way she allowed me to become apart of her story and introduced each of the characters, including the main character twelve year old Raine.

Raine is a character I loved. She's innocent, and strong, open minded and well grounded. I found it easy to relate to her through her story, though I never experienced a lot of the things she does. She's a character who grows a lot over the course of the book. I sympothized with her when her mom up and moves her from Milwaukee to a sleepy little town in Michigan. She leaves behind her beloved Grandpa Mac, and finds her life turned upside down when she learns she's spending the summer at Sparrow Road, a quiet, get away for artists to come to. With no tv, radio or talking during most hours of the day, I would have problems with that as much as Raine does.

Surrounded by wonderful character Raine's story comes full circle as she learns to embrace who is she and the person she's becoming. She learns about love, forgiveness, friendship and the true meaning of family. One of my favorite characters in the story is Grandpa Mac. What a lovely supporting character he is. There are a lot of characters I enjoyed getting to know, and the way they're introduced, but for the sake of spoilers I won't say anything else. I really enjoyed the story. It's a wonderful, clean cut read that tweens, teens and adults will enjoy reading. This is one of those books that would be great for middle grade english teachers and book clubs, as there are so many aspects of this book to be discussed. On a side note, I love this cover. It is such a great fit for the story.
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~