Sheila O’Connor Sparrow Road
256 pp. G.P. Putnam’s Sons (Penguin Young Readers Group) 2011 ISBN: 978-0-399-25458-1
Source: ARC received from blogger, originally from author
Release Date: May 12, 2011
Summary (From the author’s website): “No music. No TV. No computer. No telephone. And everyday, silence until supper.”
Those are the rules of Sparrow Road, an eerie artist mansion in the country, where Raine O’Rourke is forced to spend her summer. And worse, she can’t figure out why her mother agreed to work there as a cook. “Not everything’s a mystery,” her mother warns, when Raine pesters her with questions, but Sparrow Road is full of secrets Raine intends to solve. Why did her mother take this sudden job out in the country? What’s the truth behind the silent, brooding owner, Viktor? The aging poet, Lillian? What happened to the missing orphans that lived once in the attic? Cheered on by a cast of quirky artists that live there at the mansion, Raine sets out in search of clues. It’s a summer full of mysteries and strange adventures, but it’s an unexpected secret from Raine’s own life that changes her forever.
A delightful story about improbable friendships and the power of imagination, Sparrow Road is an enchanted world that will win the reader’s heart.
Sigh… Sparrow Road is simply wonderful. It’s beautifully written with rich details and well-rounded, deep characters. It’s easy to fall for not only our protagonist, Raine, but the supporting characters as well. And Sparrow Road is described in such a way that I could picture the house, the lake, the town, everything. Coming from a teacher’s point of view, I can see this book being used in the classroom.
Raine is such a fabulous character. She develops so much zeal for her life on Sparrow Road. Raine wants to get to know the artists, uncover secrets about her family, and become more independent. For being as young as she is, Raine really understands those around her. She knows how to talk to her mother and grandpa about adult issues. She understands that her mom’s actions are based mostly on her being very protective and loving. She’s an admirable character that tweens and teens could learn much from.
Sheila is a gifted, lyrical writer. The writing is fluid. The story is poignant. I found myself flagging passages that I thought were especially well-written. This passage is one of my favorites: “I closed my eyes and imagined Lyman sitting right beside me, the two of us just talking at Viktor’s turtle pond. The white sun waving in the water. The timid turtles sunning on the rocks. Turtles were the perfect pets for Viktor.” I love the imagery and alliteration. This is just one of many passages that could be used in a classroom when teaching writing and literary elements.
Sparrow Road is a tender book that readers of all ages will enjoy. Enjoy!