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Sparrow Road

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  1,984 Ratings  ·  270 Reviews
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.

Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 12th 2011 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (first published May 1st 2011)
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Puddle Mmm probably from the description and the fact that the main character seems to be in 7th grade I assume for like maybe 11, 12, 13 year olds.
I dunno,…more
Mmm probably from the description and the fact that the main character seems to be in 7th grade I assume for like maybe 11, 12, 13 year olds.
I dunno, thats what I think... Hope this helps! :) Bye!(less)
Kidsday the piano teacher. was the ophans teacher
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Class of 2k11
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Newbery 2012
35th out of 142 books — 725 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jessica Harrison
Aug 28, 2016 Jessica Harrison rated it it was amazing
Full review on Cracking the Cover
“Sparrow Road” is an unexpected yet welcome surprise. Author Sheila O’Connor doesn’t rely on popular themes or storytelling trickery. Rather she uses her skills in character and scene development to tell a mature and engrossing story that celebrates middle readers’ intelligence.

O’Connor’s characters come to life under her careful tutelage. Josie, with her “rainbow colored hair” and patchwork dresses, is so full of life, she seems to jump off the page. And Diego b
Donna Galanti
Nov 01, 2015 Donna Galanti rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: young adult and adult
Shelves: young-adult
I wish I could give this book a "blizzard of stars".

If there is one book you read this summer. This is it. This is the book that made me fall in love with reading again. 12-year-old Raine has an unexpected summer that at first she resists and as she transforms, and the people she meets transforms - it changes her life forever.

I read this coming-of-age book every free chance I got over two days. It is so beautifully written, like riding a slow, golden wave that builds and builds and covers all in
Destinee Sutton
Things I liked:

1. The suspense of why Raine and her mother go to Sparrow Road for the summer. As I've said before, with everyday life fiction like this, it helps a lot to have some kind of mystery driving the plot and this really worked. Of course, the mystery is solved halfway through, but then you can kind of coast on the strength of the characters and relationships.

2. Raine's development as a writer. The way she asks herself questions like "What was and what will be?' and creates a characte
Jun 08, 2011 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
My daughter is reading this book, and I cannot get it out of her hands to read it myself. "I LOVE this book" is all she will say before returning to the basement to continue the story. Later: I really enjoyed this book, with its many mysteries that are carefully unfolded, like delicate origami papers, chapter after chapter. The heart of the book reminds me of Kate DiCamillio's Tiger Rising, as there is an eclectic group of adults supporting the coming-of-age girl, and the climax of the book is a ...more
It really is a beautiful book. The writing is beautiful, the setting is the best, the characters are pitch-perfect. I never wanted it to end!

The summary on the back of the book lied to me! I thought I was getting into a spooky house mystery adventure thing. But instead, I got something better: this!

This book probably deserves 5 stars. But I jut wanted a few things to happen and they never did, so I knocked one off.

I wanted Eleanor to play a better role. Her final scene about dreams and stuff was
Barb Middleton
May 30, 2013 Barb Middleton rated it really liked it
Shelves: realistic
When I saw that Sheila O'Connor was a professor at Hamline University where Gary Schmidt and Anne Ursu work I wondered if she would have strong characters like they do in their middle grade and young adult novels. She does. It is the main strength in this novel along with beautiful writing. The emotional arc of twelve-year-old Raine and the character development of secondary characters kept me going in this book. The plot was predictable and the action minimal, but the subplot had surprises and ...more
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
4.5 stars

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
Book Twirps
Jul 22, 2011 Book Twirps rated it really liked it
Twelve-year-old Raine is not happy. Her mother just took a summer job at an artist's sanctuary called Sparrow Road and she's forcing Raine to go with her. Raine would rather stay in Milwaukee with her Grandpa Mac, working in his store and eating all the candy she can get her hands on. It's always been that way, and she doesn't understand why it has to change now. To make matters worse, Sparrow Road has all sorts of rules, the worst being that you are not allowed to talk except for after dinner ...more
Sep 25, 2011 KWinks rated it it was ok
The History major in me is dying to know. When does this story take place? Here's my breakdown:
First, no mention of cellphones or internet= time <1995
Mama's "hippie" stint in Amsterdam= time >1969
Several mentions of "paisley" and peasant blouses= 1970's
Raine is 12, going on 13 + Mom (hippie)= late 70's to early 80's
Final result= 1978-1989
Still, it is a range.
Next, my major, major problem with this story is that it features a bunch of non-functioning adults who rely too much on a 12 year-o
Jan 09, 2011 Laura rated it liked it
The jacket talks about the mystery of Sparrow Road, but the book is less about that than about Raine's transition from little girl to preteen. Sparrow Road was a mansion, then an orphanage, and is now a Yaddo-like artists residence (with rules like "no talking until dinner" and cabins for artistic creation). Raine isn't happy about being taken away from her Milwaukee home, less happy about the rules, and even less happy about Viktor and his mysterious relationship with Molly, Raine's mother.

Of c
Mar 06, 2012 Ally rated it it was amazing
It’s the summer before seventh grade,and twelve-year-old Raine O’Rourke’s mother suddenly takes a job hours away from home at mysterious Sparrow Road. At first Raine thinks its a creepy,weird mansion that houses eccentric group of artists. While Raine’s mother works as a cook and housekeeper Raine is left to figure out why she had really come to Sparrow Road.
After being there for a week Raines is thinking of how much she misses her Grandpa Mac and Milwaukee terribly. Soon after she is there for
Feb 05, 2011 Amyvotava rated it it was amazing
Loved this book!!! My daughter is 12 years old and after she read the first chapter she laughed out loud, tapped her finger on the page and said, "this writer really understands girls my age!"

The world so desperately needs more books like Sparrow Road. I really don't think I've ever read anything quite like it. I was one of those girls sitting up in my bedroom feverishly writing poetry until 1 a.m. My parents couldn't quite figure me out. But if there had been a book like Sparrow Road...

The beau
Sep 14, 2011 Caroline rated it it was ok
I was blase about this whimsical book that was well reviewed by all the major journals (booklist gave it a star and even kirkus had nice things to say!) A whimsically written realistic fiction book for middle schoolers (probably girls)sends a positive message about art, family, and discovering who we are. Don't know why I didn't like it more. I'm usually a sucker for lyrically written books but I had to make an effort to finish this one. Be that as it may, I"d still give this book to readers who ...more
May 30, 2011 Reader rated it liked it
Maybe I'd give this one three and a half stars if I could. The story follows 12-year-old Raine O'Rourke who has been unwillingly dragged by her mother to an artist's colony in the middle of nowhere. There's something mysterious about this new job her mother has acquired too. Why does her mom seem to know the owner so well? Why is Raine never allowed to go to town at any point, with or without her mother? And that's before she discovers Sparrow Road's true beginnings as an orphanage, with ...more
Elizabeth Andrew
Jul 18, 2011 Elizabeth Andrew rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction
Wanted to like this book better than I did. A young girl spends the summer at an artists' colony, housed in a former orphanage, and finally meets her delinquent dad. I liked the wholesome qualities of the story--lots of forgiveness, creativity, and community celebration--but found the plot contrived, hinging mostly on a mother unwilling to tell her daughter information, and the characters too good.
Mar 03, 2013 Katherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a wonderfully crafted book that will speak to your inner child or your muse. A girl's mother moves them 12 hours away from the city living that she's used to in order to work at a retreat for artistes. She spends the summer finding inspiration from the painters, writers and creative geniuses in the house, trying to find her story that she needs to tell, and trying just to figure out why her mother has moved them to this specific town. And why she's so nervous about it.
Sep 29, 2011 Wendy rated it liked it
The writing in this is generally great; you can tell O'Connor is an accomplished author, and there's none of the awkwardness you sometimes feel when adult authors try to cross over into juvenile. But somewhere in the second half of the book I felt like the thread of the story got lost and everything was sort of repetitious. That's what kept me from being really enthusiastic about it. I sort of... stopped caring when I saw where things were going.
Aug 05, 2013 Kelsey rated it really liked it
A sweet story with a little mystery as well. The characters are well-developed and the scenes make you want to be a part of the story. What starts out as a terrible summer trip to a 12-year-old girl turns into a fun, mysterious, and happy oasis. The story discusses orphans and the sadness surrounding the orphanage but it doesn't overpower the positives of the story. Well balanced and a quick read.
Honestly? It wasn't as good as it could have been. There was so much that could have been better defined (i.e. the relationship between her mother and father just for starters). It seemed like there was a bigger story here but we were just getting to read the outline. But that;s not to say it wasn't good, I just think it could have been so much more.
Sep 10, 2015 Maggie rated it it was amazing
I loved the book sparrow road. I loved how the main character Raine lived on sparrow road for the summer. The way the author described sparrow road, and all the people that lived there made me feel like I had been their before. I really never wanted this book to end. I thought the ending was a little sad but over all I really enjoyed this book and would love to read more books by this author.
Cathy Blackler
Nov 12, 2011 Cathy Blackler rated it really liked it
A charming story about family secrets, strength, and the power that comes with moving forward. Slow in spots, a strong finish made for a satisfying ending, wrapping up the events of the novel nicely.
Mary Lee
Jan 08, 2012 Mary Lee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
The first Cool Teacher in Children's Literature will be Lillian.
Hiba Siddiqui
Jun 30, 2014 Hiba Siddiqui rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book! Read it to find out what happens
Jul 30, 2014 NebraskaIcebergs rated it really liked it
My husband and I sometimes talk about the trends and quirks in books for young people, based on the selections which I review. For example, adults are often conspicuously absent, a trend we both sometimes wish was less often true. In contrast, Sparrow Road by Sheila O’Connor overflows with adults. Ironically, a quirk in books for young people is that none of the characters seem like your average youth, who are into cell phones, games, clothes, and the most current entertainment. This would be an ...more
Apr 06, 2012 Elisa rated it really liked it
Sparrow Road
By Sheila O’Connor

“Sparrow Road” by Sheila O’Connor is about loyalty, dreams, self-discovery with mystery and secrets.
12 year old Raine O’Rouke finds herself suddenly hours from home when her mother takes a job at Sparrow Road during the summer holidays. Her mother works as the housekeeper and cook for the creepy mansion that houses artists for the summer.
At the beginning, Raine hates Sparrow road as she misses her Grandpa Mac in Milwaukee and can’t stand any of the rules of mysterio
Alanna (The Flashlight Reader)
Feb 12, 2011 Alanna (The Flashlight Reader) rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grades
Synopsis from back cover: 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. While Raine’s mother works as the cook and housekeeper, Raine explores the sprawling estate, trying to solve its secrets in the hopes she’ll discover why she and her mother have really come to Sparrow Road, but it’s an unexpected secret from Raine’s own ...more
Jul 20, 2013 Marcia rated it really liked it
This book was on the list for the MO Mark Twain Award books this year and I thought it was a good book. It started out slow, but it was better the farther along I went. I liked the concept of the old orphanage house being an artist summer retreat.

This book explained the differences between what Raine experienced in the big city of Milwaukee and Sparrow Road with the small town of Comfort down the road. Raine was interesting in the beginning of the story because she was used to the noises of the
Jun 23, 2012 Brenda rated it really liked it
How would you feel if your mom took a new job and all of a sudden your summer changed? How would you feel if you found yourself at a strange dilapidated mansion populated by a few eccentric artists? You've got lots of questions, but you get no answers. You know Grampa Mac, back in Milwaukee, is angry about it. You know that your mom isn't telling you the whole truth. And Viktor, the guy driving the truck out from the train station, is less than friendly - he's almost creepy in fact.

That's how Ra
Jul 18, 2012 babyhippoface rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-fiction
Raine is angry. With no explanation, her mother is dragging her away from her Grandpa Mac for an entire summer, away from Milwaukee, to some place called Sparrow Road. There's nothing there but a huge, old, pink house and some artists who are "creating" over the summer. And about the artists--to honor their work time, there's no talking at Sparrow Road until 5:00 every day but weekends. No talking? Are you serious?

Ah, but there is beauty and creativity in silence, if you listen for it, as Raine
Lisa Schensted
in a sentence or so: Raine and her mother move to Sparrow Road, a summer home for artists. while there, Raine discovers some mysteries that need solving at the aged mansion, as well as some surprising mysteries within her own life.

Raine loves her family. her Grandpa Mac and her Mama are all she's known and it's all she needs to know. when people ask her about her father, she simply says he's not there. because simply, he's not there.

the summer Raine turns 13, her Mama drops a serious bomb on he
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“The worse the mess, the more I get to wonder.” 4 likes
“ settle into silence, to trust what was or what could be.” 0 likes
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