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Sparrow Road

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,939 Ratings  ·  268 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
23rd out of 49 books — 147 voters
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Newbery 2012
35th out of 141 books — 721 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jessica Harrison
Feb 11, 2012 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
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
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
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
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
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 a ...more
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
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
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 mysteri ...more
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
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.
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
Shae Pigarelli
Nov 05, 2015 Shae Pigarelli rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tri-mester-1
According to Raine, the summer before 7th grade couldn't have been worse. Raine's mom was offered a job at a mysterious place called Sparrow Road. To Raine's surprise, her mom accepted this job even though she already had a job in Milwaukee where they lived. Raine and her mom left Grandpa Mac behind (Raine and her mom lived with Raine's Grandpa in Milwaukee) and moved to Sparrow Road. When they arrived, Molly's (Raine's mom) boss greeted them. He showed them around the property and then explaine ...more
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.
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.
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.
Nov 03, 2014 Cristina rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
K. East
Sep 01, 2014 K. East rated it really liked it
Let me start by saying that this book is in no way a mystery. Nor is it ghost-filled nor even creepy, after the first couple of paragraphs. What it is is a thoughtful, introspective coming-of-age book about a young girl coming to terms with meeting an absentee father in a summer full of truly strange and largely neurotic adults. I really enjoyed this book, primarily because of the main character, Raine, but I can't say if I think any kid I know would like it. I'd have to agree with one reviewer ...more
Saleena Davidson
Feb 05, 2014 Saleena Davidson rated it really liked it
Sparrow Road is one of those amazing books that's hard to's a book about family and about growing up and is such a pleasant quiet read that it never seemed like something I would enjoy....but I did. The story centers around an artist retreat where Raine and her mother go for the summer. Raine isn't sure why, but is positive she will be miserable in this quiet sleepy town....instead she bonds with the various artists and begins to discover her own talents. She also meets her biolo ...more
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.
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
Emily Ord
Oct 03, 2015 Emily Ord rated it really liked it
Raine is used to living with her mother and grandfather in an apartment in Milwaukee, until one summer her mom takes a job at a mysterious country house where artists come for the summer. Raine must get used to the country, and having silence all day until dinner. She can't help but wonder why her mother brought her so many miles away from her home, just to be a maid at a creepy, mysterious place. She soon finds out, with a strange surprise that will change her life. She meets and befriends thr ...more
Jun 11, 2014 Angela rated it liked it
Clara and I read this book together. It is a sweet story about a girl named Raine and her mother who move from Milwaulkee to Sparrow Road, a country estate, for the summer, where the mom has taken a job as the cook and housekeeper. The old home is now an artist retreat. During the course of the summer, Raine becomes friends with the odd collection of artists, spends her time exploring the mysterious history of the Sparrow Road, and learns answers about her own history too. The story is about fam ...more
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.
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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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