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The Language of Sparrows
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The Language of Sparrows

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  939 ratings  ·  128 reviews
Brilliant and fluent in too many languages to count, 15-year-old Sierra Wright can't seem to communicate what is important to her in any language. Though April Wright stubbornly keeps an upbeat attitude about her daughter's future, she has let her own dreams slip away. Just across the bridge lives old Luca, scarred from his time in a Romanian gulag years before. Though he ...more
Paperback, 388 pages
Published July 10th 2013 by David C Cook
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Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lost, lonely older man....and a lost, lonely teenage girl find an unlikely friendship & both begin to heal & mend.
Christine Lindsay
Jul 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Reminiscent of Susan Meissner and Linda Nichols, a new author of Christian Women’s Fiction has just released her debut novel. Rachel Phifer with The Language of Sparrows, winner of the 2012 ACFW Genesis Award, is sure to earn many more accolades.

I loved this heart-wrenching story of April and her teenage daughter Sierra trying to get on with life after the mysterious death of April’s husband. This author writes realistic sadness, but bathes each page in hope. Sierra is a gifted student who is n
Victoria W.
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Victoria by: netgallery
I was given a copy of this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion.

On the outside, Sierra and Luca are at opposite ends of life. One just beginning the world at her fingertips, the other reflecting on a life mostly gone. Yet, the bond of secrets, grief, and a love of learning tie these unlikely friends and their families together against the odds.

I'll confess I'm not one to pick a book on a whim these days. Life's too busy and too many recent whims have ended up a bust, especially within
Sep 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
OK, I really liked this book. I picked up the Kindle edition on a whim, because the synopsis sounded kind of interesting, but it isn't really the kind of book I normally read. Having said that, I really like this book. A hurting teenager finds a caring teacher and a grumpy old Romanian man. Misunderstanding and healing follow.

The pacing was great, there was a real danger of this book bogging down, but it just flew along. The revelations were where they needed to be, and it was easy to care about
Karen Laird
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that is hard to put down. The well developed characters dive into your heart and soul to take you on a journey of loss, discovery, pain, sorrow, but most of all the discovery of survival of love and the joy of living and loving and learning to find faith and trust again through the pain.
It helped me discover depths within myself I did not know I had. It gave me confirmation and affirmation for areas of my own life I had struggled with. I laughed, sobbed, and cried with joy in the
Paula Vince
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
April Wright keeps a tragic secret from her teenage daughter, Sierra, about the manner in which her father died. She believes her devastated daughter would crumple beneath the weight of it. Grieving Sierra shuns everyone except for one person who seems a strange choice of companion, an elderly widower, Luca Prodan, who shares her fascination with literature and languages. While April tries to figure out whether this strange friendship should be encouraged, she doesn't expect to develop feelings ...more
Eustacia Tan
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I'm going to start with "THIS BOOK IS BEAUTIFUL!" I love the story, I love the characters, I love the language, I love everything about it!

Then again, this book has a polyglot for a protagonist. I wish I was a polyglot (I can only speak 3.5 languages, sadly). Well, even though she picks up languages at an astonishing pace, Sierra is this quiet withdrawn girl. One day, she makes friends with a cranky old man with a past and launches the whole book into motion.

Sierra's mom, April is the forever-ch
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Language of Sparrow
This is such a touching story. I don't think I have read another that had such a package of hurts to deal with. It is a little depressing in the beginning. But that is the presentation of each character's past and wilting hope for the future. In the end you learn one truth -- God is beside us holding our hand while we stumble through our life. There is no need for your spirit to be down and depressed.
Luca's life is a short version of so many other Romanians, Moldavians, Ru
Melmac MacDonald
Oct 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you've been a follower of this book review blog for any amount of time you know I'm not a huge modern day fiction girl. I love historical fiction. It's pretty rare for a modern day book to grab my attention. Enter The Language of Sparrows I was hooked in the first page and read for hours finishing the book in a day. Welcome new author Rachel Phifer! Phifer wrote a captivating and deep book. Way to go!

Sierra is precious and I loved her. She was both strong and odd and unique, in all the good
Jul 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
This book brought me to tears more times than I could count. It is a beautiful story of overcoming sorrow. Fifteen year old Sierra cannot even remember her father who died two years earlier. Why is that? Why is it that an old man in her neighborhood is her only friend? Sierra, her mother, Luca, and his son Nick, and Sierra's mother all have issues to work through. Together, with some prayer, in this beautiful novel they do that. I got this book free to preview from Netgalley. I found it amazing ...more
Audrey Grant
Jul 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-book
This book was recommended to me and I am so glad I read it. A brilliant teen girl who is hurting over the death of her father meets an OLD man who is hurting from the loss of his wife and for all intents his son.
They are drawn to each other through their pain and love of words, books & languages.

There are a lot of mistakes & misunderstandings (especially by the adults) but a well written book that shows that life is not perfect...but can be happy and enjoyed.
Karen Stoller
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
I can't stop thinking about this book - the characters became a part of my life for a few days and I continue to think about them. I love the way Rachel developed the independent storyline for each of the characters but also had them all blend in such a beautiful way.

You should read this book!
P.D. Workman (Pamela)
I don't give a lot of five star reviews. This one deserves it. Beautiful, insightful, an inspiring look into some difficult issues.
Jul 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written story that describes loss, heartache, the devastation of mental illness, and how difficult it is to forgive ourselves.
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a novel about pain, loss, and the healing power of faith, friendship & love. The characters are poignant & rich. Luca, Nick, April, Sierra & Carlos’ stories are all intertwined. I became entrenched in their lives & couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. I recommend this book for hIgh school ages and above as the characters are grieving, some from the loss of a loved one & Luca from being in prison as a young father. All the main characters in the story are good ...more
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very well-written, engaging, enjoyable book!

I appreciated getting a glimpse into diverse cultures as well as lifestyles. The author did well in navigating the characters' trials and challenges without making the tone of the book dark or depressing. You come away with a sense of hope and reminder in facing life's ups and downs with the Lord's help. An uplifting read!
martha S Hanson
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks for letting me go on with hope

Do you ever wonder why things happen,a chance meeting or sudden feel as if you were here before. Wonder, wish, prayers all wrapped up in the pages of this book. I was charmed. I have a feeling you will be too.
Dec 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Also posted to Jen in Bookland

4.75 stars
The Language of Sparrows was a beautiful book. Heartbreaking at times, but also full of hope and just really a great story. I wasn't expecting it, so this book really surprised me. There may be some spoilers ahead as I talk about the story.

The book opens with Sierra and her mom. Sierra is fading away, trying to disappear into nothing so no one will notice her. She barely talks as she cannot find the right words, but she is incredibly smart. She starts hang
Paula White
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
I loved this book. The characters are beautifully defined. Suffering and pain are lined with love and hope. Wonderful book!
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written...considering two unlikely characters.
Well-written, with engaging characters, this book is definitely not your average Christian fiction. The people in the book struggle with their faith, but the Christianity didn't feel tacked on or preachy. The only reason I didn't love the book is because the characters are so broken that there is an underlying sadness on every page. The ending is hope-filled, though.
Lan Kang
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I downloaded the book onto my Kindle about two years ago (maybe for free) and it has been sitting there ever since. Finally, got a chance to start reading it on the long distance international flight, and managed to finish it during the trip. It turned out to be a novel beautifully written, without too complicated plots. The tale itself is not that captivating, but its poetic style of writing is rather enticing.
Carol Nicolas
When artist April Wright and her fifteen-year-old daughter, Sierra, move to Houston, Texas, they are trying to escape a past neither of them can get over. But their pain follows them, and April has no idea how to help her brilliant daughter, who learns languages like others eat candy, but who is failing school. Sierra can barely speak to others and does her best to remain invisible. Even her classmate and neighbor, Carlos, has a hard time reaching her, in spite of his compassion and patience. Th ...more
Emilie Hendryx
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: review-copy
Sierra Wright knows so much but is able to say so little. After facing great trauma in her life, her mother April has moved their little family to Texas in hopes of a new start. Sierra can't seem to adjust though, despite her extreme intellect.

Sierra finally comes to find a friend in an older man, Luca, who lives near by. Though he is grouchy and rough around the edges from his time in a Romanian gulag years ago, there is more to this man than meets the eye. Unfortunately, no one, including Luca
Jul 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
April and her teenage daughter Sierra are desperately trying to adjust to life after the death of Sierra’s father. Sierra is a gifted student with an amazing ability to learn and absorb foreign languages, but she has no interest in her studies and is a total misfit at school. In spite of April’s brave efforts to convince herself that everything will turn out all right in the end, Sierra becomes increasingly unable to communicate in any language at all, and becomes more and more isolated.
One day
Susan Kaplan
I won this book as a Goodreads first read. It is a lovely story that could have been trite, as it follows a pretty formulaic story line (young girl's father dies, by his own hand, but she is not told the truth; mother tries to shield her daughter; daughter finds a mentor from whom she is temporarily denied access; resolving family conflicts) but it is beautifully written. The characters are well-developed and are interesting people, the kind of people I would like to meet and get to know better. ...more
Katherine Jones
Aug 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this novel in its entirety on a flight home from Amsterdam–and how grateful I was for its effortless diversion. Though the story lifts off gradually, it didn’t take me long to get pulled into April’s woes–a widowed mom at her wit’s end with worry over her introspective daughter, Sierra. Though I struggled initially to identify with Sierra, April had my immediate sympathy. My interest further piqued at the first hint of the mystery surrounding Gary, Sierra’s dead father, and grew still mor ...more
Abby Jones
This is a Christian slice-of-life type story, which is generally the type of story I run away from screaming and yelling. But, this one came highly recommended…and was free. (I know that makes me a horrible writer. Taking someone’s work for free because it’s not what I usually read. Shame on me.) Over all, I found this a moving, interesting, and unique read. It had more depth than I expected going in. The story is about a broken girl named Sierra who has lost her father. Through the kindness of ...more
Pamela Barrett
May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After her husband died, April took her teenage daughter Sierra back home to Houston. Sierra is a brilliant linguist, but hates her new school. She hasn’t made any friends, she is depressed and her schoolwork is suffering. The apartment and neighborhood her mom can afford is somewhat dangerous. Sierra skips school and roams the streets until she comes to another part of town with big trees and cute houses. It’s there that she meets an old man named Luca. He loves words and books like she does, an ...more
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Language of Sparrows is a dark story of three generations of flawed characters, a mother and daughter, a father and son—all driven by anger, betrayal and despair, as a consequence of trauma, who have managed to survive by hiding from truth. But do they have the strength to face their own personal demons and to forgive themselves and each other? It requires growth. Stepping out of the comfort zone.

In the first half of the book, Rachel Phifer's use of Scripture fits in seamlessly with the char
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“God is not afraid of pain. He does not try to keep us from it. He does not avoid it for Himself.” 5 likes
“God is not afraid of pain. He does not try to keep us from it. He does not avoid it for Himself. So I suppose we should not fear it either.” 1 likes
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