Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Every Sparrow Falling” as Want to Read:
Every Sparrow Falling
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Every Sparrow Falling

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  21 ratings  ·  16 reviews
'Be nice to the majority of people and they won't bother you much. Don't get too involved. Have a laugh but keep your distance.'

These are the words 16-year-old Cariad lives by. She's just been placed in yet another foster home, this time with an elderly Christian couple in a small town off the coast of Northern Ireland.

Cariad knows how to play this game. She'll
Paperback, 160 pages
Published September 5th 2019 by Atom
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Every Sparrow Falling, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Every Sparrow Falling

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-48
Average rating 4.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  21 ratings  ·  16 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Every Sparrow Falling
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Family doesn’t exist, I told myself. Not for people like me, anyway.
Cari has spent her life being bounced from one foster home to the next, never staying in one place long enough for any to feel like family. Now sixteen, her latest placement is with Dawn and Jacky, an elderly couple from Ballybaile, Northern Ireland who are “seasoned God-botherers”.

Three months into this placement Robin Merrow, a boy from Cari’s school, goes missing. The local rumour mill is having a field day, pa
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Frankie at Atom/Little Brown for sending me a copy of this book to review.

'Big Gay Dave took us to the Big Gay Club to have some Big Gay Fun.'

Cariad is used to saying goodbye. Shes had to say that many that its second nature to think that every home she gets sent to will be temporary, so she doesn't bother to get too attached or set her hopes too high when it comes down to finding a family.
When Cariad gets fostered by Dawn & Jacky in Northern Ireland, an older couple wit/>'Big
Peterson Toscano
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shirley McMillan plunges readers into the fraught world of teenagers, and she does so with warmth, humanity, compassion, and humor. Like in her other books, McMillan does not shy away from controversial topics. She meets them head-on. Without being preachy at all, she opens up a world that is in turmoil about some of the most contentious issues of our day.

Most importantly she creates characters, setting, and plot that are utterly compelling. They drew me in and kept me engaged and curious the w
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an addictive read, read the whole thing in one sitting.
Cariad is such a well written character that you can't help but feel for her being in foster homes and the emotional defense mechanisms shes created for herself.

It sheds light on LGBTQ+ topics and religion, that leave you thinking long after you've finished the book.

This is a novel that is well worth a read.
Katrina Reads
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wow, this was an unexpected delight!

I decided to read this book as the main character (Cariad) is a 16 year old girl in foster care. I have previously fostered teenagers and so was intrigued to see how she would be portrayed.

Over the years Cariad has kept her defences up, no-one gets too close and so she won't get hurt. She can't conform to the rules set for her, and, actually when reading you can see partly why! I completely understood her viewpoint. She is placed with a
thewoollygeek (tea, cake, crochet & books)
An amazing read, thought provoking, emotional and addictive. Once I picked this up I really didn’t want to put it down at all. I loved the representation and church discussion, it was very well done and not a direction I thought the book was going to take, but it was so well done. Wonderfully written and relatable and engaging characters that you truly care for, I thoroughly recommend this book, it was a highlight of the books I’ve read so far this year.

Thanks to netgalley and
Annabelle Heath
There's something about the voice of Cariad, the heroine of this story, that draws you in instantly. It's the slightly abrasive, almost rude tone, coupled with her insecurity, I think. She's a child in care trying to put on a tough front, ultimately wanting to be loved and accepted by her new family, but afraid she'll never be good enough. And it comes across so convincingly. I utterly believed her as a character within a few paragraphs, making me wonder if the author has some experience with th ...more
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-and-read, gifted
"Family doesn’t exist, I told myself. Not for people like me, anyway."

Every Sparrow Falling was a beautiful and moving book that I thoroughly enjoyed.
This story centres around acceptance; the acceptance of gay people by the community, of Cariad by her foster parents, of different options and views.
I really liked the LGBTQ+ aspect of this story and how important it was. I appreciated how central it was given that the main character is straight because we don't see that a l
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Religion, fitting in, sexuality, friendship, family —this book touches up all of these and others. We are taken on this journey through the eyes of the protagonist, 16-year-old Cariad, who’s been shunted from foster home to foster home all her life. When she’s placed with Dawn and Jackie in the small Northern Irish town, she is already a hardened cynic, breaker of rules, flouter of expectations. Yet, despite herself, Cari carves out her place in this little world and learns to hope again.
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing and thought provoking book!
It's well written, heart-wrenching, and engrossing.
I appreciated how the writer was able to write the characters amaking you root for them and feel the hurt and the joy. I also appreciated the realisti description of a foster situation.
I liked the style of writing and I think that Cariad is an amazing characters, fleshed out and realistic.
It was a great reading experience and I look forward to reading other books by this author.<
Amanda Evans
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This is a story of finding yourself and living your truth in a world that wants you to be something different. A story of finding home.

Cari is a sixteen-year-old girl who has spent her life moving from foster home to foster home. Now she's living with Dawn and Jackie in Northern Ireland and torn between being herself, the fun-loving teen who likes to drink and smoke and have a good time. Unfortunately for her, this is not what they want. She goes to a church group to please them, but
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
Writing a review will not be simple because I don’t want to tell anything about the plot itself... when I started reading it I thought it was about a mystery (a missing boy) and it is NOT!
This novel tells the stories of a group of people living in the countryside in Northern Ireland. Cariad, the narrator, arrives in her new foster family and has to be part of a Christian youth group while befriending Brains and Muff, gays and together, Stevie B., friend with benefit and Robin an outcast sh
O'Meli Dunz
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shirley did it again! This is an absolute page-turning read. The characters are marvelously created and you can really imagine how life would be walking in their shoes. Also the depiction of living in an Irish village close to the sea, is exactly the way I half-way experienced it myself and would imagine it to be like. The novel is closing with a powerful ending and a very important message. It's definitely a five-star read! I can't wait for future books, Shirley.
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
4.5 stars
Ellie McKee
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourite-books
This book is important. It's important to Northern Ireland. It's important for the LGBTQA+ community, and it's important to the church community.

It's also very important to me personally.

I was a little hesitant to read it, to be honest. I'm a bisexual woman from a very repressed Christian background. I don't like reading about such groups. I don't like the reminder of who I was and what I was part of. It pains me.

This book did pain me in many places, but I'm so thankful Shirley wrote it. I pi
Mrs Craig
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is such a powerful narration! At the start I was not sure I liked or understood the characters but my goodness how they developed. So many strong themes that reall6 made you think.
rated it really liked it
Sep 29, 2019
Leandro Pondoc
rated it liked it
Oct 10, 2019
Alice Ashcroft
rated it it was amazing
Aug 21, 2019
Claire Hennessy
rated it really liked it
Oct 17, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Sep 23, 2019
Ocean Weeks
marked it as to-read
Dec 20, 2018
marked it as to-read
Dec 23, 2018
added it
Dec 25, 2018
Faida orrie
marked it as to-read
Dec 27, 2018
marked it as to-read
Jan 03, 2019
marked it as to-read
Jan 06, 2019
Cat Milburn
marked it as to-read
Jan 09, 2019
Hazel Leu
marked it as to-read
Jan 30, 2019
Megan Weiss
marked it as to-read
Feb 01, 2019
marked it as to-read
Feb 08, 2019
marked it as to-read
Apr 01, 2019
Saruta Valentine
marked it as to-read
Apr 03, 2019
Ashley M
marked it as to-read
Apr 14, 2019
marked it as to-read
May 04, 2019
Demi Parker
marked it as to-read
Jun 17, 2019
Melissa H.
marked it as to-read
Jun 24, 2019
Ellz Bear
marked it as to-read
Jul 23, 2019
marked it as to-read
Aug 02, 2019
Linda Tilling
marked it as to-read
Aug 05, 2019
April Regier
marked it as to-read
Aug 07, 2019
Ana Clarke
marked it as to-read
Aug 07, 2019
marked it as to-read
Aug 17, 2019
Jessie M
marked it as to-read
Aug 19, 2019
Louise Hunter
marked it as to-read
Aug 21, 2019
Mags White
marked it as to-read
Aug 22, 2019
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Deathless Girls
  • Slay
  • Scars Like Wings
  • At Daddy's Hands: Courage Knows No Age
  • The M Word
  • Deeplight
  • No Big Deal
  • The Testaments
  • Jinxed (Jinxed, #1)
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January
  • Full Disclosure
  • I Am Not a Number
  • S.T.A.G.S
  • Sweet Sorrow
  • The Quiet at the End of the World
  • The Black Flamingo
  • A Good Girl's Guide to Murder (A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, #1)
  • Chinglish
  • The Girl of Ink and Stars
  • Havenfall (Havenfall, #1)
  • The Lying Room
  • Hold Your Tongue (DI Eve Hunter, #1)
  • The Memory Wood
  • CTRL S
  • The Long Call (Two Rivers, #1)
  • The God Game
  • Mine
  • The Darkest Bloom (Shadowscent, #1)
  • Gloves Off
  • The Dark Web
See similar books…
Shirley-Anne McMillan was born in 1975 in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. She has studied at Queen’s University, Belfast and Manchester Metropolitan University. Shirley-Anne writes stories for children and young adults, and she has written and performed with Belfast-based arts collective, Ikon, for several years. She lives in South Down where she spends her time as a writer and schools worker.