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3.77  ·  Rating details ·  2,920 Ratings  ·  226 Reviews
When Sprout and his father move from Long Island to Kansas after the death of his mother, he is sure he will find no friends, no love, no beauty. But friends find him, the strangeness of the landscape fascinates him, and when love shows up in an unexpected place, it proves impossible to hold. An incredible, literary story of a boy who knows he's gay, and the town that seem ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books (first published May 26th 2009)
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Cross posted at Shelf Inflicted and at Outlaw Reviews

Daniel Bradford (aka Sprout) is the new boy in school. He moved from Long Island to rural Kansas with his alcoholic father when he was twelve.

He dyes his hair green, has a way with words, makes new friends, and even finds a boyfriend.

This story was a little funny and a little sad. It dredged up some of my own painful memories of moving from the “Big City” to "the Country"). I can totally relate to Sprout's feelings about having to adapt to a
Jul 28, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
*HEADDESK* This book pretty much sucked. It opened really well, with Daniel aka Sprout, as this interesting engaging main character and the other characters like Mrs. Miller, his dad, Ian, and Ruthie that were well drawn out and moved the plot along. Then they introduced Ty and the whole thing just went to shit. Instead of an interesting look at this kid and his life, it became the most boring didactic queer rural novel you will ever read. Do you enjoy reading about people in the woods doing thi ...more
"Sprout" is about Daniel Bradford, aka Sprout, a unique individual that has dyed his hair green and is also gay. And the thing is is that he though he knows he is gay, it's not like a secret or anything. He just doesn't want to come out to everyone at school, doesn't want the publicity or being known for that one aspect of his life. However, it's tough when your mom has passed away and your dad is always drunk, and on top of that he has just moved from his old home to some strange Kentucky place ...more
Steph Bowe
Aug 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book - Sprout was a funny and engaging character, and the novel was structured like he was writing it - in parts essays for Mrs Miller, the senior English teacher who likes inventing cocktails and has taken Sprout under her wing to train him for the State Essay Contest, and thoughts of his own. It was kind of hard to discern when it stopped being essays and started being his private thoughts, and I loved the confusing, sprawling way in which it was written.

The characters all had dep
Dec 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen-queer
This book is compelling, literary, beautifully written with well developed characters, both adult and teen. It is smart, funny and heartbreaking and not predictable at all. My only problem with it is that I wanted more. I felt like all the character’s stories were left unfinished. I will be thinking about scenes of this book for a long time.

The basic plot is smart, irreverent, and funny gay teen in small town Kansas. Add an alcoholic father, dead mother, hilarious writing teacher, and interesti
“Well, uh. I mean, have you, you know? Acted on your, um, feelings?”
Think about that for a minute. Do you honestly believe Mrs. M. would ever ask, oh, let’s say Ian Abernathy, if he was having sex? So, Ian, I hear you’ve joined the ranks of card-carrying heterosexuals. Gotten any action yet? Yeah, me neither.
I don't know where to start when talking about Sprout because, to be honest, I have mixed feelings about it.

It all started OK, I guess, until endless descriptions, telling-not-showing, a
Oct 11, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, ccbc-choices
There are some great things about this book...and some not-so-great things that threaten to ruin it.

Sprout is an intelligent, quirky, likeable narrator, and his narration style is delightfully self-aware. His situation--being the son of an alcoholic widower who's just randomly moved the family from Long Island to Kansas--has all the makings of a thoughtful (or maybe just stereotypical) coming-of-age novel.

For the first half of the book, the plot seems to hinge around Sprout's relationship with h
This is a great read about a young gay man coming into his own. He's smart and is intent on letting us know that. He's a writer and he loves playing word games -- almost as much as you'll love his style.

His situation is quirky and his life is complex, but he's charming and you quickly find yourself rooting for him.

While he's smart and able to take care of himself (and take care of an athletic bully who can't help tormenting him), when he meets another guy who's suffered a loss as big as his ow
Ulysses Dietz
Feb 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I sat with a longtime acquaintance on the train the other day; he handles YA novels for a major publisher. When I brought up a couple of my favorite YA authors (both reviewed here)who focus on gay teens, he dismissed gay books as "usually bad." A gay man dismissing gay-themed YA books as bad--without actually knowing either of the authors' work. I could have slugged him. But he's otherwise a nice guy, so I let it pass.

Having just finished Dale Peck's "Sprout," recommended to me by a friend on Af
Jun 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer, ya
I greatly enjoyed this book, however I'm going to warn you now that there is no happy ending. It is bitter sweet, but not happy, which makes it one of the best endings I've read, but still torturous for your soul. What can I say, I'm a bit of a masochist. The syntax and word choice was of course beautiful, just as it was meant to be. Peck is an author that excels at choosing the perfect word, not just the good-enough words.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Blake Fraina
Quite a few of my fellow readers adhere to what is commonly referred to as "The 25 Page Rule." This means that if they aren’t enjoying a book by the time they’re 25 pages in, they abandon it. Well, I pity those folks because I can’t tell you how many rewarding reading experiences I might’ve missed if I gave up on books that quickly. Dale Peck’s Sprout certainly falls into that category. I think I was grinding my teeth through about 90% of this one, but I necked it out to the end and am so gratef ...more
May 14, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am really conflicted about this book. I LOVED the first part. That all-consuming-must-have-more-please-don't-let-it-ever-stop kind of love. I made three pages of notes. I was charmed by this green haired boy who, while smart as hell, wasn't as annoying and stuck up as most of the really smart YA characters. Then I kept listening, and the second half of the story hit and the magic slowly started to bleed away.

In fact, I am so disheartened by the last half of this story, I can't even be arsed t
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

After his mother died of cancer, Sprout and his father packed their belongings and moved from Long Island to Hutchison, Kansas. They may as well moved to another planet. Sprout has been in Kansas for years now, but is still the new kid. His green hair makes him stand out as it is, but add in his eccentric, alcoholic father and the fact that he’s an in-the-closet gay teenager in the reddest red state in the country and there’s no way he
Jun 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmmm...this one is a conundrum. Very complex and layered. It needs another reading.

This is definitely a character study. All of the characters are complex individuals with both goodness and flaws. They are all unforgettable, especially Daniel (Sprout) Bradford, from whose perspective we get the story and Ty, the boy who becomes Sprout's boyfriend. The writing is at once heart-breaking and hilarious. It will be a tough read for teens because the language is intelligent (Sprout is a budding writer
Bloomsbury, 2009 978-1-59990-160-2 $16.99

Sprout, so known for his dyed green hair, and his dad have moved from Long Island to the middle of nowhere in Kansas after the death of Sprout’s mother. His father settles them into a trailer on some land outside of town, and spends most of his time drinking. Sprout gets the usual hazing at school, but finds a friend in Ruth Wilcox, another smart outsider. Mrs. Miller, the Senior English teacher decides he should enter into the state essay contest, and ha
Aug 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
i think this is a case of liking the narrative and hating how the characters ended up. the book has a intriguing protagonist who veers off into the land of vagueness. i couldn't really lose myself into the story after ty's entry because the entire narrative shifted instead of telling us about why sprout feels (and does things) the way he does. [and that was what i was expecting]

the later parts of the book felt was like seeing through a haze of marijuana- er, hemp smoke, strange and unreal.
A.M. Riley
May 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is so nice to read a well-written ya book with a gay protagonist. I am now working my way through Dale Peck's other books. Can't believe I only now discovered him. Fantastic!
Raymond Mathiesen
Sprout by Dale Peck


The question of who I really am and why did I do that?

Sprout is the outsider: the guy who didn't grow up in the small town of Hutchinson, Kansas. He felt so much of an outsider that he dies his hair green during the first week of school at Buhler High. That week he gets the special attention of Ruthie Wilcox and Ian Abernathy, both of whom will become, in different ways, important people in his life. How can a boy from Long Island survive in the country? Somewhere along the line Mrs. Mill
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2-stars, missing-mom
This was a very bizarre book. Though that might have been me as I vaguely remember being possibly half-asleep whenever I read it. That's not to say that the book itself is boring, no, I was just really tired but wanted to finish it. Although, this isn't really because the book has a thrilling promise of an answered question or a cliffhanger, but it was just bizarre enough that I could never tell what direction it was going. The entire thing read really really strange to me. The characters flitti ...more
May 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.

I bought Sprout quite a few years ago, but just never got around to reading. Having now read it, I so wish I had picked it up when I first bought it! Sprout is a brilliant, moving and witty story of one boy's less than perfect life.

At 12, after the death of his mother, Sprout's father up sticks and drags Sprout from his home and friends in New York all the way to a town the middle of nowhere, Kansas. Four years of being the new guy and suffering taunts b
May 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: glbt, ya-lit
Hm...where to begin? I thought up some funny responses to this book while reading, but didn't write them down before they crapped out the back of my brain.

Sprout (a.k.a. Daniel) is 16 and growing up in rural Kansas after being transplanted following the death of his mother and his father's descent into alcoholism four years ago. Sound like a hard life? Toss in the fact that he's gay and you've got the American Dream. Also, he has hair as green as a Wicked Witch's titty.

Did I mention the son of a
Jul 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Dale Peck’s latest novel is the story of Sprout, a teenage boy trying to deal with the death of his mother, his alcoholic father and his sexuality in a narrow minded Kansas town. Sprout follows the protagonist through his day to day life as he prepares for a state essay contest, copes with the pain of dyeing his hair bright green (hence the nickname), loses his virginity and falls in love for the first time.

Sprout is an interesting novel, not only because it deals with complex issues and leaps f
May 21, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amazon-vine
Sprout Bradford has a secret. Everyone knows it. But no one talks about it. It isn't what you think. His secret has nothing to do with his green hair, his romantic relationships, or even his dysfunctional family life.

All of the characters might know the secret at the center of Sprout (2009) by Dale Peck. But after finishing the novel, I still have no idea.

The premise behind Sprout is rather clever. Preparing to compete in a state essay contest in Kansas the chapters of the story are, for the mos
May 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I honestly don't have enough words to figure out how to describe this book. The best description I suppose is.... nope, can't do it. I loved it, and the characters felt so real, but the lack of ending frustrated me in a way no other book has. We all want a happy ending, be it in our books or in real life. I realize that trying to find the right ending for Sprout and Ty would have.... I don't know, devalued their relationship in some way? There may not be one right ending, despite what the reader ...more
Jan 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very intelligently written about a bright character who is himself an author. Hm, could it be somewhat autobiographical, one wonders? As much as I enjoyed reading it, I don't see it as a best choice for the Peach nominees. Even though Peck (and Sprout, his writer-character) works hard to keep the story clean enough to go on the shelves of the fictional high school in Kansas that he attends, it isn't the one f-bomb or solely the physicality of a homosexual romance that makes me think it verges on ...more
Daniel's mother dies of cancer when he's 12. His father sells their house with no warning, drives them from NY to Kansas, buys a trailer in the middle of nowhere, and sets about drinking himself into as much oblivion as he can. Daniel, realizing he'll never in a million years fit in at his new school, dyes his hair green, renames himself Sprout, and starts figuring out what it means to be gay in Kansas. Four years later, his hair is still green, his father is still drunk, and Sprout meets a kid ...more
Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is the riveting tale of Sprout Bradford. A teen boy whose life drastically changes after his mother passes away. His father suddenly moves him from his Long Island home to a trailer in the middle of nowhere Kansas. He struggles with fitting in with his peers, his father’s alcoholism and being gay where such things are not discussed. Sprout deals with his problems by dying his hair green and writing his thoughts down. After a few years, an English teacher takes notice of his writing sk ...more
Krista Stevens
This book has received many accolades - and I can see why given the myriad conflicts that the 16 year old protagonist has to traverse and I liked Sprout (who couldn't like a kid with green hair)up to a point. First though, his writing teacher. No, no, no - what she does is just wrong on so many points; I am a teacher and I've known teachers (both for more than 25 years) and none of us would "wink, wink" let a kid drink alcohol at our homes. That put me off right there. And she's too smarmy. Both ...more
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: high schoolers (grab a dictionary)
Sprout was a novel I could relate to (albeit only by the sexuality of the main character). I seem to have a tendency or urge that propels me to rate highly of books that move me. Emotionally, that is. The book follows the ever-heartwrenching love-then-too-soon-lost scheme, but you better believe it is a unique and fresh story. Although, the word "story" seems to do this book an injustice.
It was very much so a sort of insight into the narrator's mind and conscious. It was...absorbing and realist
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The Backlot Gay B...: Sprout, by Dale Peck 4 25 Feb 08, 2014 11:47AM  
The Subjunctive tense error? 4 17 Jan 26, 2013 10:30AM  
Cave Canem? 2 15 Aug 05, 2012 05:12AM  
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Dale Peck (born 1967 on Long Island, New York) is an American novelist, critic, and columnist. His 2009 novel, Sprout, won the Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Children's/Young Adult literature, and was a finalist for the Stonewall Book Award in the Children's and Young Adult Literature category.
More about Dale Peck...

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“Sometimes when we think we’re protecting ourselves, we’re really hurting ourselves. And sometimes the people around us too.” 8 likes
“Your past comes with you no matter where you go.” 6 likes
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