Chelsea Couillard-Smith's Reviews > Sparrow Road

Sparrow Road by Sheila O'Connor
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's review
Nov 02, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: middle-grade-fiction

** spoiler alert ** This book really surprised me. 12 year old Raine is suddenly uprooted from her Milwaukee home when her mom decides to spend the summer working at a rural artist retreat. The house on Sparrow Road where Raine finds herself used to be an orphanage, and it seems like Viktor, the taciturn owner and Lillian, a sweet elderly poet have a history there that they won't speak about. At the same time, Raine is mystified by her mother's strange behavior and her refusal to explain why they came to Sparrow Road in the first place.

The mystery of their presence there is revealed fairly early on, which surprised me but opened up the remainder of the book to focus on a truly authentic look at a young person's experience of getting to know a previously unknown parent. I was really impressed with O'Connor's depiction of the hesitation, fear, guilt, and anger both Raine and her father struggle with as they navigate their relationship.

The mystery of Viktor and Lillian's relationship doesn't come until the end, and satisfies without feeling contrived. The orphanage's history and the fate of its residents is left more vague, but that also feels authentic. Both storylines along with the wonderful other characters, artists Diego, Josie, and Eleanor, keep the story engrossing and enjoyable. If I had one quibble, it would be with the overly-mature voice of Raine at times. Otherwise, I couldn't put this one down. Well-written, enagaging, and lovely.


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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Brendle I totally agree with your quibble of the too mature voice. It actually bothered me quite a bit and threw me right out of the story.

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