Book Review: Sparrow Road

Sparrow Road by Shelia O’Connor.  Release Date: May 12th, 2011.  (ARC Copy)

Raine O’Rourke’s life is turned upside down when her mother suddenly takes a job at a dilapidated mansion in the middle of nowhere, inhabited by four eccentric artists and owned by a mysterious older man nicknamed Iceberg. With no T.V., phone, or radio, and no talking before dinner, Raine is less than thrilled to spend her summer at Sparrow Road. But soon she embraces her life as she gets to know the other artists and uncovers the mysteries surrounding Sparrow Road. Raine finds out that the house used to serve as an orphanage, and the other artists help her uncover the past. But the mystery of why her mother took the job at Sparrow Road in the first place will be the one that changes Raine’s life forever.

I don’t read middle grade fiction often, but a friend told me I had to read this book. That, plus the fact that the author is from Minnesota, compelled me to pick it up off the ARC cart. Now I realize that I need to read more middle grade fiction because this story was wonderful! O’Conner’s rich language makes the world of Sparrow Road come alive for readers. Raine is a beautifully developed character. She’s insightful, thoughtful, and trying to find her place in the world. She’s also quite the aspiring writer. She imagines detailed and thought-provoking conversations with Lyman Chase, one of the orphans of Sparrow Road. Her imagined conversations will make readers want to create their own stories using the world around them thinking about “what was or what could be,” making this book perfect for Language Arts classes. All of O’Connor’s characters contain hidden depths that the reader gets to unravel throughout the story to see the finished work at the end.

This story is about imagination, creativity, forgiveness, family, growing up and letting go. It is a must read for the summer–so get your copy today!

Lindsey L.