Monday, February 18, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Sparrow Road

Today’s pick:  Sparrow Road by Sheila O’Connor

G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2011

From Good Reads:
It's the summer before seventh grade, and twelve-year- old Raine O'Rourke's mother suddenly takes a job hours from home at mysterious Sparrow Road- a creepy, dilapidated mansion that houses an eccentric group of artists. As Raine tries to make sense of her new surroundings, she forges friendships with a cast of quirky characters including the outrageous and funky Josie.

Together, Raine and Josie decide to solve the mysteries of Sparrow Road-from its haunting history as an orphanage to the secrets of its silent, brooding owner, Viktor. But it's an unexpected secret from Raine's own life that changes her forever.

An affecting and beautifully written story of family and forgiveness, Sparrow Road is an incredible gift.

My Take: 

I enjoyed this book about Raine working to figure out what it means to have a family and where she fits in the world. It’s a quieter story, but the author does a wonderful job of holding the reader’s attention through creating an authentic main character.

As a writer, I loved the unique descriptive phrases the author used, as well as the distinctive story voice. I’d read this novel again to learn about word choice and phrasing, because the words seem to be chosen with a lot of care to create lovely images.

Favourite quotes:

“Every day Josie sewed a brand-new patch of memory so in the end her summer would be a kind of quilt.”

“Art just has to be. Dream your dreams. Trust the words that come.”

Other Info:

Sheila O’Connor was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and lives there now. She started writing when she was in fourth grade.
According to the author's website, “Her favorite writing ritual is to walk across the snow or grass with a thermos in her hand, and her best pal Rollo at her feet, and step into the perfect quiet of her cottage, where her next page is waiting to be written.”

Other books by this author include:

Keeping Safe the Stars
Tokens of Grace

When No Gods Came

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was dreamed up by the incredible Shannon Messenger, author of Keeper of the Lost Cities. Visit her blog for an up-to-date list of all the bloggers who are participating and posting about middle grade books today!



  1. Thanks for sharing about this. I've heard great things about it from anyone who has reviewed it.

  2. I enjoyed this one. It's a soft, quiet read with such deep undertones.

  3. I need to study this one then, because description is not the strongest tool in my tool box.

    (I enjoyed seeing the MiG writers video of you all enjoying yourselves at SCBWI NY!! What fun!)

    1. Thanks, Michael. That Christina Farley is a genius when it comes to doing video!

  4. I enjoyed Keeping Safe the Stars so I am looking forward to reading this one!

  5. This definitely sounds like a quiet book. Have you read The Humming Room? It reminds me of parts of that book.

    1. Oh, I loved The Humming Room! I featured it a while back.

  6. I've been getting those horrible spambots posters, like the one right above my comment, from "anonymous" too and had to finally block all anonymous posters since blogger coudln't catch them all.

    Now to get on with my real comment, this MG mystery sounds excellent. Thank you for sharing. I've put it on my must get list :)

    1. Catherine, I know what you mean about the spam. I have it set up so that my older posts are moderated, but I also don't like to make it hard for people to comment. Wish Blogger would find a better way (like an option for moderating anonymous comments, maybe). Thanks for posting!

  7. I love all the new books I hear about through these MGM posts. :) and I really enjoy a meaningful quiet book. Thanks for the recommendation!

  8. I've wanted to read her book Keeping Safe the Stars and now I need to add this one to the list. As much as I love speculative fiction, I also love the quiet, well-written ones. Thanks for this!

  9. Totally cute cover! Thanks for sharing.

  10. this sounds like a good one. And, I love the author's ritual of walking to her cottage where the next page is waiting to be written.

  11. I love character driven novels. I need to read more MG!


  12. I love the cover and the book sounds awesome. The first quote you shared is pure magic. I look forward to reading this one!


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