Sparrow Road

Sparrow Road

4.6 28
by Sheila O'Connor
     
 

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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… See more details below

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—Twelve-year-old Raine O'Rourke cannot understand why her single mother has abruptly decided to leave their Milwaukee home and her beloved Grandpa Mac to live and work for the summer at an old Lake Michigan estate. Sparrow Road, once an orphanage, is owned and run as an artist colony by stern, enigmatic Viktor Berglund, who imposes strict rules of conduct such as silence until dinner, and Raine is further restricted from leaving the premises, even as her mother and Viktor make mysterious trips to town. She tries to make the best of the situation, exploring the attic where vestiges of the orphanage give her fodder for her own writing, as she uses slim clues to create the persona of orphan Lyman Chase. With help from Diego, a wise and kindly artist, and flamboyant craftswoman Josie, Raine begins to adjust until the real reason for her mother's decision is revealed: the father she has never even heard of lives nearby and wants to meet and get to know her. What follows is a thoughtful coming-of-age story that explores old and new relationships and conflicting family loyalties as Raine learns important things about herself and is left to make a serious decision about her father. Adding interest to this novel, set in a time before computers and cell phones, is a touch of mystery surrounding the orphanage, and Josie's brainchild of an Art Extravaganza that brings townspeople and former orphans back to Sparrow Road. Lyrical writing in this first-person narrative, good character development, and a sympathetic heroine will keep readers absorbed.—Marie Orlando, formerly at Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
Children's Literature - Jody Little
Twelve-year-old Raine is not happy about moving to Sparrow Road for the summer, but her mother has been hired to cook and clean for the visiting artists. When they arrive, Raine discovers that Sparrow Road is filled with surprises and secrets. Even her mom seems to be keeping secrets. Raine wants to learn why they are really on Sparrow Road and why her mother keeps making trips into the nearby town, Comfort, without her. Gradually, Raine befriends several of the artists, including a kind, but frail poet named Lillian and an exuberant quilter named Josie. Together, Raine and Josie make some discoveries about Sparrow Road. First, they learn that the home was once an orphanage. They decide to locate some of the children who once lived in the home. Then Raine discovers that the real reason she has come to Sparrow Road is to meet her long missing father, and she begins to think about what it means to be without a parent, reflecting on the confused feelings she has always had about her father. Surrounded by a new, beloved family of artists at Sparrow Road, Raine must decide what she wants for her future. Does she want to return with her mother to Milwaukee, where her dear grandfather lives? Or does she want to stay at Sparrow Road near her father? This quiet, heartfelt middle grade novel has a lovely melodic tone. It is slow-paced, but it is filled with memorable characters and touches upon the importance of a family and the stability and warmth that a loving family can provide. Reviewer: Jody Little
Kirkus Reviews

The mystery of why her mother suddenly took a job at a summer artists' refuge far from home is solved when 12-year-old Raine meets Gray James, the father she never knew.

But that's only a piece of the puzzle of what was and what could be at Sparrow Road and in her life. The crumbling country estate, a former orphanage, is a place readers will want to explore. It is suffused with a sense of longing, the same wistful atmosphere surrounding the characters in this beautifully written novel, with its leisurely revelation of secrets and sad events of the past. Remarkably, O'Connor has peopled her story almost entirely with grown-ups: Raine's family; Viktor, the mysterious owner; and Lillian, Josie, Diego and Eleanor, artists working there for the summer. These are well-developed secondary characters, each with a distinct personality, but this is fully Raine's tale. The adults nurture her, but they also set her free to discover herself, her family and her own artistry. She and Josie, the quilt maker, piece together the history of the house while Raine imagines, dreams and reconstructs her former contentment, shattered by revelations about her father's alcoholism and her grandfather's anger. Set perhaps 30 years ago, the specific time and place are unimportant.

Readers finding themselves in this quiet world will find plenty of space to imagine and dream for themselves.(Fiction. 10-14)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101515105
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
05/12/2011
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
284,446
Lexile:
530L (what's this?)
File size:
0 MB
Age Range:
10 Years

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