Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney

Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney

by Suzanne Harper
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Hardcover(Library Binding - Library Bound Edition)

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Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney by Suzanne Harper

How do you ignore a ghost?

Sparrow Delaney absolutely, positively does not want to be a medium like her six older sisters, her mother, and her grandmother. She does not want to see, hear, smell, or talk to ghosts. If she sticks to her rules and doesn't let anyone know that she can do all those things—everywhere, all the time—Sparrow just might pass as a normal tenth grader at her new high school. She makes a new best friend and meets an irritatingly appealing guy in her history class. But when another boy catches her eye, all Sparrow's dreams of being ordinary go up in smoke. Because this boy is a dead one—a persistent, charming, infuriating ghost, who won't let her be until she agrees to help him Move On.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061131592
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/03/2007
Edition description: Library Bound Edition
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 1.50(h) x 9.50(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Suzanne Harper grew up in Texas and lives in New York City.

Read an Excerpt

The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney

Chapter One

It was three minutes past midnight, and the dead wouldn't leave me alone. I pulled my pillow over my head to shut out the voices floating up from downstairs, but it didn't help. Tonight it was Grandma Bee, my mother, and my sister Oriole who were channeling messages from the Other Side.

First I heard Grandma Bee. "I see an older woman. She's short, a little pudgy, her dentures don't fit well, and she's squinting. Looks like she has a migraine. Hmm. And maybe a touch of indigestion."

Then the voice of my grandmother's visitor: "That's my great-aunt Agatha! That's her to a tee!"

"Hmmph." Grandma Bee loathes being interrupted. I can just imagine the irate glare she's leveling at her visitor. It's been months since we've had enough money to get my grandmother's glasses fixed, so they sit askew on her nose, one side held together with a large safety pin. The thick lenses magnify her eyes and make them look rather wild. The crooked tilt of the frames make her look slightly mad. The combination—plus Grandma Bee's death-ray stare—usually silences . . . well, everybody.

This woman, however, kept gushing. "I can't get over it! It's absolutely uncanny! You've described her perfectly!"

I knew what Grandma Bee would like to say: Of course I've described her perfectly. I am after all a professional medium. And your great-aunt is standing right here in front of me.

But it's not good business to snap at paying customers, so she contented herself with a louder hmmph and an irritable clack of her dentures before continuing. "NowI'm getting something else. . . . Oh, she says you're not using enough salt when you make her potato soup." A note of boredom entered Grandma Bee's voice. She hates it when ghosts talk about recipes; she only deigns to turn on the stove when she wants to brew some of her homemade weed killer. "And she says to add some bacon grease, for heaven's sake. A little fat won't kill you."

"Oh, thank you!" The visitor sighed happily at this seasoning tip from beyond the grave. "Would it be all right if I asked just one more little question? It's about the number of onions she said to use. . . ."

I threw my pillow on the floor and gave a huge, irritable yawn. Earlier in the evening I had sat at my bedroom window and peered down at tonight's visitors as they walked up our cracked front sidewalk. I counted five people, meaning that the reading should have lasted about two hours, but the spirits were very chatty tonight. We were closing in on three hours with no end in sight.

Unfortunately, I have always found it impossible to fall asleep until every stranger, living or dead, has left our house. This has led to many late nights and cranky mornings because my grandmother and mother have been hosting psychic readings—or, as spiritualists say, serving Spirit—in our front parlor since before I was born.

I closed my eyes and tried to relax, but it wasn't just the ghosts that were keeping me awake. Tomorrow was my fifteenth birthday—undoubtedly the begining of a new and brilliant future!—and right after that was the first day of school. And this year the start of school was even scarier (and more thrilling) than usual.

The reason was simple: I had always assumed that I would go to Jamestown High School, just as my six (yes, count them, six) older sisters had. But some sort of redistricting plan was put into place last year. After all the lines had been redrawn, it turned out that I lived in a borderline area, so I could choose to attend either Jamestown High or a huge, recently consolidated high school thirty miles away.

Hmm, let's see . . . I could go to the school where my sisters had spent years making a, shall we say, vivid impression, and where I would attend classes with people I had known since kindergarten. Or I could go to a brand-new school and meet brand-new people and make a brand-new start on my life. What to do, what to do?

We had three months to decide. It took me about three seconds.

I was the only person in my town who chose the new school, mainly because nobody else wanted a forty-five-minute bus ride each morning and afternoon. I didn't care. I would have traveled twice as far to end up in a place where I didn't know anyone and, most crucially, no one knew me.

Because when you have a deep, dark secret to hide, a new beginning is a very good thing.

12:15 A.M.

I stared at the ceiling. Through a quirk in our old house's heating system, the hushed voices on the first floor floated up into my attic bedroom with perfect clarity.

"May I come to you?" Oriole asked another visitor. (There are several ways that mediums can ask if a person would like to hear a message from beyond the grave. Some people say, "May I share your energy, my friend?" while others say, "May I enter your vibration?" The important thing, my mother says, is to ask. "It's only polite, my darlings," she always adds.)

The sound of my sister's voice brought her image in front of me as clearly as if I were sitting opposite her in the dimly lit parlor: She sits on a faded green couch, the perfect backdrop for her long silver blond hair. Candlelight flickers over her pale, luminous skin. She is gazing into the distance, an otherworldly look on her face. (She spent months practicing that expression and then ended up looking like Joan of Arc's less stable sister.)

"You have suffered a disappointment in love recently," Oriole said.

The visitor caught her breath with amazement. Visitors always do, even though just about everyone has suffered a disappointment in love recently, depending . . .

The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney. Copyright (c) by Suzanne Harper . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Goose-Girl More than 1 year ago
The only reason I purchased The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney was because Barnes and Noble had it on sale. I expected the book to be just ok and probably one I would just finish and move on from. I was pleasantly surprised though, when the book far exceeded my expectations. Sparrow is a relatable character who doesn't fall into the stereotypical gender role. This book is not only a fun, easy read for teens, but young adults and even adults as well. The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney is has humor, and other emotions. The writing makes you smile or laugh at times, and feel the sadness of events at others. Great Read :)
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
For Sparrow Delaney, having to switch schools before starting tenth grade isn't a curse--it's a blessing. All her life she's wanted to be normal, and now that she's found a chance to start over, she's not about to let anything ruin it. But it's hard to live a normal life when your sisters, mother, and grandmother are all mediums, in contact with the spirit world, and when you live in Lily Dale, New York, a town devoted to spiritualism where s¿ances are regular activities and everyone you meet has some affinity for the dead. It only gets harder when you hear the dead, too.

As the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, Sparrow is an exceptionally powerful medium. She's been seeing ghosts since she was five years old, and she knows her talents far surpass those of anyone else she's met. But Sparrow has always wanted more from life than being a medium, so from a young age, she's hidden her gifts, pretending that she cannot communicate with the dead at all. She sees her move to a new school as a chance to finally break away from the teasing that's always followed her, and the first step in becoming someone who has no need for annoying spirits who refuse to Move On.

Unfortunately for Sparrow, the spirits don't care too much about what she wants. On the first day of school, the spirit of a teen named Luke appears to her and urges her to help him solve the problems that are keeping him from Moving On. Sparrow ignores him at first, but Luke is more persistent than the other ghosts she's shrugged off over the years, and eventually she finds herself grudgingly listening to his story. Sparrow also has to deal with a history project partner, Will, who decides they should focus their local history report on Lily Dale and "those psychic quacks" who live there. Not to mention the continued worrying of her mother, grandmother, and sisters about her apparent lack of talents.

I came into this story less than thrilled by the premise, but I was quickly won over by Sparrow's first-person voice as she articulated all of the difficulties of being a teenage medium trying to hide her talents. The author does a good job of painting realistic--albeit quirky--relationships between Sparrow and her family members and new-found friends. The intricacies of her interactions with Luke and Will kept me wanting to know more about all of the characters involved. Even readers put off by the story's fantastic premise will be sucked into the drama of Sparrow's life and fly through the plot's twists and turns until they reach what I felt was a very satisfying conclusion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's sometimes amazing how far one will lie to stay 'normal,' even if it means ignoring your own 'talents.' However, Sparrow Delaney has had lots of practice. The seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, Sparrow's family has been waiting for fifteen years for her 'powers' relating to ghosts to appear. That's right, ghosts. Sparrow's entire family (including her six sister Raven, Oriole, Lark, Linnet, Wren, and Dove, her mother, and her Grandmother Bee) have psychic powers. Which isn't too out-of-the-ordinary in Lily Dale, New York. Sparrow wants nothing to do with it. But what happens when one persistent ghost won't leave her alone until she helps 'right a terrible wrong'? And what does this have to do with her history partner, the gorgeous but (as Sparrow claims) sarcastic and rude Jack Dawson? I found this book amazing, and recommend it to anyone! It is NOT a creepy, horror ghost story, but a wit-filled, finding-yourself story brushed with a sprinkle of irony and sarcasm.
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The-Book-Worm More than 1 year ago
At first I thought ehh, why not, but I was unsure about it when I bought it. I finished it in a day and a half, loved every page. I got to the end and while happy with how it worked out wanted more of a story. The characters are interesting and funny, keeping me smiling through out the story. I thought that perhaps the story wouldn't be fitting for me due to being older then the main character but I was glad to be proved wrong.
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ZeroG57 More than 1 year ago
I got this as a bargain book just because it was cheap and didn't exactly have high hopes. BOY WAS I WRONG! Great read, funny book, really good
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Jaynez More than 1 year ago
It was an okay story, but some parts kind of dragged for me. I felt that it took too long for her to do anything and then it was wrapped up too nicely. Overall, it was a story about a girl accepting her family and the quirks life has given her.
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When I took out this book I thought it looked alright, I didn't think it was going to be good. But once I started reading it I couldn't put it down. The topic about ghosts was so different and interesting. It was kind of predictable but it was well written. I thought that the ending was really nice. After reading this book it left me feeling very happy. ~T~
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Marilyn_Jareds More than 1 year ago
I just finished this book after a recommendation from my librarian. I hope that many people read this book! ;)
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