Twelve-year-old Rainne is not happy. Her mother just took a summer job at an artist’s sanctuary called Sparrow Road and she’s forcing Raine to go with her. Rainne would rather stay in Milwaukee with her Grandpa Mac, working in his store and eating all the candy she can get her hands on. It’s always been that way, and she doesn’t understand why it has to change now. To make matters worse, Sparrow Road has all sorts of rules, the worst being that you are not allowed to talk except for after dinner and on Sundays.
As soon as Rainne arrives, she is devising an escape plan. Surely her mother won’t make her stay here all summer. Maybe she can convince Grandpa Mac to come get her. As Rainne settles in at Sparrow Road, she gets to know some of the quirky artists and writers that reside there, and she begins tapping into some of her own unknown talents. She also learns that Sparrow Road used to be an orphanage and there are many secrets waiting to be discovered. As the days pass, and Rainne settles in with the artists, a number of things begin taking place that Rainne doesn’t understand.
Why does she get the feeling that her mother knows Viktor, the caretaker, better than she lets on? Why is Rainne not allowed to go into town with her mother when she runs errands? Why do the residents of Sparrow Road still talk about the orphans that used to live there as if they still exist? As the summer progresses, Rainne will uncover the answers to these questions, and some of them will change her life forever.
I fell in love with this book from the very first page. The prose is fluid and very descriptive. Every scene is painted so vividly I felt as if I was there. The characters are all very well drawn and realistic and the story itself is filled with the right amount of humor, mischief, mystery and hope to keep the reader wanting more. The story is told from Rainne’s point-of-view, but the rest of the characters are just as colorful and very important in moving the story forward. Though the novel is geared toward middle-grade readers, adults and young adults alike will find much to love in Ms. O’Connor’s story of family, self-discovery and forgiveness. This is the perfect book to take to the beach, or to curl up with under a tree this summer.
- This reviewer also blogs at www.booktwirps.com
- Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
- Date of publication: May 12, 2011