“No music. No TV. No computer. No telephone.
And everyday, silence until supper.”
Those are the rules of Sparrow Road, an eerie artist mansion in the country, where Raine O’Rourke is forced to spend her summer. And worse, she can’t figure out why her mother agreed to work there as a cook. “Not everything’s a mystery,” her mother warns, when Raine pesters her with questions, but Sparrow Road is full of secrets Raine intends to solve. Why did her mother take this sudden job out in the country? What’s the truth behind the silent, brooding owner, Viktor? The aging poet, Lillian? What happened to the missing orphans that lived once in the attic? Cheered on by a cast of quirky artists that live there at the mansion, Raine sets out in search of clues. It's a summer full of mysteries and strange adventures, but it’s an unexpected secret from Raine’s own life that changes her forever.
A delightful story about improbable friendships and the power of imagination, Sparrow Road is an enchanted world that will win the reader’s heart.
Now available in Hardcover and Paperback
|Winner of the 2012 International Reading Association Award for Intermediate Fiction
Sparrow Road News 2012 Midwest Booksellers Choice Awards Finalist!
2011 Voya Best Book
2011 Booklist Best Book
2011 Chicago Public Library Best of the Best
2012 Bank Street Best Books
2011 Pennsylvania School Librarians Assoc. Best
Praise for Sparrow Road:
Kirkus Starred Review: “Sparrow Road…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…. Readers finding themselves in this quiet world will find plenty of space to imagine and dream for themselves.” — Kirkus Reviews
Booklist Starred Review: "That O'Connor can write a book with essentially only one young character and have the result be a timeless piece of middle-grade fiction is a tribute to her understanding that emotions are universal, no matter how old we are, and that art is a balm that has the ability to soothe all wounds. A special book". — Ilene Cooper
“With believable characters and lyrical first-person narrative, O'Connor skillfully explores the complexities of mother-daughter relationships with sensitivity and humor in this charming coming-of-age story.” –The Family Beat
“…the strength of even imperfect human connections is celebrated through the relationships among a multitude of vivid and varied characters.” — Recommended Review The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Lyrical writing in this first-person narrative, good character development, and a sympathetic heroine will keep readers absorbed." — School Library Journal
“An artist compound with no other children in sight may seem an unusual setting for a young adult novel. But O'Connor, a longtime poet with the Writer-in-the-Schools program who teaches fiction in the MFA program at Hamline University, is at her best when she's showing how these artists reveal themselves to their young visitor.” — Minneapolis Star Tribune
"If you love mysterious, stunning, entertaining, mind-blowing books this one is just for you!" — New Moon Girls
"Sparrow Road by Sheila O’Connor is a beautifully told coming of age story ... I highly recommend it for mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 9 to 12 or even up to 14." — Mother Daughter Bookclub; Cindy Hudson
"Sparrow Road is a book that strikes—and gentles—with Truth. Here is a world of Sorrow and Comfort, crafted by an artist who dares to suggest, without sentimentality but with a hard-nosed realism, that a broken world can be renewed through love and daring and community and art. What a sweet and hopeful and engaging story." —Gary Schmidt, Newbery Honor-winning author of Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and The Wednesday Wars
"Sparrow Road is a book that strikes--and gentles--with Truth. Here is a world of Sorrow and Comfort, crafted by an artist who dares to suggest, without sentimentality but with a hard-nosed realism, that a broken world can be renewed through love and daring and community and art. What a sweet and hopeful and engaging story. Who would not want to live nearby?"
—Gary Schmidt, Newbery Honor-winning author of Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and The Wednesday Wars
"Sparrow Road has restored my faith in middle grade fiction…a beautiful ode to creativity, kindness and the power of forgiveness."—Collette Morgan; Wild Rumpus Book Store
"I want to live in Sparrow Road. I want to row on the lake, drink root beer floats at the Comfort Cone, and make rhubarb taffy in the big old kitchen. Sheila O'Connor's book about the importance of love, loyalty, and dreams charmed and touched me. We accompany Raine through a summer of secrets and discovery, friendship and forgiveness, growing up and growing old. Sparrow Road is a place for wishing long and dreaming, and so is this terrific novel. Sparrow Road is quite wonderful and I recommend it highly."—Karen Cushman author of the Newbery Medal-winning, The Midwife’s Apprentice, and the Newbery Honor-winning Catherine, Called Birdy
"Sparrow Road has everything I could ask for in a novel – mysteries, secrets, a creepy mansion with a haunting past, a cast of unforgettable characters, and a twisting tale of self-discovery."—Ann Martin, Newbery Honor-winning author of A Corner of the Universe