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. (goodreads summary)
The summary above is a wonderful description of Sparrow Road and I don't think I could add more to it without giving away some spoilers that are important to the story. Raine is very puzzled by the recent summer move to this mysterious house but finds herself fitting in quite well. When she first arrives, there are many rules that she must follow. One, that is particulary unusual and does not like, is no talking during the week except on Sunday. Another rule is she must not bother the others so they can work in peace. When Raine meets the artists for the first time, she feels comfortable and they all seem to take her under their wing. They inspire her to use creativity and encouraged Raine to challenge her ownself through writings. There is a wonderful sense of place among all the characters. One artist, Diego, leaves Raine pondering the question "what if, what was or what could be." The house is made for dreams and among the quiet and peacefullness each person is finding out who they are. There is also a history behind the house that the character Lillian plays a big part in. Raine eventually finds out more about her past and how things are finally connecting as to why she came to Sparrow Road in the first place. She finds a truth that is hard to accept but learns acceptance along the way. I really liked this book and think it would make a nice summer read. It focuses on family, love and forgiveness, and finding your own sense of place. The chapters were short and the text easily flowed. I wish I had a Sparrow Road I could visit this summer but will just enjoy the book for now. I think this is a just right book for ages 11 and up.~
Title: Sparrow Road
Author: Sheila O'Connor
Pub. Date: May 2011, Putnam
Hardcover, 246 pgs.