Author: Mary Cecilia Jackson
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: March 17, 2020
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
Source: Digital ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley & physical ARC provided by publisher via Fantastic Flying Book Club
TW: Domestic violence, child abuse, emotional abuse
This one was difficult to read. It was triggering in some ways, but also so far from my story. Sparrow is the story of a 17 year old ballerina named Savannah (nicknamed Sparrow) who falls in love for the first time. She and her best friend Delaney have always thought Tristan King was incredibly good-looking, but when he almost hits Sparrow with his car in the school parking lot and asks her out, it feels like her dreams are coming true.
Sparrow is a very dedicated ballerina. She has made ballet her passion and studies at the local conservatory where she has landed the role of Odette in Swan Lake. One of her other best friends, and fellow ballet dancers, Lucas, will be playing the prince. She spends much of her free time practicing ballet and taking lessons. When she begins dating Tristan, however, he is very controlling and does not like her spending so much time with Lucas.
As the story goes on, we learn that Sparrow lives with her father and his sister, her aunt Sophie. Her mother died when she was young, and we get glimpses into a terrible childhood spend with a mother that was violent. Sparrow’s relationship with Tristan begins to spiral out of her control. Her friends and family start noticing changes in her and try to reach out, but she denies everything and insists that Tristan loves her. Eventually it all culminates when one evening while driving Sparrow mentions to Tristan that they should take a break and he loses all control and lands Sparrow in the hospital fighting for her life.
From here we also get Lucas’ perspective. He recently lost his father to a very aggressive form of cancer, so once Sparrow is hospitalized his life begins spiraling as well. He and Sparrow have been friends their whole lives and he has been realizing lately he has feelings for her. He can see what Tristan is doing to her and tries to reach out, but she doesn’t listen.
I said before, this is a very difficult read. Sparrow’s life hasn’t been easy since she was a small child and I was brought to tears so many times throughout this book. While difficult, I also think it’s an important book. Reading this and seeing some of the warning signs could save someone from an abusive relationship before things get out of control. While I absolutely recommend this book, please proceed with caution and heed the trigger warnings. Please stay safe friends, and know that if you need help, it is out there.
Thank you so much to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for having me on this tour and giving me the opportunity to read and review this book!
“The way my father reads people is kind of scary. He told me once that he could hear what people were thinking in the silent spaces between their spoken words. That he could tell what someone was feeling just by looking into their eyes.”
-Mary Cecilia Jackson, Sparrow
Synopsis: In the tradition of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, a devastating but hopeful YA debut about a ballerina who finds the courage to confront the abuse that haunts her past and threatens her future.
There are two kinds of people on the planet. Hunters and prey
I thought I would be safe after my mother died. I thought I could stop searching for new places to hide. But you can’t escape what you are, what you’ve always been.
My name is Savannah Darcy Rose.
And I am still prey.
Though Savannah Rose―Sparrow to her friends and family―is a gifted ballerina, her real talent is keeping secrets. Schooled in silence by her long-dead mother, Sparrow has always believed that her lifelong creed―“I’m not the kind of girl who tells”―will make her just like everyone else: Normal. Happy. Safe. But in the aftermath of a brutal assault by her seemingly perfect boyfriend Tristan, Sparrow must finally find the courage to confront the ghosts of her past, or lose herself forever….
Mary Cecilia Jackson has worked as a middle school teacher, an adjunct instructor of college freshmen, a technical writer and editor, a speechwriter, a museum docent, and a development officer for central Virginia’s PBS and NPR stations. Her first novel, Sparrow, was an honor recipient of the SCBWI Sue Alexander Award and a young-adult finalist in the Writers’ League of Texas manuscript contest. Shelives with her architect husband, William, in Western North Carolina and Hawaii, where they have a farm and five ridiculously adorable goats.
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