About the BookSparrow by Mary Cecilia Jackson
Published by Tor Teen on March 17, 2020
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 preyI 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….
About the Author
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. She lives with her architect husband, William, in Western North Carolina and Hawaii, where they have a farm and five ridiculously adorable goats.
I was first drawn to this YA contemporary by the gorgeous, minimalist cover. Then I read the synopsis and I knew that I had to read this social-issue novel. I am happy to report that I was not disappointed.
Our protagonist is Savannah Rose- or Sparrow to most of her friends. She is your average teenager who deals with high school and dances in a ballet company. When she meets Tristen she thinks she has met the man of her dreams.
This book is heavy and there is a lot to unpack. We get alternating perspectives between Sparrow and one of her best friends, Lucas. I think this was an amazing way to handle this story because it showed the far reaching impacts of abuse and assault that extend beyond the abuser and victim.
Jackson does an amazing job getting inside Soarrows head, first as she tries to understand the red flags she is seeing with Tristen and then while she struggles to heal after the brutal assault. All the supporting characters are phenomenal and complex, showing the importance of networks of loved one in the process of recovering from such horrific events.
On a lighter note, I loved the ballet scenes in this book. Never doing ballet is one of the biggest regrets of my life and I found the scenes with Sparrow and Lucas dancing so immersive and beautiful.
If there was any doubt, I gave this heavy but beautiful book 5/5 stars and would recommend it to people who love authors such as Angie Thomas and Mindy McGinnis.
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