March 18, 2020

Sparrow Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Author: Mary Cecilia Jackson
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: March 17, 2020
Publisher: Tor Teen
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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….
Sparrow is a heartbreaking and yet hopeful new young adult contemporary novel that's incredibly realistic and relevant to our society. I don't normally read contemporary because it's not my cup of tea, but something about the description made me want to give it a try. I'm glad I did because it turned out to be much more than I thought it would be. Here's a breakdown:

Characters: Sparrow is a wonderful main character. She's complex and incredibly realistic. I connected with her right from the beginning of the book. As I learned about her past, my heart broke for her and what she went through. I don't normally have lots of big "feels" when reading - especially contemporary fiction - but this was an emotional roller coaster for me. Like I said, my heart broke for Sparrow and with hers as the story progresses and the bad things happen. I was angry, happy, hopeful, and completely rooting for her during the entire story. I came to really care about Sparrow and felt like she was telling me the story herself - or I was experiencing everything alongside her. The second narrator, Lucas, was also easy to identify with, although I didn't connect as deeply with him as I did with Sparrow. The other secondary characters were decently rounded with distinct personalities, so they weren't all complete stereotypes (although they were there). I loved getting to know Sparrow especially along with all the other characters and their relationships with one another.

Plot: This is a hard story to read and definitely has some triggers that readers need to be aware of. The book talks about some really hard topics and doesn't just gloss over them. The story really takes a deep look at how abuse affects a person on several levels - emotional scars, shame, guilt, trust issues, and so much more. It also shows how the loved ones of someone who has been abused and/or attacked are effected as well. How their lives are turned upside down and they have uncontrollable thoughts and emotions like anger, grief, shame, and guilt too. It was fascinating to experience all of these things on a very realistic level even though it was really hard at times to read.

Writing Style: If you've read my reviews before, you know how much writing style means to me and how it can ruin a book if done in a way I don't like. I love the first person point of view because it lets the reader form a deep connection with the narrator, on a level that no other writing styles can. I was so happy that the author chose to write this in the first person POV. I was very immersed in the Sparrow's story and how it effected her and the people around her. I loved getting to really know both Sparrow and Lucas - their hopes and dreams, fears and nightmares, memories, emotions, inner thoughts and feelings, and everything in between. I really believe that this writing style made the story come to life for me and allowed me to feel like I was a part of everything that happened. I definitely recommend this book for fans of YA contemporary fiction, especially ones that focus on tough topics like abuse.
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.
 Win a copy of SPARROW by Mary Cecilia Jackson (US/CAN Only)
Starts: March 17, 2020
Ends: March 31, 2020

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