Silhouette of a Sparrow
Silhouette of a Sparrow
Milkweed Editions, Hardcover, 9781571317018, 189pp.
Publication Date: September 11, 2012
WINNER OF THE 2013 PATERSON PRIZE FOR BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS
ALA RAINBOW LIST RECOMMENDED BOOK
AMELIA BLOOMER PROJECT LIST RECOMMENDED BOOK
LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD FINALIST
MINNESOTA BOOK AWARD FINALIST
FOREWARD REVIEWS BOOK OF THE YEAR HONORABLE MENTION
In the summer of 1926, sixteen-year-old Garnet Richardson is sent to a lake resort to escape the polio epidemic in the city. She dreams of indulging her passion for ornithology and visiting the famous new amusement park--a summer of fun before she returns for her final year of high school, after which she's expected to marry a nice boy and settle into middle-class homemaking. But in the country, Garnet finds herself under the supervision of equally oppressive guardians--her father's wealthy cousin and the matron's stuck-up daughter. Only a liberating job in a hat shop, an intense, secret relationship with a daring and beautiful flapper, and a deep faith in her own fierce heart can save her from the suffocating boredom of traditional femininity.
WINNER OF THE MILKWEED PRIZE FOR CHILDREN'S LITERATURE
Praise for Silhouette of a Sparrow
"The coming-of-age story features a thoughtful protagonist with a gentle voice. Opulent setting descriptions complement interesting historical detail and beautiful language. The motif of different bird species to begin each chapter serves as a neat structural metaphor for various characters in the story (not unlike Annie Proulx's knots in The Shipping News). Garnet's feminist and environmental concerns are relevant for a young contemporary audience without feeling anachronistic to the narrative."
Jackie Reitzes, Minneapolis Star Tribune
McNally Jackson Kids, online
"A very quick and enjoyable read. It gave me a glimpse into a period of time that I was unfamiliar with, and had a range of engaging characters and a believable storyline."
"A sweet, quiet coming-of-age story set in a Prohibition-era lakeside resort....This slim tale is a positive breath of fresh air in a market bloated with opportunistic dystopian and paranormal romances. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)"
"Tenderly and touchingly realized...a pleasant and diverting read. "
Michael Cart, Booklist
"Picture book author Griffin’s (Loon Baby) first novel for teens is laced with evocative period details that give readers a taste of what it was like to come of age during the flapper era. Ages 12up."
"Silhouette of a Sparrow is an excellent example of an historical coming-of-age lesbian young adult novel. Written with a deft hand, based in the true history of its setting, and with characterizations that will ring true to any teenager, it is a worthy and enjoyable read for anyone. The writing style is straight-forward so the plot turns, analogies, and descriptions stand out, adding vibrancy to the story. Take flight with Garnet by reading and undoubtedly enjoying the telling of her story."
Lydia Harris, Lambda Literary
"Rich with emotion and loaded with fascinating details of the flapper era, Silhouette of a Sparrow is a wonderful novel about independence and first love."
Marsha Qualey, author of Come in from the Cold and Just Like That
"Like the birds that young Garnet catalogs and cuts out in paper silhouettes, Molly Beth Griffin’s feisty narrator leaves her fledgling self behind as she spreads her wings and learns to fly. Rich in period detail, Griffin links past to present in a compelling novel that is both a love story and the tale of a budding ornithologist. Young readers will respond to Garnet’s need to heal her broken family, even as she struggles to follow her dreams. A fine debut novel!"
Liza Ketchum, author of Newsgirl and Where the Great Hawk Flies
"Silhouette of a Sparrow is an extraordinary young adult novel. Molly Beth Griffin has crafted a compelling story with evocative, lyrical prose, and her descriptive language brilliantly captures the atmosphere of the 1920’s. 16 year old Garnet Richardson pushes the boundaries in this sensitive coming-of-age story; a journey of self-discovery, independence, and young love. If Sarah Waters (Tipping the Velvet, Fingersmith, The Night Watch) or Julia Anne Peters (Keeping You A Secret, Define Normal, Luna) were to write an historical YA coming-out novel, they would be challenged to deliver a story equal to that of Silhouette of a Sparrow. This is a triumphant debut novel- it’s only flaw is that it ended."
Peg O'Donnell, National Accounts Manager, Publishers Group West
Praise for Loon Baby
This lovely picture book addresses a child's fear of abandonment and offers the reassurance of a mother's love.”
Guaranteed to hit the mark with anyone who's ever felt lost and alone.”
While understated, the story has a sturdy quality that should stand up to repeated read-alouds.”
This gentle story of a young bird's fears of being abandoned by an out-of-sight parent offers reassurance to children in a similar situation.”
School Library Journal
Hornbook Guide to Children
"Rich with emotion and loaded with fascinating details of the flapper era, Silhouette of a Sparrow is a wonderful novel about independence and first love." — Marsha Qualey, author of Come in From the Cold and Just Like That