Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Review: Silhouette of a Sparrow

Silhouette of a Sparrow
By Molly Beth Griffin
Expected publication September 11, 2012 by Milkweed Editions

To escape the polio epidemic and to give her mother some alone time with her war-ravaged father, sixteen-year-old Garnet Richardson is sent to a lake resort with distant relations. But that summer will be about much more than escape for Garnet - it will be about self-discovery and finding the confidence to live her own life. With the help of a beautiful flapper, Garnet will learn things about herself that she never could have imagined.

I'm a sucker for historical fiction and the GLBT aspect was also appealing to me, as I'm always looking for more good books for this audience. I received an e-galley of this from the publisher after attending School Library Journal's SummerTeen virtual conference and was really looking forward to reading it. This was a really quick and engaging read. Garnet is a bit of an amateur ornithologist and the chapters are framed by different birds. It's a really interesting way to tell the story and I thought it worked really well for this story in particular. Garnet is a well-developed character - she is hopeful and optimistic, but confused about the changing world and her place in it. Should she marry the nice boy back home? That question becomes more difficult to answer after she meets Isabella, a beautiful flapper. The struggle that Garnet goes through is easy to relate to and I thought it was interesting that Garnet and Isabella's relationship was made more complicated by the fact that they are members of different classes (or at least are perceived that way). The descriptions of time and place are very evocative and really gave me a sense of being immersed in that era and in that locale. Though I did find it a bit unbelievable that the first girl Garnet shows interest in just happened to actually be interested as well, I don't think their relationship is any more implausible than its heterosexual counterparts. All in all, I think this is a very strong debut novel and a nice addition to GLBT YA lit.

Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy provided via Edelweiss.

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