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Silhouette of a Sparrow

Milkweed Prize for Children's Literature

By Molly Beth Griffin

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Format: Paperback, 208 pages, First Trade Paper Ed Edition
Published In: United States, 01 August 2013
WINNER OF THE MILKWEED PRIZE FOR CHILDREN'S LITERATURE 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 in ornithology and a visit to an amusement park--a summer of fun before she returns to a last year of high school, marriage, and middle-class homemaking. But in the country, Garnet finds herself under supervision of oppressive guardians, her father's wealthy cousin and the matron's stuck-up daughter. Only a job in a hat shop, an intense, secret relationship with a beautiful flapper, and a deep faith in her own heart can save her from the suffocation of traditional femininity in this coming-of-age story about a search for both wildness and security in an era full of unrest. It is the tale of a young woman's discovery of the science of risk and the art of rebellion, and, of course, the power of unexpected love.

About the Author

Molly Beth Griffin is a graduate of Hamline University's MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and a writing teacher at the Loft Literary Center in the Twin Cities. Her first picture book, Loon Baby, came out with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2011. Silhouette of a Sparrow is her first novel.

Reviews

With a father haunted by his WWI service and a mother consumed with social standing, 16-year-old Garnet is eager to spend time with relatives in the resort town of Excelsior, Minn., during the summer of 1926. She soon settles into life with her snooty aunt and frosty 14-year-old cousin. Garnet is a bird lover who uses scissors to create silhouettes of the birds she sees (a "quaint Victorian pastime," as she puts it), but this interest masks her deeper passion for the study and protection of birds. Garnet accepts that her future is marriage, not college, at least until she meets Isabella, a dancer who shows Garnet how to follow her dreams and opens her eyes to unexpected romance. Garnet's sexual awakening is suffused with lightness and joy, and her familial and identity struggles will resonate with contemporary teens, although the ending is perhaps too neat. 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 12-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

"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." --Lambda Literary "An immensely charming short novel... Griffin perfectly captures the mood of America in the twenties--prohibition, first wave feminism, ongoing and virulent racism, the class war at one of its many peaks-- and it is this that pushes Silhouette to be more than 'just' a coming of age romance novel, but an example of historical fiction at its most vivid... Well-researched and beautifully lyrical, her slightest nuances and atmospheric shifts--stifling, sticky heat; the smell of rain, promising; the cling of smoke to fabric; the curl of craft paper in a flame--captivate, inspire, and evoke that sense of longing and lust that perfectly encapsulate the rush of first love. And it is not just love, but Garnet's growth as an individual, which makes Silhouette of a Sparrow a compelling and unique summer read. " --Lisa Harrison, Vada Magazine "Griffin speaks to the heart of [adolescent] yearnings and turmoil and challenges. She understands they want to be seen, they want to be uniquely themselves, they want to challenge and push societal norms they may find outdated or irrelevant, but they so often want to figure out how to do these things within the context of the world around them... [The book] had me cheering to the very end. Silhouette of a Sparrow is well-written with a lovely setting, and gives its readers fresh, unique variations on a typical coming of age story." --Lovely Bookshelf blog "A positive breath of fresh air in a market bloated with opportunistic dystopian and paranormal romances." --Kirkus Reviews "Silhouette of a Sparrow is a keeper, and I will be adding it to the shortlist of lesbian teen books I can recommend with no reservations." --The Lesbrary "Tenderly and touchingly realized ... a pleasant and diverting read." --Booklist "Garnet's sexual awakening is suffused with lightness and joy, and her familial and identity struggles will resonate with contemporary teens." --Publishers Weekly "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." -- Lambda Literary

EAN: 9781571317049
ISBN: 157131704X
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.3 x 1.5 centimetres (0.18 kg)
Age Range: 10-14 years
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