I was given a copy of this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion.
On the outside, Sierra and Luca are at opposite ends of life. One just beginning the world at her fingertips, the other reflecting on a life mostly gone. Yet, the bond of secrets, grief, and a love of learning tie these unlikely friends and their families together against the odds.
I'll confess I'm not one to pick a book on a whim these days. Life's too busy and too many recent whims have ended up a bust, especially within modern, Christian romance.
I was thoroughly surprised when I found myself eagerly tearing through Rachel Phifer's novel with eager anticipation and hope for a happy resolution for my two favourite characters.
Sierra is a young and brilliant high school student whose life is directed through her grief at her father's sudden and unexplained death.
Sierra was definitely a favourite character and a book highlight.
Having worked with youth and grieving families (Interesting summer job one summer) Phifer's portrayal of her grief at the multiple losses in her life (father, home, school, relationship with her mother) was believable and well written as revelations throughout the story moved Sierra through the rollercoaster of her grief and healing.
Luca, as the gruff older gentleman even his son doesn't trust was a surprising favourite of mine as the story progressed. As his life (love?) story is laid out I found myself more and more drawn to the man much like Sierra. Honestly, this became a huge point of connection in the story for me as a reader as Sierra's relationship begin to mirror the reader's entrance into Luca's life.
If you've read one of these before you know I don't like giving out major plot spoilers but my one beef with the story does tie in slightly. Most of the pacing within Sparrows is well done. The slower portions echoing the time it takes to gain trust with those who are wounded. However, Nic, Luca's son, hits a crises near the end of the book, which becomes a major plot point when there wasn't the time to wrap it up nicely. This may be a stylistic vision of the author but I generally prefer books that allow themselves the time to end when the story is ready and not before hand.
All in all, this was a great novel and a fairly easy read. Given the right audience I would highly recommend this novel.