Sparrow Hill Road: A Ghost Story on the American Road (Book Review)

When I was 14, I managed to get a copy of Final Fantasy VI.  Now, if you haven’t played this game, let me tell you that it’s a fantastic game with a wonderful storyline and ending.  As the end credits rolled when I finished the game once and for all, I felt a sense of achievement, tears rolling down my cheeks.  It was a rare piece of narrative that managed to touch my heart and bring out a whole bunch of emotions.

Rose died driving to the prom, now she hitches rides

Rose died driving to the prom, now she hitches rides

Sparrow Hill Road has that effect on me.  Finishing the book made me feel a sense of achievement not because the book was complex or extremely difficult to read, but because I felt that my life has become richer for having read it.

Writing a ghost story from the perspective of the ghost isn’t something that’s entirely new.  Heaven knows that it’s been explored before in books like The Lovely Bones[1].  However, it’s a rare book that can make me sympathise so heavily with a main character with circumstances so different from my own.  Seanan McGuire manages to make the eternal 16-year-old Rose’s voice compelling yet world weary in an expert manner that doesn’t resort to cheap melodrama.  I particularly love how she mentally matures over time despite never physically aging.  It’s very refreshing, something that I rarely see in supernatural fiction young adults, which circle the Neverending High School and mentally never get much further beyond the prom date level of relationships[2].

I very much enjoy Seanan McGuire’s work.  Her InCryptid series makes for good light reading and her Velveteen vs series is a fascinating exploration of the effects of the corporation on the superhero lifestyle, but she really has outdone herself with Sparrow Hill Road.  It is a beautiful book and I want more.

You can get a taste of Sparrow Hill Road on The Edge of Propinquity here.  The book is published by DAW Books.  Ask your local bookstore for a copy or support Sydney local businesses and get it at Galaxy Bookstore here!

EDIT:  Seanan McGuire has requested that buyers of the paper or electronic copies of the book refrain from purchasing it from Amazon, due to Amazon’s monopolistic attitudes towards book publishers.  She has requested that people spend their money at Borders instead.  You can get it here.

[1] A book which I found terribly distasteful in its writing and execution.

[2] See Twilight for example.  The main character manages to marry, give birth to young, yet never seems to move into a mindset much further than eternal prom date, despite her growing responsibilities in life.

One thought on “Sparrow Hill Road: A Ghost Story on the American Road (Book Review)

  1. Pingback: Cheap as Free Online Novels for the Broke | Owls Well

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