cover image Silhouette of a Sparrow

Silhouette of a Sparrow

Molly Beth Griffin. Milkweed Editions (PGW, dist.), $16.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-57131-701-8

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.)