Scot Gardner

Allen & Unwin

August 2017

$19.99 AU

218p pb

ISBN: 978-1760294472

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When a juvenile detention exercise off the coast of the Kimberley goes wrong, sixteen-year-old Sparrow must swim to shore. There are sharks and crocs around him but the monsters he fears most live in the dark spaces in his mind.

He's swimming away from his prison life and towards a desolate, rocky coastland and the hollow promise of freedom. He'll eat or be eaten, kill or be killed.

With no voice, no family and the odds stacked against him, Sparrow has nothing left to lose. But to survive he'll need something more potent than desperation, something more dangerous than a makeshift knife.


Scot Gardnerís Sparrow is an interesting and tragic story about a boy who experiences a traumatic moment at a very young age. He is wrongly convicted of a murder he did not commit and decides to become mute. Although he voluntarily chooses not to speak, the time comes in the novel where he must choose between life or death and the only way to live is to communicate via speaking. 

This book belongs to the teen issues and realistic genre/s and the story would most appeal to young teens through to adults as it discusses teen issues of emotional courage through a realistic characterís life. The biggest underlying theme is hope and the main character never loses sight of it, although it does waver, tragedy is another theme throughout the story from death to tragic irony. While the book may feel easy to read for adults, younger people might find the flow hard to follow.

Farris, age 16

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