Heartbreaking book with an important message.

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“I’m so tired. All the way down in my bones. It exhausts me, walking around with words I cannot, will not speak. Sometimes I imagine them overflowing, leaking out of my eyes and ears, lifting the skin from the palms of my hands, roaring out of my mouth like a tsunami, muddy and filled with debris.”

TW: physical and emotional abuse.

Man, this was a tough one. It’s been quite a while since a book left me a little less whole than when I started, and Sparrow is definitely one that took a little of my heart and soul at the end.

A story in two parts, Sparrow details the relationship between Sparrow and her new boyfriend Tristan, and how quickly things go from sunshine and roses to absolute hell. The signs were always there, though much as in real life, the signs get overlooked and the victim blames him/herself for anything and everything. This book also brilliantly shows how deep abuse goes and how widely the aftermath spreads. It’s like a drop in a pond with all of the ripples, only the ripples are people who are involved in the periphery, the ones who often feel helpless and unsure of how to help someone who obviously needs it, but refuses to accept it. In the case of Sparrow, the after affects were far-reaching, touching not only the hearts and minds of the ones in closest proximity to her, but also those who are friends from school, or her ballet instructor, or merely ones who may have seen her dance a time or two.

Aside from seeing the abuse from Sparrow’s POV, readers also see the effects of the abuse from one of her closest friends, Lucas. Not only was it incredibly difficult to experience the pain and the heartache firsthand through Sparrow, but it was equally heart wrenching to see it from Lucas’ POV and feel that overwhelming sense of helplessness and powerlessness. This entire book had such a hopeless and sad tone to it thanks to the subject matter, but it did have its bright spots and some uplifting moments in the form of Sparrow’s family and her incredible network of friends. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have people around them who can recognize abuse for what it is, and Sparrow was definitely one of the lucky ones.

”And you, darling. With your Sparrow. You want to fix her, to make her whole. You want to ease her suffering. But it isn’t yours to do, is it? It’s hers and hers alone. You cannot do her hard work for her. And if you try, you’ll take something important away from her.”

All in all, I highly recommend this one. The subject matter is incredibly tough, and its message is one that needs to be spread far and wide: recognize the signs of abuse, seek help if you’re able, relentlessly offer to help no matter what, and if you’re a victim — know that’s its never your fault.

*arc received courtesy of the publisher.