On Twitter, I entered a giveaway to receive an ARC of The Absence of Sparrows by Kurt Kirchmeier. I entered as I was intrigued by the synopsis of the novel – and I am always interested in reading novels for young readers that are a little different. I was pleased when I was gifted a copy of the ARC by the Canadian author.
Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Middle Grade
In the small town of Griever’s Mill, eleven-year-old Ben Cameron is expecting to finish off his summer of relaxing and bird-watching without a hitch. But everything goes wrong when dark clouds roll in.
Old Man Crandall is the first to change–human one minute and a glass statue the next. Soon it’s happening across the world. Dark clouds fill the sky, and, at random, people turn into frozen versions of themselves. There’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no one knows how to stop it.
With his mom on the verge of a breakdown, and his brother intent on following the dubious plans put forth by a nameless voice on the radio, Ben must hold out hope that his town’s missing sparrows will return with everyone’s souls before the glass plague takes them away forever.
The Absence of Sparrows is a well-written story that perfectly suits the 9 years and up age group. The language is clear and not too wordy; the dialogue interesting and easily understood. As an adult, I could not help but become immersed in the story; and I can imagine a 10 year old engrossed in the story in order to find out what will happen.
The novel has a bit of an apocalyptic feel to it as it describes a plague that brings the world to a standstill. The main character, Ben Cameron, is a 10 year old boy who has to work through his emotions and reactions when it affects his own family. Not all his decisions are the correct ones – and these mistakes are what will endear the reader to him. As Ben Cameron goes through the process of doing what is right for him, he learns what is important to him – and how far he will go to stand up for what he believes.
Kirchmeier has written a coming-of-age novel that will hold young readers who enjoy futuristic novels in its grip. The young readers will adore all the facts about birds that have been inserted into the story – interesting facts that they are sure to share with their families. I enjoyed this Middle Grade story and would recommend it to any child looking for a story of courage and hope.
I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019
(This novel was the 54th in my book pledge for 2019)