Review: The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney

Sparrow Delaney

The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney by Suzanne Harper

Book description (from Goodreads) –

In high school, the last thing you want is for people to think you talk to ghosts.

When Sparrow begins tenth grade at a huge new school full of strangers, she thinks her dreams of anonymity and a fresh start are finally coming true. No more following in her six older sisters’ footsteps. No more going to class with kids who’ve seen her grandma doing jujitsu in the front yard next to the headstones of her four dead husbands. And no more worrying about keeping her deep, dark secret hidden.

Sparrow makes a new best friend and has her eye on an irritatingly appealing guy in her history class. She feels like she’s well on her way to a normal life. But it’s another boy–a dead one–who wants Sparrow’s attention, and he won’t let her be till she’s helped him Move On.

You see, Sparrow Delaney’s secret is that she’s a psychic. And there’s one very persistent ghost who won’t let her forget it.


When I saw this book at my local library, I was instantly intrigued by the title and the cover.  The tarot cards that feature on the cover piqued my curiosity, and after I read the book description, I knew that this was a book that I definitely wanted to read.

The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney centres around main character Sparrow, who has been able to see and talk to ghosts since the age of five.  She has kept these abilities a secret from her mother, grandmother, and sisters.  She doesn’t want the life that her family has; she doesn’t want to talk to ghosts, she doesn’t want to read tarot cards, and she certainly doesn’t want to perform spiritual readings like her mother, grandmother, and sisters.  Sparrow just wants to be normal – to not be considered a ‘freak’ by her peers.

I really liked Sparrow.  It was easy to understand why she wanted to keep her abilities a secret.  She doesn’t want people to look at her like she is from some strange planet, and she thinks that if she reveals her abilities that that is exactly what will happen. She’s scared.  She sees her abilities as a curse not a gift.

Helping Sparrow, and trying to get her to embrace her talents, are her three spirit guides – Professor Timble, Prajeet, and Floyd.  I loved them; I loved the humour and lightness that they added to the story.

Sparrows feels that there is nothing that will make her reveal her abilites, but she begins to feel torn when she meets a ghost who desperately needs her help – Luke.  I loved, loved, loved Luke.  He is the kind of character that you just want to give a big hug to.  He is funny, kind, and stubborn (in a hilarious way).  Some of the things he did brought a huge smile to my face.

As the story progresses, Sparrow learns more about Luke – they begin to form a friendship.  But is it enough to make Sparrow reveal her abilities?  Sparrow also begins to form a friendship with Jack, the quiet, brooding, classmate with a sarcastic wit.  They become research partners for their history project, and as they spend more and more time together, Sparrow learns why Jack is so quiet – why he keeps to himself.  He is suffering from a terrible heart-break.

Just as I loved Luke, I also loved Jack.  Jack has, in a way, built a protective wall around himself, but he begins to let Sparrow in.  Jack doesn’t believe in psychics or mediums, and Sparrow is desperate to keep her family and her abilities a secret from Jack.  There is a reason why Jack doesn’t believe in people having the ability to see ghosts, but if anyone can change his mind, it’s Sparrow.  But will she?

I just loved the story that Suzanne Harper created.  It was a delight to read.  The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney is a story of love and loss, family and friendship, hope, and embracing who you are.



Published by: Greenwillow Books (Harper Collins USA)
Release date: July 2007


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