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Sprout Hardcover – May 26, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (May 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599901609
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599901602
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,021,523 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Playful and plain-spoken ... at times, hilarious' Financial Times 'A touching tale ... Sprout comes from a long tradition of American writing about alienated teenagers (obvious ancestors are Huckleberry Finn and Holden Caulfield) to which it is a highly readable addition' 3SIXTY --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

DALE PECK is the author of the Drift House novels for intermediate readers as well as many critically acclaimed novels and books of essays for adults, including Martin and John and Now It’s Time to Say Goodbye. He lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Yes, I read it in one sitting, as I do many books.
Matthew Coenen
Anything I write feels like a cliche: I didn't want it to end, amazing character development,I grew to love the characters and the well-worn COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN.
Goldengate
This is where the story gets good, but I don't want to tell too much of what happens with Ty.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Goldengate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
So I feel a lot of pressure as I write this review. I won't even mention the ONE other review on Amazon. I'm not someone who routinely gives out 5 stars... in fact, if you click on "read other reviews" you'll see I've been a pretty tough critic lately, especially regarding the books I've read. I also get the feeling not many people will ever even hear of this book.

I just finished Sprout. Wow. I also just ordered two more books by this author. Anything I write feels like a cliche: I didn't want it to end, amazing character development,I grew to love the characters and the well-worn COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN. All those things are true.

So what's this book about? A teenage boy nicknamed Sprout, who happens to have green hair, and happens also to be gay. His mother dies (handled as a flashback in the book), leaving him with his alcoholic father (ok the one thing that was maybe a teeny cliche), moving from Long Island to Kansas. Very different from Long Island.

This book isn't about Sprout wrestling with being gay. It's also not about him struggling for acceptance. Or even coming out to his father (his father knows). It's about Sprout dealing with his mother's death, honing his writing skills (makes me wonder if this is semi-autobiographical), falling in lust, falling in love, worrying about a future after high school. This is next-gen gay, where the protagonists' sexuality is an interesting but not a defining detail.

The narrative switches from the third to the first person and back again. Lots of commentary from the narrator directly to us, the readers, fleshing out details, making wry observations on the situation that until that very second we've been reading about in third person. And did I mention the book is funny?
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By IndyCopperTop VINE VOICE on June 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If I were allowed to rate this book 4.5 stars, I would. I suppose if I hadn't recently read The Book Thief, I might very well have rated Sprout 5 stars. But what's the meaning of a 5 star rating if we were to rate excellent books and the very best books of our age with the same rating? And, yes, I do agree this is an excellent and moving read.

A boy named Daniel moves from Long Island to Kansas after the death of his mother. The father is unable to cope with the loss of his wife and decides to cash in on the equity in his home and hide away in a remote part of Kansas on a remote tract of land. He chooses to remain unemployed and in a constant drunken stupor. His son is left on his own to make sense of it all. With the help of his confidant Ruthie, Daniel dyes his hair green and takes on the nickname Sprout. The green hair seems to signify his desire to remain true to himself in a conformist culture by being as visibly different as he is in spirit. However, the green hair and nickname also represent a need to pull away from the harsh realities of his life. As he struggles with his identity and his fears, he falls in lust with the school jock and then falls in love with the school outcast.

This book is far less about the destination than the journey. If this weren't the case, I would have been frustrated with the ending. We don't know how everything turns out, but we don't need to know. What we do know is that Sprout approached a very difficult life with optimism and courage when only a few were there to offer encouragement. This story is powerful inspiration to young and older readers alike.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A.B. VINE VOICE on July 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It shouldn't take too long for this to make teen banned book lists across America. It's well-written, so it's probably going to be passed around high school friends quite quickly. However, it has more innuedo to profanity and sex than any novel I've read in a while. Yes, I said "innuendo". Sometimes double entendre and allusion gives you enough of a picture to not have to be reading the actual thing. And this was the author's intention. The back cover says that "Sprout has a secret. It's not what you think -- he'll tell you he's gay." I assumed this meant that his sexuality wasn't going to be a focus of the book. I was wrong.

I have to say that I fell in love with the writer's ideas for eccentric characters in this book. Daniel (a.k.a. Sprout) is a talented writer with green hair. He loves word play. I love word play. Thus, Sprout was instantly cast in my mind as a character who could have been my high school best friend (except that my real best friend in high school wasn't gay). Sprout's dad has moved them from Long Island to Kansas to deal with his newly found widowdom. Dad's idea of landscaping includes planting vines to cover their small trailer and planting rows upon rows of dead trees with their roots up in the air instead of in the ground. Sprout's English teacher invites Sprout over to her house to practice his essay-writing and serves him alcohol and profanity (both of which he declines). It seems, however, that she's really invited him over to get closer to one of the subjects of his writing (and it's not Sprout).

The author has a real talent for creating memorable and distinct characters and has a real talent for using words in the most effective way possible.
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