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Sprout Hardcover – May 26, 2009
100 Young Adult Books to Read in a Lifetime
Amazon's editors chose their list of the one hundred young adult books to read, whether you're fourteen or forty...Learn more
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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?Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was freaking stellar, I read it all in one sitting, because I couldn't bare to stop. When I reached the ending all I could do was curl in to fetal position and curse. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jillian
I didn't care for the second half of the story. Fell apart, and the flow and plot just cracked under pressure. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Kevin
I liked Sprout and the pace of the 1st 3/4 of the book. When it came to the supposed climax it ran out of steam, at least for me. Read morePublished 4 months ago by E. Sloan
I loved this book. It is wickedly smart, funny, heartbreaking.
Sprout is 12 years old when his father moves them from Long Island to Kansas following the death of... Read more
Interesting plot line but tries way to hard to seem intelligent. Simple aspects of the book were drug out for pages.Published 9 months ago by Paul
I love this book. My only complaint is that is had a different cover, at least my hardcover copy did, but I actually like my cover better.Published 11 months ago by NnyLuvR---Z?
Truly a great read. As an adolescent homosexual teenager I felt like I could relate to sprout in many ways. I would recommend that anyone who likes YA fiction give this a try.Published 12 months ago by Jorgetastic
I've read a lot of YA lit, including a lot of gay YA lit, and this book is very much 50/50 for me. On one hand, the writer doesn't make the entire book about the fact that the... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Nicole Mohr
author had pen in one hand and thesaurus and dictionary in the other. If he was to impress with language, he failed. I wanted to like this but just could not stay interested. Read morePublished 21 months ago by just relax