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Comment: The item is fairly worn but continues to work perfectly. Signs of wear can include aesthetic issues such as scratches, dents, and worn corners. All pages and the cover are intact, but the dust cover may be missing. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting, but the text is not obscured or unreadable.
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Sprout Hardcover – May 26, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Sprout's narrative voice is strong and realistic, and his observations are entertaining.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“A stellar step ahead for young adult literature's traditional examination of the life of the heroic antihero.” ―VOYA

“Structurally effective, caustically entertaining, unpreachy, and thought-provoking.” ―The Horn Book

“Sprout's wiseacre voice is often very funny and tinged with irony....At heart, this story is the story of a boy looking for love, all the while knowing that the storybook "happily ever after" isn't going to apply to him.” ―School Library Journal

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Dale Peck is the author of Drift House and The Lost Cities for middle grade readers; for adults he's written award-winning novels including the highly acclaimed Martin and John, a book of essays and a memoir. He is currently working on a sci-fi thriller with Heroes creator Tim Kring. This is his first book for teens.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (June 1, 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 (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,202,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I sat with a longtime acquaintance on the train the other day; he handles YA novels for a major publisher. When I brought up a couple of my favorite YA authors (both reviewed here)who focus on gay teens, he dismissed gay books as "usually bad." A gay man dismissing gay-themed YA books as bad--without actually knowing either of the authors' work. I could have slugged him. But he's otherwise a nice guy, so I let it pass.

Having just finished Dale Peck's "Sprout," recommended to me by a friend on AfterElton's gay lit forum, I'm thinking I should have slugged my friend after all.

Before starting to write this, I read the worst reviews of "Sprout" here. I see why those reviewers were displeased, but I hasten to say they missed the point. "Sprout" is a double-edged (or, perhaps, two-sided) story. It starts out surprisingly light-hearted, and laugh-out-loud funny. It takes a very unhappy subject and turns it into a picaresque adventure of a broken man and his confused and damaged son setting off to create a new life. Or, possibly, the story of a budding novelist who is helped to discover his talent by a quirky and damaged midwestern school teacher.

But, as one complaining reviewer wrote, midway through the book things take a darker turn, and the emotional pain beneath the laughter comes rising to the surface. And with it comes love, which in turn reveals more pain. But far from putting me off, this shift in tone simply pulled me into Daniel Bradford's world more fully. It helped me understand that the strength this boy was showing was real, but also that it masked wounds that had scarred over without healing. The pain at the end of the story, which left me weeping and exhilarated at the same time, shows us that Sprout is going to be fine; that he will, after all, heal.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a fascinating novel! The characters are so vivid and well-drawn that I felt like I was really Sprout, even though I am nothing like him. Except I grew up in Nebraska, small town dusty countryside ... Fortunately my dad was the drunk, not the horrible Christian nutcase that Ty's was!

Both Ty and Daniel (aka "Sprout") have lost their mothers, but in different ways. Both has crazy, dysfunctional fathers. But the similarities end there, except they both fall in love with a strange outsider boy in school.

I liked the book a lot, but I want to give my negative comments on it. Just as some other reviewer said, it felt like the novel broke in two. There was pre-Ty and then post-Ty. For example, Ruthie Wilcox just ingloriously falls out of the story. What about Ian Abernathy? Is he gay or not? Lots of unanswered questions left me frustrated. Mrs. Miller's influence seriously declines in the second half, only to make an almost "deux ex machina" reapparance at the end. So from a literary perspective, the book wasn't very unified. It didn't cohere.

From an emotional standpoint, I felt that Ty's beatings at the hand of his father were very very depressing. I so wanted him to escape that evil cruel dad and I guess he did, but to where, nobody knows. It is almost like Ty drops off the end of the earth, not too different from his twin brother Hollis who drowns himself in a shallow pond. Pretty damn depressing.

There were several moments when I thought we were about to get a gay teenage "Thelma and Louise" story, but fortunately, the author led us down the garden path only to duck into a side bush and trick us. I actually love "Thelma and Louise" but it would trite to repeat it in a gay teen boy setting.
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