“The Language of Sparrows” by Rachel Phifer is an engaging story of teenage angst, miscommunication and family dynamics. Sierra Wright is 15 years old and brilliant, especially in languages. She seems unable to communicate in her own language to the people who matter and goes through life hiding from everyone.
Sierra’s father, who was also brilliant has recently died and her mother has relocated them to be closer to her family. What Sierra doesn’t know is that her father suffered from severe depression and actually committed suicide. Sierra’s mother is so afraid that she might be like her father that she can’t tell her the truth. Meanwhile Sierra befriends an old Romanian man, Luca, and finds solace in his company. It turns out that Luca is the father of a teacher who has taken an interest in Sierra’s well-being.
There are many twists and turns in this lovely story about grief, letting go, discovery and family dynamics. The characters are well-developed and mostly likeable. I found the mother, April, to be weak and annoying in the way that she treated her daughter. That’s just my opinion of her though. This is really a good read.