The Bone Sparrow (ARC) | Poignant and Lovely

*This is a spoiler-free review.


 Book Title: The Bone Sparrow.

 Author: Zana Fraillon.

 Series: Standalone.

 Page Count: 240 Pages (Kindle ARC Edition).

 Genres: Middle Grade, Fiction & Contemporary.

 Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 stars.

*I received a copy from Disney-Hyperion via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Subhi is a refugee. Born in an Australian permanent detention center after his mother and sister fled the violence of a distant homeland, Subhi has only ever known life behind the fences. But his world is far bigger than that—every night, the magical Night Sea from his mother’s stories brings him gifts, the faraway whales sing to him, and the birds tell their stories. And as he grows, his imagination threatens to burst beyond the limits of his containment.

The most vivid story of all, however, is the one that arrives one night in the form of Jimmie—a scruffy, impatient girl who appears on the other side of the wire fence and brings with her a notebook written by the mother she lost. Unable to read it herself, she relies on Subhi to unravel her family’s love songs and tragedies.

Subhi and Jimmie might both find comfort—and maybe even freedom—as their tales unfold. But not until each has been braver than ever before.


The Bone Sparrow is a poignant but lovely and vivid novel that I really, really enjoyed. This is my first ever middle grade novel, and I think it has such a captivating and heart warming story that it will speak to so many more people than just middle grade readers. 

In The Bone Sparrow we get to meet Subhi, a boy stuck in an Australian refugee camp his entire life, but Subhi has an imagination that is bursting at the seams and that is larger than life. Subhi loves stories and drawing – I think that is the only way he stayed even remotely sane inside the detention center. We also meet Jimmie who stays just over the hill from the refugee camp, an eccentric girl who just shows up one night at the edge of the fence with a notebook in hand asking Subhi to read her the stories inside.

I loved both Subhi and Jimmie, both separately and together. They both had such important stories to tell and life experiences to share and I felt that together they helped each other so much. I loved the stories that Subhi told Jimmie and I loved that Jimmie brought Subhi hot chocolate, they truly had a remarkable friendship. Just two very different people becoming very good friends.

I absolutely adored the creativity in the writing and the vividness of Subhi’s imaginations. It really made it feel like there was a hidden story within the actual novel and I really enjoyed reading about that. I also loved learning about the circumstances of these refugee camps even though they weren’t exactly pretty. I think it is important to talk about these kind of things to make people more aware of it and about the fact that it is unfair and that the living circumstances are vile. I think the author manages to bring forth an amazing message in a poignant but yet understanding way. 

There’s so many important things that happen in this book accompanied by so many important life lessons. I wish I could share with you every single story and sad thing that happens, but that would unfortunately spoil so many great things for you. So all I’m going to say is that I would definitely recommend picking this one up.



  •  The creative writing was stunning.
  • I loved the vividness of Subhi’s stories and dreams.
  • Subhi and Jimmie were great characters.
  • This novel had so many great messages to learn.


  • Sometimes the story within the story got a bit confusing and it was hard to tell if it was real or just an imagined story.


I really think that The Bone Sparrow should be read by everyone. Just read it and maybe take along some tissues.


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*The Bone Sparrow will be available from 1 November 2016.


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