Monday, June 1, 2009

Review: Sprout by Dale Peck

Tags: YA, homosexuality, GLBT, writing

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Sixteen-year-old Daniel “Sprout” Bradford is gay. It’s not a secret, not even in their conservative little Kansas town, although perhaps Sprout would like to think that it does not define him. Neither are the facts that Sprout’s father is an eccentric alcoholic, his mother is dead, and he is their English teacher’s shining hope for winning the annual statewide essay-writing competition.

Sprout’s sexual adventures have always been “closeted”—literally and no pun intended. Then he meets Ty, and his world explodes. Ty is odd, religious, a little scary, and a victim of abuse. When he and Sprout share, however, is something that Sprout had never dreamed of experiencing. But their relationship must remain a secret, otherwise Ty’s father will kill them both. Or so Sprout thinks.

Who is Sprout really hiding from? Has he truly come to terms with his sexuality?


SPROUT is a hilarious, heartbreaking, and important addition to the world of GLBT literature. Dale Peck’s writing style is fascinating: reading SPROUT is like entering the mind of a highly intellectual and insightful teenage boy. Sprout frequently goes off on linguistic tangents that occasional distract, but more often add to the genuineness of the story.

While the plot moves slowly, I believe this was okay because the book is more like an elaborate character sketch of Sprout. It is not what actually occurs in Sprout’s life that is important, but rather his thought process that gets him to where he ends up at. By the end, you want to live in Sprout’s world, be his friend, have his friends. You want to have conversations with him, console him when he is distraught, advise him when he is being dumb.

SPROUT is a 2009 must-read by a talented author whose insights and wonderful way with words will take him far in the near future. Sprout may say that his book will never be allowed in school libraries, but I hope that that doesn’t deter everyone from picking this book up and learning something from this precocious young man.

Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Plot: 4/5

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Cover discussion: 1.5 out of 5 - I like the placing of the author's name, but unfortunately this is not a cover that would've made me pick up the book. Let's hope that others can overlook it and read its greatness!

Thank you to Anna at Bloomsbury for allowing me the pleasure of reading and review this book!


  1. Great review and I agree that it's a great book! I loved it.

  2. Hehe, can you say 'snap'? :P Great minds, matey!

    I'm so glad I'm not alone in my Sprout love, it really is a brilliant book, and one that I hope does really well.

    I'm with you on the US cover though -- it doesn't do much for the book. I think the UK one is nicer! The title text is more interesting.

  3. Woohoo, I'm so glad it turns out to be as great as how it looks. I so want to read this!

  4. Sounds like a really poignant story... I'll definitely look for it! It's really interesting reading books from the perspective of a male narrator -- makes me look at everything differently!


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