Review: The Bone Sparrow


The Bone SparrowThe Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.


I wish this book was never written, I wish this book was based on pure fiction. I wish the author never had the reasons to write this book. At the same time, I’m very thankful that this book exist because it seriously opened my eyes to the cruelty of humanity.

The Bone Sparrow is a book about refugees and asylum seekers that is told by a young boy’s point of view. It’s a book that will hit you hard in the face with the reality of our world while also giving you beautiful prose and endearing characters.

This book is written in a way that it will feel like you’re reading a fantasy book or that it has a touch of magic realism. From a 10 year old’s point of view the story unfolds innocently and dreamy because we get things like, a talking duck or a magical night sea that brings gifts, but it does not shy away from all the ugliness. In fact, you’ll probably get a big dose of some heartbreaking reality of what is happening inside detention centres.

Subhi, our main character, is a young boy who has no memories outside the detention centre because for his whole life that is the only place he got to see. So we don’t get someone who is complaining about what’s happening to them or someone who’s crying for justice, we get this innocent kid who’s trying to understand the things around him. I loved Subhi’s character so much, he’s one of those lovely characters that you can’t help but care for.

The other character Jimmie, a young girl from the outside, was also very endearing. We can surely learn a thing or two from this kid. Despite being sad because of her mother’s death, she befriends Subhi and these two creates a friendship that is bonded by hot chocolate, stories, and innocent love.

The overall pace of the book is slow, and nothing much happens until you get to 3/4 of the book. But the beauty of it is that it allowed the author to give as a clear picture and description on what happens inside the detention centre.

The Bone Sparrow is a book that everyone should read because it’s about something that we all should be aware of. I couldn’t help but cry when I finished reading it, I felt so sad and vulnerable thinking that things like these happen to real-life people. I wanted to help so badly, but instead I was just crying there like an idiot.

I extremely recommend this book to everyone, it’s a poignant and important novel that will surely touch hearts across generations. This book will leave you slightly heartbroken, but above that it sends out a lot of hope for humanity.

Thank you so much Netgalley and the publisher for giving me an eARC of this book.

That’s all, thank you so much for reading. If you want to read more book reviews from this blog, just click here. And you could also find my reviews in Goodreads.

23 thoughts on “Review: The Bone Sparrow

  1. This book has been on my TBR for ages but I haven’t had the chance to pick it up yet! I’m glad to see that you’ve given it a good rating – I too wish this book never had to be written, but alas. :/

    I’m definitely picking this up soon, thanks to your review! I’ll be ready for the slow pacing and I hope it’ll be eye-opening and thought-provoking for me. Thanks for your honest review, Louise. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope you’ll be able to pick it up soon! Tbh, I didn’t know much about refugees and asylum seekers and this book really helped me to be aware of the issues involving them. Thank you so much, Reg! Hopefully you’ll enjoy this book too. ❤


  2. I love coming across books that talk about relevant issues because it gives a voice to the victims that are caught in the crossfire. In light of last night’s political events, I am frightened for refugees and the people who currently reside in the US.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This has been added to my TBR after this review. I enjoy nonfiction that has a fantasy/fiction feel to it, so that’s a plus. Your review is so great, and although I’m expecting a sad journey, I’m intrigued to read this novel.

    Liked by 1 person

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