Rose Marshall died in 1952 in Buckley Township, Michigan, run off the road by a man named Bobby Cross—a man who had sold his soul to live forever, and intended to use her death to pay the price of his immortality. Trouble was, he didn’t ask Rose what she thought of the idea.
It’s been more than sixty years since that night, and she’s still sixteen, and she’s still running.
They have names for her all over the country: the Girl in the Diner. The Phantom Prom Date. The Girl in the Green Silk Gown. Mostly she just goes by “Rose,” a hitchhiking ghost girl with her thumb out and her eyes fixed on the horizon, trying to outrace a man who never sleeps, never stops, and never gives up on the idea of claiming what’s his. She’s the angel of the overpass, she’s the darling of the truck stops, and she’s going to figure out a way to win her freedom. After all, it’s not like it can kill her.
You can’t kill what’s already dead.
McGuire (the InCryptid series) brings empathy, complexity, and a shivering excitement to this well-developed campfire tale. Many stories have been told about a hitchhiker, a young woman sometimes dressed in a prom dress or jeans and a T-shirt who roams the highways in search of a ride. Rose Marshall is that hitcher, also known as the Ghost of Sparrow Hill Road. Rose has two purposes: one is helping the newly dead make the transition between states, and the other is hunting down Bobby Cross, the man who killed her in order to gain immortality. This is the story of her death, and her life. This mesmerizing tale had its beginnings in the short story "The Edge of Propinquity"; McGuire has smoothly turned it into a powerful blend of ghost story, love story, and murder mystery, wrapped in a perfectly neat package.
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Our Review by LITERAL ADDICTION's Pack Alpha - Chelle:
If you're a fan of ghost stories, creative worldbuilding, and fun, quirky heroines, you'll want to check out SPARROW HILL ROAD.
Rose Marshall is a sixteen-year-old from the 50s, killed nonsensically on prom night and taken from her one true love. For over 60 years, she has performed the job given to her by the Lady upon death, and has traveled the roads as a hitcher, helping other ghosts that die on the road get home--one way or the other. But she has one other driving purpose: find and eliminate the jerk who killed her. Bobby Cross.
Told as a series of interconnected snippets jumping from past to present in her encounters with other ghosts and witches and the living, SPARROW HILL ROAD is a very creative tale that engages and entertains. It can get a little confusing at times if you're not thoroughly invested, as the McGuire uses small chapter flashbacks to help drive the tale and there is lots of random character interaction for different purposes depending on the ghost story she is attempting to tell, but the creativity that went into the creation of this world and its characters was a breath of fresh air.
Thick juicy American folktale
Calling this a ghost story is a disservice - it’s more of a modern day folktale that uses the roads and back streets of America as one of its characters. You can actually feel how the road is born, grows, gives life and character to those who journey upon it, and dies as what it was created to do changes over time. How the road has created America and the people who live with it — not the other way around. Upon this road, the author has created an afterlife so rich and full of “life” that it seems that it has always existed, and will always continue to exist. I really never found myself having to suspend belief here — the world building feels totally natural. It’s like we know it’s there, but thankfully is just beyond reach to all but a few lucky (or dammed) folks. With Rose, we are given a brief glance at what is under the covers of our would - the hidden life giving fluid that all the other stories are based on. Very good, surprising smart read.
Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire
S. McGuire's word-craft is mesmerizing and utterly original!
BEST. Ghost story. EVER.