Julie Hoffman is sixteen, clumsy, and a dreamer. Not such a great combo when your mom has moved you to a new school on Long Island. Feeling alone and ugly, Julie dreams about her estranged dad coming back and calling her Sparrow again. All she has left to remember him by is his collection of adventure and fantasy novels-which propels her into developing a fantasy of her own.
In her new school Julie meets the members of the Clan of the Western Holt-a group of bright, imaginative kids like herself who don't quite fit in. They devour comic books, sew costumes for Renaissance Faires, stage mock hunts, and huddle together for warmth and friendship against a world that ridicules them.
The Clan brings out a talent for writing that has lain dormant in Julie. With Dana Burke, a young artist, Julie begins to write her own fantasy-`Sparrow's Flight'-and in it she puts all of her crises and dreams. She is able to give voice to her fears and desires through he make-believe characters-chronicling a painful experience with love, betrayal, and death.
In her fantasy, Julie goes on an imaginary quest for her father and a mission to destroy the evil sorceress-her mom. But when she has the real-life chance to accomplish both, Julie finds that she has changed and makes her first adult decision.