About Holly Schindler
Holly Schindler’s work has received starred reviews in Booklist and Publishers Weekly, has won silver and gold medals in ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year and the IPPY Awards, respectively, has been featured on Booklist’s Best First Novels for Youth and School Library Journal’s What’s Hot in YA, and has been a PW Pick of the Week. She is owned by a Pekingese named Jake, and can be found working on her next book in her hometown of Springfield, Missouri. She can also be found at hollyschindler.com.
Google +: https://plus.google.com/100507330376023545247/posts
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Review by Suze
Quin and her friends aren't popular. Quin writes, but doesn't share her work with anybody and doesn't want to be noticed. Her best friend Cass has a big mole in her face and their friend Dylan stutters. Quin's mother is their drama teacher and wants the class to give a performance to save the Avery, a once gorgeous old theater in town. Now it's dilapidated because nobody ever set foot in it anymore after the death of two young people, Emma and Nick. Quin is fascinated by the theater and by their story. She is the director of the play and she has to come up with a way to make their class shine instead of stumble, so they won't make fools of themselves.
The Avery is a magical place. Quin feels it straight away when she enters the building. It transforms Dylan and Cass. There they can be themselves. The theater shows Quin two different love stories with many similarities and real sparks. It's up to her to save everyone, but that isn't an easy task...
Spark is set in a small town that has a splendid theater. The Avery used to be grand, but now it's forgotten. When Quin and her friends enter the building it magically comes to life again. I'm a big fan of the theater and therefore loved this story from the first sentence. Holly Schindler's descriptions are detailed and vivid, I could easily picture the theater and the two love stories that are taking place. There's a combination of magic and romance that works very well. The love stories have an unusual aspect, because the narrator isn't the person who's falling in love. She's the person who watches them, which is a fantastic idea for a story that's all about performing in front of an audience. Quin is an excellent observer and it was fabulous to see what was happening on stage through her eyes. It's a remarkable construction and I think it's an amazing one.
I enjoy reading Magical Realism and was immediately enchanted by this story. Holly Schindler's sentences are beautiful. Her story reads like a fairytale. The first stages of rehearsing bring chaos and writing a play while practicing is a process that happens by trial and error. Holly Schindler uses that messiness to her advantage by making the reader feel it while she's still in control of the level of disorder. That is something else I really enjoyed about this book. I loved the author's creativity. The ending is magical and as wonderful as I hoped it would be. Spark is a brilliant unusual story.
Amazon paperback: http://amzn.to/1rI1bpz
Barnes & Noble (B&N): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spark-holly-schindler/1122566794?ean=9780062220233
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