by Holly Schindler
Release Date: May 17th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy, Magic, Realism
The local Avery Theater was just a run-down building to Quin—until her mother told her the tragic love story of Nick and Emma that played out on the theater’s stage all those years ago. Quin is convinced it’s the perfect story to rewrite for her drama class, but when she goes searching for more information, she makes a startling discovery—the Avery is rapidly regaining its former splendor and setting the stage for her classmates Dylan and Cass to relive Nick and Emma’s romance. Quin can see the spark between them, but it’s up to her to make sure her friends—and the Avery—can both be saved this time around.
Ever since the tragic accident that occurred in 1947, the Avery Theater has been closed. According to Quin’s mom, Dahlia, who was a child at the time, the theater and its magic died that day. But there is still a little bit of magic in the dilapidated theater. It awaits the day when the right hearts will enter and bring their true love. When that happens, all that is needed is a spark.
Spark, by Holly Schindler. I love the title. It encapsulates the story in many ways. And the cover is magical, just like the story inside. As far as YA novels go, Spark is definitely different, unique and fantastic. The setting, placed in the past and present was wonderful and well-done. The characters were developed and deep. And the magic was, well, absolutely magical.
The story is of two romances, past and present. Their stories are parallel in every way, except, thankfully, for the ending of the one in the past. Several key characters present in the past are also paralleled in the present, one of which is the main character, paralleled to her great-grandmother, the eccentric Bertie who foretold much of the story. The romance of the present, featuring Cass and Dylan, is intended to right the wrongs that were committed in the first, bringing a once-in-forever kind of love to the theater.
A person would think, given the situation, that the narrator and main character of the story would be the one in the epic, once-in-forever relationship. But it is actually Quin’s best friend in the relationship. This, in my opinion, is probably the most unique and well-done part of the story: the narrator is not the main character. Quin is the observer and collector of facts. She knows more than anyone what is going on with the Avery, the past, and the present. She orchestrates as much as she can, but she is neither the person in the relationship or the true mastermind of the situation. Yet Quin is genuine with a part to play. The author pulled off this wacky narration expertly. I cannot begin to express how epic I believe this book is because of the way Holly Schindler narrated this book! It is truly astounding, and I applaud her.
I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy YA novels with a little bit of romance, history, and theater mixed in.
I received a free copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
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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.