SPARK by Sarah Beth Durst

SPARK

Age Range: 9 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

While training to help helm the weather, a girl realizes that her country’s constructed climate has consequences.

Twelve-year-old Mina lives on her family’s farm in sunny Alorria, country of soft breezes and blue skies. There’s never been a tornado, hurricane, or thunderstorm; except on the mountaintops, snow exists only in stories. But the climate isn’t naturally occurring: Five types of storm beasts—sun, rain, wind, snow, lightning—and their loving human guardians keep the weather calm and productive. For example, they direct wind to the sea and moderate it to sailors’ advantage. When Mina’s beast hatches as a lightning beast, everyone’s shocked: Mina’s so quiet she often goes unheard, and lightning guardians should be “brash and loud and brave.” But Mina is brave, though sometimes self-doubting, and she finds creative ways to be heard. Probing the undiscussed connection between Alorria’s intentional weather and the weather across the mountains where “outsiders” live spurs this thoughtful heroine into forbidden actions to address her realization that “The truth ha[s] faces. And graves.” Race is unmentioned; nothing hints away from a white default. The effusive adoration between Mina and her beast, Pixit, evokes The Golden Compass’ Lyra and Pan, though Pixit and Mina can separate; readers will crave their own dragon-shaped storm beast with a face “like a lizard crossed with a puppy” to take them flying into storms and grabbing lightning with their hands.

Warm, exciting, hopeful, and ethical. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 14th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-328-97342-9
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2019




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