Wednesday, May 8, 2019

YA ARC Review: Spark by Sarah Beth Durst

Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Publication: Clarion Books (May 14, 2019)

Description: When a shy girl and her dragon-like companion discover their country’s idyllic weather comes at a steep—and secret—cost, they recruit fellow students to defy authority and attempt to spread the truth.

Storm beasts and their guardians create perfect weather every day, and Mina longs for a storm beast of her own. But when the gentle girl bonds with a lightning beast—a creature of fire and chaos—everyone’s certain it’s a mistake. Everyone but Mina and the beast himself, Pixit. Quickly enrolled in lightning school, Mina struggles to master a guardian’s skills, and she discovers that her country's weather comes at a devastating cost—a cost powerful people wish to hide. Mina’s never been the type to speak out, but someone has to tell the truth, and, with Pixit’s help, she resolves to find a way to be heard.

My Thoughts: This is the story of a quiet young girl named Mina who lives in Alloria where the weather is always perfect. It is kept perfect because of the bonding between children and storm beasts. Mina is one of the children who bonds with a storm beast. However, when her egg hatches into a lightning beast, her family is certain that some big mistake has been made. Lightning beasts need assertive, loud partners. Mina is certain that her lightning beast Pixit is just perfect for her but her family isn't at all used to listening to her and don't really listen when she tries to tell them. They love her but they don't really know her.

When Mina and Pixit go off to be trained, Mina has her doubts too. All the other students are much more extroverted and boisterous than she is. Pixit is there to boost her confidence even when the skills Mina needs don't come easy to her. When a storm throws Mina and Pixit to the other side of the mountain that they have been forbidden to cross, Mina is surprised to learn the consequences of Alloria's weather control. The nearby country suffers from devastating storms that kill quite a few people.

Mina is determined to change things in her country. She needs to find her voice and convince the grown-ups who run things that they have to change their ways. It is wonderful to watch Mina as she learns that you don't have to be loud to have good ideas and that even quiet people can cause major changes.

This was an engaging middle grade fantasy with wonderful, well-developed characters and a message that was clear but that didn't overwhelm the story. I loved the worldbuilding and the storm beasts who bonded with their selected humans.

Favorite Quote:
"Come on," Vira urged. "You're a lightning guardian! You are fearless! You are fast! You will not be stopped! You will not be silenced!" Her voice rose louder and louder. "You are a thunderstorm come to life! Loud and ferocious!"

Silently Mina wailed, I'm not any of those things!

[You're my Mina. And we can do this.]
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoy middle grade stories and this sounds wonderful!


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