Spark by Atthys J. Gage

Spark by Atthys J. Gage
Publisher: Lycaon Press
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Full Length
Age Recommendation: 14+
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

Unexplained corpses? An unearthly visitor? One game between her team and the playoffs? Yeah, it’s been that kind of day for Francy Mac.

People are dying downtown, their bodies shriveled away to almost nothing. The police are mystified and outrageous rumors are flying. Fifteen year-old Francy Macmillan listens, but says nothing. It isn’t a comfort knowing that no matter how far-fetched the theories, the truth is even stranger.

For Francy, the truth wasn’t very hard to find. It followed her home from basketball practice one night, a floating bauble of light that speaks inside her mind and shares her thoughts and her feelings. Is it an alien wanderer fallen from some distant star? Or a shard of some divine entity? Whatever it is, Spark seems to like her.

But as their friendship grows, a disturbing fact emerges: Spark knows who is responsible for those deaths. With Spark’s help, it is up to Francy to stop them. Spark leads Francy into a strange alternate reality, along with her friends: beautiful Echo with the dragon tattoo; moody Brooke with the wicked jaw; and Owen Owens, the boy with the fascinating eyes who may just get around to kissing her one of these days—assuming the world doesn’t end first.

Some aliens look like little green men. Spark isn’t one of them.

Spark was by far my favorite character in this story. There are many physiological and psychological differences between our species, but the most surprising one for me was that Spark can’t be classified as male or as female. In fact, the entire concept of gender was irrelevant for this alien. It was fascinating, then, to see how an entity who has never even heard of that idea responds to it. The passages explaining these interactions were the most interesting ones for me.

This book had some pacing issues. A great deal of time was spent describing what Francy’s life was like before she met Spark. The plot was also regularly interrupted in order to describe the many differences between Spark’s dimension and our own. While I appreciated the details, it was distracting to absorb so many of them while also trying to figure out the mystery. There were just too many things to remember.

I liked having the time to mull over each clue before another one was revealed. This was especially helpful for the ones that weren’t easy to piece together right away. There is definitely something to be said for a clue that requires a little thinking to unravel. The plot was heavily focused on Francy trying to figure out what was happening, so seeing it all unfold gradually made sense.

Spark is a good choice for anyone in the mood for a slow-burning young adult mystery.

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