Friday, October 30, 2020

Review: A Frenzy of Sparks by Kristin Fields

Title: A Frenzy of Sparks
Author: Kristin Fields
Published: November 2020, Lake Union Publishing
Format: ARC Paperback, 252 pages
Source: Publisher via Publicist

From the author of A Lily in the Light comes a poignant story of innocence lost and what it means to grow up too fast.

It’s 1965, and thirteen-year-old Gia, along with her older brother and cousins, are desperate to escape their sleepy, tree-lined neighborhood where nothing ever happens. The only thing Gia would miss is the surrounding marsh, where she feels at home among sea birds and salt water.

But when one of Gia’s cousins brings drugs into their neighborhood, it sets off a chain of events that quickly turn dangerous. Everyone will be caught in the ripples, and some may be swept away entirely. Gia is determined to keep herself and her family afloat while the world is turned upside down around her. Can she find a way to hold on to the life she was so eager to leave behind, or will she have to watch it all disappear beneath the marsh forever?

At turns heart-wrenching and hopeful, A Frenzy of Sparks explores a world where survival is the attempt to move forward while leaving pieces of your heart behind.

My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by Kristin Fields and what a beautifully written, yet heart-wrenching story it was. It's a coming of age story that is made all the more captivating because of the fact that it is unfortunately so timely even today.

While this book is set a few years earlier than when I was a kid, I remember the days of innocent summer fun that Gia had, just hanging out with my siblings, longing to be older and be able to "do stuff." That is until all that innocence is shattered when drugs make their way into Gia's neighborhood and nothing is the same.

This book took hold of me and never let go. I think because it is narrated from Gia's perspective, I found it to be extremely captivating. This book takes you on such an emotional journey as you watch first-hand how life turns upside for Gia and her family. Her brother becomes addicted and turns into a completely different person. Gia does her best to keep things normal but will she be able to keep this up?

I've seen how drug addiction can change people and I've seen what it can do to families. This book brought some of that to mind. When one person struggles, it affects the whole family and then some. Kristin Fields does such a phenomenal job portraying that and that is why I stated at the beginning of this review that this book is unfortunately still so timely. A Frenzy of Sparks may be set in 1965, but drug use unfortunately has not come and gone.

I highly recommend this book. It is a powerful, thought-provoking read that will stay with me for quite some time. And I think this will make a great bookclub much to unpack and discuss!


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