Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.



4.0 2
by Holly Schindler

See All Formats & Editions

Acclaimed author Holly Schindler writes a compelling contemporary tale with a dash of magic. The theater comes to life in this story of family ties, fate, love, and one girl’s quest to rewrite history.

The local Avery Theater was just a run-down building to Quin—until her mother told her about the tragic love that played out on the theater’s


Acclaimed author Holly Schindler writes a compelling contemporary tale with a dash of magic. The theater comes to life in this story of family ties, fate, love, and one girl’s quest to rewrite history.

The local Avery Theater was just a run-down building to Quin—until her mother told her about the tragic love that played out on the theater’s stage many years ago. Quin is convinced it’s the perfect story to re-create for her drama class. And when she does, the Avery begins to magically regain its former splendor, clearly setting the stage for her classmates Dylan and Cass to relive the romance from a time before. 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.

Editorial Reviews

“Rooted in magic realism, this sweet story faintly echoes Romeo and Juliet as it explores what it means to be a survivor, a bystander, and a member of a small community. Schindler’s story casts a shimmering spell.”
School Library Journal
Gr 6–10—Strange and powerful forces are at work in the skies over sleepy Verona, MO, a small town with a dying town square and some buried tragedies. High school senior Quin has been raised on the legend of the long-abandoned Avery Theater's glamorous past and tragic closure. When her adoptive mother, the high school drama teacher, forces the advanced drama class to stage a production of Anything Goes to raise money to revive the Avery, all hell breaks loose and past and present intertwine in a whirlwind of memories, strange happenings, romantic sparks, and flashes of memory. This urgent yet sweetly told tale of history, small-town tragedy, and magic lacks something as a theater story—rehearsals and performances are often skipped in favor of magical denouements and dramatic flashbacks—but the fast pace and slightly eerie writing are appealing. The first-person narrative allows readers to see the world through Quin's caring, wide-open eyes and loving perspective as she works hard to showcase her friends' latent talents and honor her town's history. VERDICT An innocent, hopeful, lightly magical romance, ideal for teens looking for "clean reads" and historical nostalgia.—Katya Schapiro, Brooklyn Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Quin hopes her drama-class senior project can save a local theater and change the course of history. "At Verona High, drama is for the shy." Quin and her classmates in Advanced Drama are "senior nobodies" who would prefer to blend into the scenery. But their teacher (who happens to be Quin's mom) wants to use their senior project to save the Avery, a local theater in their small town that was shuttered 70 years ago after a pair of star-crossed lovers, Emma and Nick, died on its stage. Reluctantly, the class begins to work on the project—a production of Anything Goes—with Quin as the director. At the same time, Quin learns that the Avery is somehow beginning to revive itself. She also discovers that her classmates Cass and Dylan are reliving the doomed romance of Emma and Nick. In Quin, Schindler has crafted a quick-witted, white protagonist who draws readers into her search for answers about her family's past as well as the Avery's. Scenes set in the past are rich with authentic voices and period detail, and Schindler's crisp prose flows easily between the past and the present. Even when it seems impossible for the show to go on, Schindler's imaginative story will have readers rooting for Quin and her classmates to "break a leg." A tale of love, family, and friendship, tailor-made for readers who believe in the mystery and magic of the theater. (Paranormal thriller. 13-18)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
13 Years

Meet the Author

Holly Schindler writes for all ages from her home in Springfield, Missouri. Her YAs are critically acclaimed and award winning, and her Midwest roots often make an appearance in her books for teens. Readers, librarians, teachers, and book groups can keep up with the latest or get in touch at www.hollyschindler.com.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Spark 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
EmilyAnneK17 More than 1 year ago
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.
ruthsic More than 1 year ago
I first thought Spark was a contemporary romance, but it is more of a supernatural book, about reviving a past through a star-crossed love. Quin's mother has been trying to get the local theatre Avery to not be torn down, and since she is also their drama teacher, has made the Advanced Drama class of the school to put on Avery's last play to raise funds. Quin, for her part, loves the bedtime story she was brought up on - the story of Emma and Nick, who died on the stage of the Avery in 1947. So now, being made the director of the play she is put to the task to get her reluctant classmates to bring about a miracle - to put on a play that won't, at the very least, embarrass them. Worse is the fact that they have mostly been put into roles they don't want - like her best friend Cass, who wishes to stay out of the spotlight due to the huge birthmark on her face, but has been cast as the lead, or the quiet stuttering loner Dylan, who has been made the music director. But what Quin doesn't expect is the fact of the two of them, Cass and Dylan, coming together and continuing the story of the lovers from before. With them, the magic of the theatre has come alive, as was foretold by Quin's own great grandmother. So, while she and Cass are hiding the secret of the magic of the theater, events are unfolding to show Quin the past. The writing I found to be descriptive in a way that brought the magic of seeing it along with it, a story unfolding in the mind just like how it was being shown to Quin. The magic itself isn't really explained, though, which was a let-down for me. Everybody just sees it and goes along with it - like an entire town - and nobody questions whether some hallucinogen got into their water supply. And any plot hole was explained away by magic. That ending was good, though, and brought a nice conclusion to the story. In summation, I found it to be an interesting story, but felt a lot of details were skimmed over.