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Sparks: The Epic, Completely True Blue, (Almost) Holy Quest of Debbie

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Do you feel lost? Confused? Alone? (Circle one): Yes or No.

The Church of Blue can help. We are not a cult.

$5 for a holy quest is a good deal.

Since sixth grade, Debbie Woodlawn has nursed a secret, heart-searing crush on her best friend, Lisa. But all those years of pretending to enjoy Full House reruns and abstinence rallies with Lisa go down the drain when her friend hooks up with Norman, the most boring ...

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Sparks: The Epic, Completely True Blue, (Almost) Holy Quest of Debbie

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Do you feel lost? Confused? Alone? (Circle one): Yes or No.

The Church of Blue can help. We are not a cult.

$5 for a holy quest is a good deal.

Since sixth grade, Debbie Woodlawn has nursed a secret, heart-searing crush on her best friend, Lisa. But all those years of pretending to enjoy Full House reruns and abstinence rallies with Lisa go down the drain when her friend hooks up with Norman, the most boring guy at school. This earth-shattering event makes Debbie decide to do the unthinkable: confess her love to Lisa. And she has to do it tonight—before Lisa and Norman go past “the point of no return.”

So Debbie embarks on a quest to find Lisa. Guiding the quest are fellow students/detention hall crashers Emma and Tim, the founding (and only) members of the wacky Church of Blue. Three chases, three declarations of love, two heartbreaks, a break-in, and five dollars worth of gas later, Debbie has been fully initiated into Bluedaism—but is there time left to stop Lisa and Norman from going too far?

Click here to view the book trailer for Sparks.

A 2013 Stonewall Children's & Young Adult Literature Honor Book

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Adams’s touching and humorous first novel introduces 16-year-old Debbie Woodlawn, who has been pretending for the last five years that she is not in love with her best friend, Lisa. Debbie has watched umpteen Full House reruns, put up with Lisa’s religious family, and even joined Active Christian Teens to remain close to Lisa. But when Lisa begins dating Norman Hastings, “probably the most boring human being on the planet,” Debbie feels lost and alone. Then she meets Emma and Tim, an unlikely pair who fought off their own demons by making up a religion, “Bluedaism,” which states that everyone has benevolent, magic sparks of blue inside, and encourages spontaneity and acceptance. They offer Debbie a Holy Quest, which takes them across Des Moines, Iowa, over the course of one wild night, as they search for Debbie’s backpack, which contains a confession of her love. Adams has an easy sense of humor (Debbie’s narration is filled with sharp one-liners), and Debbie and her offbeat cohorts are nuanced and authentic as they follow a circuitous path to greater self-awareness and self-reliance. Ages 12–up. (Nov.)
VOYA - Shana Morales
Secretly in love with her best friend, Lisa, for the better part of her teenage years, sixteen-year-old Debbie has finally had enough. Spending every Friday night watching Full House reruns and joining Active Christian Teens to stay near Lisa, Debbie lacks a life of her own. With Lisa growing increasingly close to her boyfriend, Norman, Debbie sets off on a series of "quests" with new friends, Emma and Tim, to profess her love and move on with her life. A cute premise that does not quite click, Sparks has its ups and downs. Too many Full House references irritate the flow of the story, making it seem as though the author has either watched too much Full House or did too much research. Secondary characters Emma and Tim are the highlight of the story. Quirky and compelling in their own ways, they could carry a story on their own. Debbie is sweet and naive, so uncomfortable with exploring who she is without Lisa that many of the interactions in the book cause Debbie to come off significantly younger than she is. Interactions with so many side characters and the number of quests may cause the reader to get lost in time when the events take place in only a matter of hours. Sparks touches upon many subjects, including sexuality, religion, and eating disorders. Teens struggling with branching off on their own, with their own sexuality or just discovering who they are will find Sparks says what they may not be able to. A worthy addition to an LGBT fiction collection, this imperfect read has a lot of heart. Reviewer: Shana Morales
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Debbie, a junior, has been in love with her best friend, Lisa, for five years. In fact, she has created an entire set of interests and religious beliefs as a way of remaining by her side. But when Lisa suddenly gets a boyfriend, Debbie realizes that she needs to figure out who she really is and what she really wants. With the help of two unlikely sidekicks, she sets off on a quest of hilarious adventures where she receives her first kiss, makes some great new friends, and figures out how she wants her life to look from then on out. A funny and quirky coming-of-age novel, this book will appeal to teenagers who are a little bit on the outside looking to find their places in the world.—Sharon Senser McKellar, Oakland Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
What's a heartbroken teen to do when the object of her secret lesbian crush ditches her for a boring boyfriend? Debbie, who joined the Active Christian Teens to be closer to wholesome Lisa Ashby, is devastated when Lisa cancels their standing Friday-night Full House date to make out with pompous, tiresome Norman Hastings. Then a friend of a friend offers to tell Debbie about her new religion, and, desperate for change, Debbie accepts. So begins a zany, comic, all-in-one-night "holy quest" with Emma and Tim, inventors of the Church of Blue. "Bludaism," which holds that there are divine "Sparks of Blue" in everyone, emphasizes creativity, silliness and "matters of the heart," though its grabs from other religions are sometimes trivializing (the pair got "Bluddha," a painted Buddha figurine that adorns Emma's dashboard, "so we'd have something to pat for luck"). As Debbie, Emma and Tim drive around Des Moines aiming to complete the last three goals on a holy-quest checklist, locate a missing backpack and allow Debbie to declare her love to her best friend, they encounter a funny and satisfying set of recurring motifs and side characters. The final revelations are both surprising and believable, and though one checklist item--"witness a girl-on-girl kiss in which at least one participant has never kissed a girl before"--seems a bit too convenient, its execution is both original and appealing. A kinetic and well-paced comedy that just might win a few converts. (Fiction. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780738726762
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 11/8/2011
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 683,554
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

S.J. Adams previously worked as the chief of the Smart Aleck Staff, the team that created the acclaimed Smart Aleck's Guide to American History by Adam Selzer. Adams lives in Chicago. Visit the author online at or for more information.

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Read an Excerpt

Open publication - Free publishing - More adult

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2014

    I honestly believe this to be the greatest book ever written, th

    I honestly believe this to be the greatest book ever written, the story is presented with the soul and hope of a person with nothing to lose that I think any person can identify with. It had truly changed my life

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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