"A rush of missing sisters, supernatural powers, breathless crushes, ancient prophecies, and deadly secrets revealed at glamorous parties... spooky and fun!" Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket, author of A Series of Unfortunate Events
"Suspenseful, atmospheric, and romantic Sparked transported me." Lauren Kate, author of the New York Times -bestselling Fallen series
"Supernatural teens in literature are old hat, but Echlin and Watrous inject their novel with zeal and ingenuity. Characters, for one, are expertly drawn. The narrative playfully reveals supertalents one at a time while the greatest mystery is who the demon-esque Druj will inhabit... A fresh, enthusiastic, and wholly satisfying take on a familiar subgenre." Kirkus Reviews
" Sparked is a masterful mélange of action, the supernatural, and teen romance. Every character is unique and every twist is unexpected. The story, told with wit and candor, just kept accelerating until its rip-roaring ending. I tore through this book." Katie Crouch, author of New York Times bestseller Girls in Trucks and The Magnolia League series
" Sparked is that rare thinga gripping mystery with psychological depth. It's a hauntingly accurate portrayal of the complex relationships between sisters and the lengths that the younger will go to save her older sister. I was riveted from the beginning and hooked to the satisfying end." Erica Lorraine Scheidt, author of Uses for Boys
" Sparked proves its worth from page one. It's a supernatural thriller that reads with an easy, almost effortless, flow. Really, really impressive." Mike Rich, author of Skavenger's Hunt , screenwriter of The Rookie , Radio , and Finding Forrester
Gr 7–10—This prosaic tale of paranormal suspense is set in a remote area near a state park in Cascade, Oregon. It opens with artsy elder sister Ivy suddenly absent from the underwhelming trailer she shares with her unreliable mother and her sister Laurel, the primary narrator. It's Laurel who is most alarmed at Ivy's disappearance and unconvinced by the note found by the coffee machine about visiting a friend. Laurel's attempts to find her sister soon turn to rescue as her dreams are haunted with a revelatory overlay of events from Ivy's own viewpoint; these snippets of shared experience confirm kidnapping, complete with handcuffs, a trapdoor, and a menacing man in a ski mask. The cause for alarm rises when Laurel gets to know an adorable new boy in her English class. Jasper, gifted with an ability to start fires himself, reveals that he knows Ivy and has helped her to develop her emerging telekinesis. A cryptic 3,000-year-old Zoroastrian prophecy involving an apocalyptic evil to be unleashed on the world from Cascade if not for the linking of four locals with magical powers to combat it is coming to pass. Ivy is one of the "sparked," but others must be found and convinced to save Ivy and the world—all by Halloween, less than a week away. Certain niggling, real-world incongruities—like a jukebox in a school cafeteria and the teenage characters' minimal use of cell phones and social media—make the work feel a bit out of touch. VERDICT Like a somewhat forgettable episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this entertainment will transport less demanding readers with accelerating momentum even if truly felicitous prose and plotting aren't along for the ride.—Suzanne Gordon, Lanier High School, Sugar Hill, GA
Teens with newfound powers may be the only ones who can stop an ancient evil from rising in Echlin (Gone, 2002) and Watrous' (If You Follow Me, 2010) supernatural mystery.Laurel Goodwin gets worried when she awakens one morning and sees big sis and bestie Ivy isn't in their Airstream trailer in Cascade, Oregon. Ivy's note still leaves Laurel anxious since the handwriting doesn't quite match her sister's. She and mom Sheila, however, are reluctant to involve authorities, fearing Child Protective Services will reopen Sheila's old negligence case and split the family apart. Ivy's friends haven't seen her, and hunky new kid in school, Jasper Blake, is also looking for her. He's been "tutoring" her, and Laurel's shocked to learn both Ivy and Jasper have special abilities. This validates Laurel's ominous dream in which Ivy displays her power—as a masked man's kidnapping victim. According to an ancient prophecy, an evil force called Druj will rise during a lunar eclipse unless four people with special powers unite. Such powers could also help find Ivy. Unfortunately, two possibilities are Cascade's resident mean girls, Peyton Andersen and Mei Rosen, who may be disinclined to help if for no other reason than spite. Supernatural teens in literature are old hat, but Echlin and Watrous inject their novel with zeal and ingenuity. Characters, for one, are expertly drawn. Jasper can't be one of the select four since his power, as he enigmatically states, has caused harm. Similarly, Laurel's first-person voice intermittently gives way to perspective from Peyton and Mei, providing both with much-needed sympathy. The narrative playfully reveals supertalents one at a time while the greatest mystery is who the demon-esque Druj will inhabit, if it hasn't already done so. There are perhaps a few too many references to Jasper's "incredible" green eyes or Ivy's beauty. Despite this, potential romance between Laurel and Jasper is superbly understated, and the ending even teases a sequel.A fresh, enthusiastic, and wholly satisfying take on a familiar subgenre.