Sunday, February 24, 2013

Book Review: Spark by Melissa Dereberry

Spark tells the story of a girl who wakes up to learn that she's been in a coma for the past four years.  However, her brain has continued to function, so she ends up back in school, only four years is a long time, so her friends don't remember her.  The incident that caused her to fall into a coma also killed her best friend.

So not only has her brain continued to function, but she apparently learned all kinds of stuff because the novel sees her driving and socially interacting with her peers despite the 4-year gap.  And it's YA so there's hints of love triangles, but they're not well maintained, and there are throw-away characters that only pop in and out from time-to-time as needed.   And it's science fiction, so there's random stuff thrown that are tech-y and feel like they're going to be integral to the plot, only never to be mentioned again.

Turns out, this is a time travel story of love and loss and the questions that come with changing timelines or what could happen if one does mess with the space-time continuum.

And then, out of nowhere, 78% in (according to Kindle) we start swapping vantage points between the two main characters.  It's not a device we haven't seen before, but the fact that it starts so late in the book, it feels  jarring.   A book that has proceeded evenly (if not ploddingly or boringly as some other reviewer describe) suddenly shifts into overdrive, as if things need to be wrapped up quickly because someone's said "Ok, this has gone on long enough."  And with that sudden speed comes confusion and less understanding of what's really going on and by the end, you're actually surprised to find you've reached the end.  If it weren't on a Kindle, I would have looked for some careful X-acto knife work, like maybe someone had removed a chapter or epilogue or postscript or something.

Throughout the book, weather is mentioned a lot and a lightning strike was the catalyst that puts our main character in the coma (and kills her friend) to begin with.  With a name like "Spark" and the frequent references to weather, I kept expecting that to come into play, that as we pealed back the onion, that maybe we'd (maybe she'd come to realize) that maybe she had called forth the lightning and killed her friend or something.  But in the end, they apparently just lived in an area with a lot of bad weather.

If you've read any of my reviews before, I hate giving negative reviews, but I wouldn't recommend this book.
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