My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

ARC Review & Giveaway: Spark


Please Note:  I received an ARC copy of this book as part of Hannah The Irish Banana's Blog Tour, and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This does not influence my opinions in my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Publisher):

The local Avery Theater was just a run-down building to Quin—until her mother told her the tragic love story of Nick and Emma that played out on the theater’s stage all those years ago. Quin is convinced it’s the perfect story to rewrite for her drama class, but when she goes searching for more information, she makes a startling discovery—the Avery is rapidly regaining its former splendor and setting the stage for her classmates Dylan and Cass to relive Nick and Emma’s romance. 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.


"Theater Geeks, Unite!"  That's what I thought when I read the synopsis for this book.  I was a total theater kid in high school.  I performed in nearly every show, was co-president of the Drama Club and co-directed the senior show!  I actually met my future husband in a production of Fiddler On The Roof (he was the Rabbi's son), and worked in an old , spooky theater!So, saying I understood the topic would be an understatement.  I really enjoyed this book!  It was fun, nostalgic, and very imaginative.

I was a bit confused at the beginning of the book because I didn't realize this book was a fable.  Quin has heard stories about the Avery Theater all her life.  She begins to see parts of the story come alive as she prepares to direct her Senior Show, Anything Goes.  I wasn't sure, at first, if Quin was having a hallucination, or if there was a magical element to the story.  Once I understood the premise about the "magic of the theater", I bought in.

Most of the story revolves around a town square that has lost its luster.  The Avery Theater sits, abandoned, amid empty store fronts.  The few businesses still around are a music store, a second hand clothing shop, and the purfumery run by Quin's mom.  It's only a matter of time before these shops, relics of a time gone by, will be gone as well.

Quin's mom is also the theater teacher at the local high school.  She assigns the Advanced Drama class to put on the show, Anything Goes.  This was also the last production of The Avery...

As Quin becomes more troubled by how she will direct the show, she begins to see flashes of how the theater looked back in 1947, when a tragedy unfolded and two young lovers died.  These flashbacks help tell the story of the couple and mirror the budding romance of Quin's two friends.  I found the love story realistic and sweet.  I enjoyed how performing transformed the teens from awkward and self-conscious to strong and fearless.  

Theater is a great way for people who are not athletic to become involved in a large group activity.  If one is shy or has self-confidence issues, acting and singing can bring them out of their shell.  It can also help others to see them in a different light.  Everyone has a talent.  Sometimes it takes a spotlight on a stage to illuminate it for others to see.  That is the beauty of the performing arts.  And this is what is celebrated in this book.

Holly Schindler’s work has received starred reviews in Booklist and Publishers Weekly, has won silver and gold medals in ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year and the IPPY Awards, respectively, has been featured on Booklist’s Best First Novels for Youth and School Library Journal’s What’s Hot in YA, and has been a PW Pick of the Week. She is owned by a Pekingese named Jake, and can be found working on her next book in her hometown of Springfield, Missouri. She can also be found at hollyschindler.com. 


Release Date: May 17th, 2016

Source: From Hannah the Irish Banana, and the publisher.  Thank you!

Format:  E-book

Recommendation:  This is a must read if you love theater shows and performing.  For others, it is also very enjoyable, but you may not get some of the references.



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  1. Awesome review! I can't wait to read this one!

    1. This was a fun book with a sweet romance! I hope you can read it and enjoy it.

  2. Great review! I now have the advantage of knowing about the magical theater--you've saved me from being confused too. I can't wait to read this book based on your review.

    1. Thank you, Danielle. I think once you get the premise, the story flows really well. I hope you enjoy it.

  3. I loved your review and I can't wait to hear more about this book!

    1. Thank you, CsssieRose. It is a really fun book. I hope you can win a copy and enjoy it.

  4. It's so neat that you could relate to the book. I was never in a theater production of any kind.

    1. Everyone had their "thing" in High School; mine was theater. It was a place where I could escape a pretty crummy home life (I even slept on the stage set once, when my parents fighting got really bad). So yeah, I could relate.


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