Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... Spark by Brigid Kemmerer

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Spark by Brigid Kemmerer

YA Review Spark by Brigid Kemmerer
Review of
Spark (Elemental #2)
by Brigid Kemmerer
To be published by KTeen
on August 28, 2012

Source: e-ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.  Read my review policy/disclosure here.

Series report: there are several pages of review and recap near the beginning of the book. No need to re-read!


Series summary: The Elemental series follows the four Merrick brothers: Michael, his twin brothers Gabriel and Nick, and their little brother Chris. Each of them has a special gift that allows them to control one of the elements: earth, fire, air, and water. Storm, book one in the series, featured Chris, who is able to control water. Spark, book two, is Gabe's story.

My thoughts on Storm: Overall, I liked it. If you want to check out the review of someone who LOVED it, my friend Kristin from Growing Up YA wrote this rave review of Storm. Complete with drooling :) 

My favorite thing about Storm was the way the set-up reminded me a little of the Outsiders by S.E. Hinton -- though with paranormal elements and amped-up romance. The Merrick boys are orphaned, and they're kept in line by their super-responsible oldest brother, Michael. He reminded me a lot of Darry, the oldest brother in the Outsiders. Like Darry, Michael has given up his carefree youth to look after his brothers and keep his family together. His brothers sometimes appreciate this, but more often than not they get in trouble, often as a result of not being able to control their special abilities.

So while I liked the Elementals concept, there was a love triangle in Storm I wasn't crazy about, and I thought the plot of Storm relied a little too much on violence. There were a whole lot of scenes of people beating each other up, guys attacking the main character, Becca, the brothers fighting with each other, and so on. Looking at the reviews on Goodreads, I can see that this wasn't an issue for most readers, but for me it got to be a bit much. Still, I was intrigued enough that I wanted to read on in the series.

My thoughts on Spark:
In Storm, Gabe was not the most sympathetic character -- and that's putting it nicely. He was particularly hard on Becca, Chris' love interest, in ways that were really unfair. In Spark, we find out more about how Gabe's parents' death affected him and about the enormous burden of guilt that he feels. Gabe excels in sports, and he's really struggling in school. In Storm, he manages by getting his twin, Nick, to take his place during tests. In Spark, there are two small problem with that: 1) Gabe and Nick are feuding and 2) Gabe's new math teacher is wise to the trick.

So Gabe needs a tutor. Enter Layne, the smart girl who wears glasses and turtlenecks. She's suspicious of Gabe, and rightly so. Layne has problems at home, she has a deaf younger brother who's being bullied, she's wearing those turtlenecks to hide something, and she's not taking any of Gabe's crap. I loved Layne, loved Simon, her brother and -- what can I say -- I'm a total sucker for those bad boy/good girl romances. Gabe and Layne sloooowly circle around each other as he tries to get her to trust him. 

In Storm, the author had a lot of worldbuilding to squeeze in, but in this book I felt that all that paid off as she could focus more on character development, romance and suspense.  Spark seemed much more tightly plotted (including a suspenseful arson subplot) than Storm. My only quibble with Spark was that it magically made one of Layne's problems disappear in a way that seemed unnecessary. Can't say more without spoilers! 

If you liked Storm, I think you'll like Spark. If you had mixed feelings about Storm, I still think you'll like Spark

Please leave me a comment!  Have you read Storm or Spark? Or the Outsiders?

30 comments:

  1. Great review! I never thought of it but now that you mention it, the brothers do remind me The Outsiders. I'm glad you liked Spark in the end :)

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    1. I did enjoy it and now I need to go check whose story is on deck next. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. I haven't read any of these books but I think the concept of four brothers controlling the elements sounds pretty cool. I also like the sound of Layne-love the good girl character.

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    1. The concept is cool, and I related more to Layne than Becca, which may have been part of why I liked Spark a little better than Storm. But give this series a try when you can - lots of fun!

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  3. I've been meaning to start this series, but I have No Time! Nice review!

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    1. It's definitely worth a read -- hope you find the time!

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  4. I just bought Storm last week. I have heard great things about this series so far. I have no clue when I will get around to reading it, but hopefully soon. Great review!!

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    1. Hmmmph. For some reason I thought you'd read this already!

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  5. I just bought Storm because of good reviews, but haven't read it. I'm glad the second book is as good or better since I tend to get hooked on series.

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    1. Let me know what you think -- the reviews of both on Goodreads are excellent!

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  6. haven't read any of them. I get confused which books belong to which series these days

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    1. That is too bad because I think you'd really like this series!! Check them out!

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  7. I have the prequel story, just to see if I'll like the series, and though I haven't read it yet, I think your review has convinced me to give it a try...someday. The way you describe Gabe & Layne's relationship reminds me a lot of Noah & Echo's in Pushing the Limits. I could get on board with that. :)

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    1. Yes -- there are some similarities between Pushing the Limits and Spark. Hope you enjoy the series!

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  8. This book was great! I agree with you about the violence in Storm and I hate love triangles!!!! Nice review, Jen!

    Haley@www.passingthepages.blogspot.com

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    1. Glad to hear it - after reading the Goodreads reviews I thought I must be the only one who felt that way!
      But I am a fan of this author and this series and I'm going to keep reading!!

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  9. I have not read these yet.

    How many will be in the series?

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    1. You know, I'm not sure if all the brothers are getting a book. Michael is a bit above YA age, and it seemed like he might be getting a love interest in Spark. But I'm sure that Nick, Gabe's twin, will get a book. He better!

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  10. OMG, I absolutely can't wait to read Spark! I finished reading Storm a few days ago (I found that a seriously addictive read) and I'm dying to see what happens next. Although I agree, Gabriel was a bit of an ass in Storm, and my heart went out to Michael, who was trying to hold his family together, but it'll be good to see WHY he is the way he is and how past events have shaped his persaonlity. And I absolutely love bad boy/good girl romances :D

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    1. Well, I have a feeling you will LOVE Spark then. LOL, I called Gabe an a-hole in a draft of this post. Because in Storm, he WAS!!

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  11. These books sound pretty interesting, I'll admit I never really looked into them before, I'm not really sure why..

    I'm also ashamed to say that I have yet to read The Outsiders :(

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    1. You should read it!! It's a quick read and a great example of YA -- from the 1960s! It's really held up well and SE Hinton started writing it in high school. Yes, its a touch emo (in fact, in Every Day, which I'm reviewing tomorrow, one of the characters makes fun of it) but when I was in middle school, I thought it was the best book I ever read!!!

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  12. You already know how I felt about this one! Yes, even better than Storm :-)

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    1. Glad you agree. I liked it much better! I mean, I could not put it down until I found out what happened!!

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    2. I saw your comment about a book for Nick. I know he's at least getting a novella: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15819003-untitled-nick-merrick-novella

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    3. Thanks -- I need to investigate this. Hunter has a new novella, right? AND he gets a book? Why doesn't Nick get a whole book????

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    4. Yes, Hunter does. It's called Fearless. Here's a also a note about the novella from the author "While the events in this book take place before Storm Elementals 1, I recommend reading it after Storm. This is Hunter's story before he meets the Merricks, so it's full of spoilers if you haven't read Storm yet. :-)"

      I know, right?! I'm not sure why he doesn't. Maybe he still will in the future. *Crossing fingers*

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  13. Yay I really want to get this one now! I've been on the fence about it but it sounds great and even better than Storm since I also live those good girl/bad boy relationships :) Great review I've heard so many great things about this one!

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  14. Eeeep! Jen!!! I am so glad you liked SPARK more than STORM. I did too!! I obviously loved the first book, but I was head over heels with SPARK!!! Gabriel Merrick kinda did it for me.

    Really great and honest review!!

    Also, thanks for the shout-out :D

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  15. Fantastic review, I haven't read this series yet, but your review has me adding it to my list!

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