Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Release Date: August 28th, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally.
Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can’t. Like the fire that killed his parents.
Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he’s not doing it.
More than Gabriel’s pride is at stake — this could cost him his family, maybe his life. And no one seems to hear him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Layne understands family problems, and she understands secrets. She has a few of her own.
Gabriel can’t let her guess about his brothers, about his abilities, about the danger that’s right at his heels. But there are some risks he can’t help taking.
The fuse is lit…
Summary from Goodreads.com
My Review: I loved the first book in this series, Storm (review here), but I loved Spark even more! In Storm we were introduced to all the element wielding brothers and focused in on Chris. He was learning to control his element and attempting to win the heart of Becca. The two of them were also being chased by someone out to hurt them and while it was exciting, I still enjoyed the storyline in Spark more. In Storm, Brigid needed to take the time to develop all the brothers characters and in Spark we really got to focus in on Gabriel and understand what made him tick. We do get to see all of the brothers again in Spark and learn more about each of them, but since their backstories were already known to us, Brigid did not need to devote that much time to it again.
In Storm we follow Gabriel who is tormented and keeps everyone at arm’s length. He tries to hide his depression with his cruel words and “I don’t care” attitude, but he has a lot of issues that he needs to work through. He is popular at school and at first glance you would think he has lots of friends, but as his brother Michael points out:
“Michael sighed. “I’m just saying. You’re friends with half the school, but you don’t have any real friends. You’re with a different girl every week, but you never have a girlfriend…”
He shuts out everyone he can when they get too close to learning more about him. He has become very good at it, so good in fact he is starting to keep his brothers in the dark as well. He is also struggling with his element, fire, and is looking for an outlet where he can learn to control it better.
Layne likes to fly under the radar and does not like getting noticed. She hides a secret that keeps her that way and does not want people to know much about her. She and Gabriel actually share that in common. She has not had an easy life either and while she is a wallflower, she is not afraid to voice her opinion when she feels strongly about something. I enjoyed watching her stand up to Gabriel and pry his secrets from him, even when he did not want to give them up.
The action and the romance share equal page time in Spark and I loved the balance that Brigid maintained between the two. Fires are being spread all over town and since Gabriel has always been a bit of a rebel, his brothers are assuming it is him causing trouble. Beyond hurt, but wanting to help, Gabriel goes to the fires but tries to stop them and save those who are getting struck inside them. While he is trying to get to the bottom of who is starting the fires, he is also trying to figure out his feelings for Layne. He feels like he can open up to her and is desperate to share everything he is going through with somebody. Gabriel had a difficult road to travel. There were quite a few touching moments that I did not expect and my heart broke for him as he tried to work through them. He and Laney do take things slowly and it was so sweet to watch their relationship bloom. They are both very insecure with the secrets they hide and struggle with how to let someone in, without getting burned.
So far this series is only going to be three books and I was not sure how I felt about not getting a story for Nick or Michael, but luckily Brigid gives us plenty of insight into them as well I Spark. We do not get their point of views, but they are big part of Gabriel’s story and we learned more about both of them through Gabriel’s story. We especially see more of Michael and how hard transitioning from brother to parent has been on him. There are quite a few issues going on behind the scenes with custody issues and the landscaping business and it has not been easy on Michael. I enjoyed getting more insight into what Michael was thinking. It helped me to understand some of the reasoning behind his actions in the previous book. We also get insight into Nick and what he really thinks about Gabriel. The two of them are twins, but they are at the point in their lives where they are going different directions and they are struggling with that. We also get to see Nick dating, which I found very interesting. Maybe he won’t get his own book, but we still a better understanding of him in Spark.
Overall, I am just in love with this series! Spark kept me glued to the pages and I engulfed the entire thing in one afternoon! Brigid has created an exciting world with four incredible brothers that will easily capture your heart and make you wish they actually existed. Brigid has renewed my faith in young adult novels and has proven she is an author worth watching. She has claimed my undying devotion and I am eager to see what she has in store for us when Hunter’s book, Spirit, releases next year!
FTC: Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book for review.