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November 23, 2020

A Frenzy of Sparks by Kristin Fields ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

A poignant story of innocence lost and what it means to grow up too fast.
Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

A Frenzy of Sparks
November 2020; Lake Union Publishing
978-1542022446; audio, ebook, print (253 pages)
coming of age fiction
"The canal smelled of motor oil, and Gia imagined rainbow sheens gliding quietly past.  Chemicals.  She laughed at the irony of it, how much she's wanted to keep them out of her body while Leo welcomed them in, how she'd been afraid of powders and invisible vapors, and yet they'd been here all along, unavoidable.  Again, she envied the stars, too far away for people to poison."
(p 136)

A Frenzy of Sparks is a beautifully written coming of age novel written about a time in America where everything changed - the 1960s.  Not only does the main character grow up but she does it during a time period where the prevalence of drugs changed the American landscape and touched her life as well as members of her family.

The novel starts in 1965 when Gia is 13.  She lives in a quiet NY suburb with her parents and her older brother Leo.  She's read Silent Spring and spends a lot of time worrying about chemicals and the effects that they are having on the environment.  She longs to grow up and leave her small town to get away from her family even though she lives on a street with aunts and uncles and cousins and they all spend a lot of time together.  Then one day, one of her older cousins brings drugs into the neighborhood and into the family and life really begins to change.  It affects all of them but her brother Leo becomes trapped in the drug world at the expense of his family and changes into a completely different person in front of their eyes. Gia tries to keep everything normal and repair the damage that the drugs have caused to her extended family.  Can she find a way to keep life normal or will she have to watch her old life disappear?  

This novel was beautifully written and emotional as we saw Gia grow up facing great change in her life and the lives of her extended family.  I grew up in the same period and saw the changes when drugs became the norm in suburbia.  The author presented this change through the eyes of Gia and I found myself identifying with her in some ways - she made me laugh and she definitely made me cry.

My words really can't express the feelings that this book gave me but I can tell you that this novel and Gia won't soon be forgotten by me.

Buy A Frenzy of Sparks at Amazon

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. Since her travel plans had to be canceled for this year, she is starting to make plans for travel in 2021. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter

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