Spark by Sarah Beth Durst

This is the story of one quiet girl making her voice heard, not by learning to shout the loudest, but by showing her inner strength, determination and courage, and making others listen in order to do something that matters.

As full of excitement, power and tension as a lightning storm! Mina, an Alorrian farm girl, is waiting for her storm beast, used to help manipulate the weather, to hatch. But the storm beast that emerges is not what her family expected for their quiet, dependable, sensible girl. Pixit, a Lightning Beast – unpredictable, loud, brave – bonds telepathically with Mina and helps her to believe in herself. Theirs is a heartfelt relationship, full of trust, support, love and humour.

Mina wants excitement and adventure, and to explore the world outside her farm. She soon finds herself training at Mytris Lightning School where she develops firm friendships, full of trust and humour, with some of the other students.

During an attempt to harness electricity from a lightning storm, she finds herself outside the boundaries of Alorria, where she makes a startling discovery. Are the devastating storms suffered by the Outsiders somehow related to the Ten-Year Festival celebrations of her people? Her visit to the Alorrian Capital does nothing to allay her suspicions, but what can she do? Can she be the spark that will change the world, just as she always hoped? Will she be brave enough to defy the authorities, and journey beyond the mountains to find the truth?

I would highly recommend this book to children of 9+: it is full of adventure, excitement and warmth, and has some powerful messages about self-belief, being true to yourself and inner strength.

Thanks to Netgalley and the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for an e-ARC of this book.

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