Review of Sparked by Helena Echlin and Malena Watrous (plus a Giveaway!)

Today I have an intriguing young adult fantasy for you! Check out Sparked by Helena Echlin and Malena Watrous.

Read more about the book and check out my review. Of course, you gotta enter the blog tour giveaway, too! Go go go!

Sparked Helena Echlin Malena WatrousAbout Sparked

Fifteen-year-old Laurel Goodwin wakes up to find her older sister Ivy missing from their Airstream trailer in the Oregon redwoods. A recurring nightmare convinces her that Ivy was abducted, but no one takes her dream seriously, including her mom. Laurel, a loner, has to learn to ask for help, and Jasper Blake, a mysterious new kid who shares her love of old books, quickly becomes her ally. Together they find their quiet town holds a deep secret and is the epicenter of a dark prophecy.

Laurel soon learns that her worst enemies, mean girls Peyton Andersen and Mei Rosen, are developing powers that she needs to find and save Ivy. With time running out, Laurel realizes that power doesn’t always take the form that you expect. And once she learns to look beyond her snap judgments, she develops an unexpected gift of her own.

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Intriguing and interesting story

I’m kinda wary of novels that have teenage characters because I usually end up getting annoyed with them (the characters, I mean, because I’m an old fart), but this book wasn’t bad actually. Sparked was an interesting, fast paced and easy read. I liked the writing style and the pace, and I didn’t find any cringe-inducing cliches – which was great.

I like what the word “sparked” meant in the book and I thought the idea behind the “magic powers” concept in the book was intriguing though I would have loved it if there was a deeper dive into the concept and backstory. It was all very interesting though and it was what made me keep reading. I wanted to find out more about the powers!

I also thought the characters were pretty interesting and though I would have loved them fleshed out some more, I thought they were developed well enough to make them complex in some way or other. I actually liked the “mean girls” Peyton and Mei.

And yeah this book had some cool twists. Overall, I thought some parts needed to be explained or delved into more – I wanted more stuff about the magic powers and why these kids have them and all that – but I enjoyed this book and I would read more from these authors.

Note: I received a review copy of this book as part of my participation in the tour. All opinions and views expressed here are my own..

Read an Excerpt

The knocking woke me up from a dead sleep.

Whack, whack.

I sat up, blinking myself awake. The sky outside our porthole-shaped window was still dark, the silhouettes of the redwoods just a shade blacker. Rain lashed at the glass. Wind rocked the Airstream back and forth.


There was that knocking again. I leaned over to wake Ivy. Our beds were so close, they practically touched—

But Ivy wasn’t in her bed.

Whack, whack.

She must have snuck out and forgotten her key. I needed to let her in fast. Our mom was a heavy sleeper—especially if she’d smoked a “medicinal” joint before bed—but there was a limit to what she could tune out.

When I eased open the accordion door to the bedroomette, a river of cold air whooshed over me. I hurried to the front of the trailer, where the door was wide open, banging in the wind.

I stepped out onto the top cinder-block stair, straining to see through the rain. “Ivy?” I called into the darkness, but no one answered. The icy wind cut through my pajamas and I shuddered, wrapping my arms around myself. Ivy must have left the door unlocked, and the storm had blown it open.

Still, it creeped me out.

I wasn’t used to living in a tin can on the edge of civilization. Our new property bumped up against the state park. We had no neighbors for miles, but hikers, poachers, and the occasional homeless person liked to use our land as their playground. Mom said that we were safer out here than if we lived in some apartment in town. Statistically, there were fewer weirdos in the vicinity.

But all it takes is one.

Sparked Helena Echlin Malena WatrousAbout the Authors

Hello! We are both novelists, but if you’ve ever tried to write anything, you know that writing can be a lonely, angst-filled business. So one night over a cocktail or two, we came up with a solution: write our next book together. Malena already had an idea: a girl’s sister is kidnapped and she has to rely on mean girls with superpowers to get her sister back. We couldn’t resist seeing where that story would take us – a wild ride that includes a loner girl who wants to be a writer and a gorgeous boy who can shoot fire from his eyes but also loves to talk about books. And an ancient Zoroastrian prophecy. And pie shakes. (OK, so maybe we got a little carried away.)

We’ve both published solo novels (check them out here and here) and had no idea how co-writing would work out, but we pounded out the first draft in a white-hot frenzy of inspiration we called “the Vortex.” One of us would write a scene and send it to the other with a note: “My apartment is a pigsty and I haven’t eaten all day. #inthevortex.” We wrote the book we wanted to read as teenagers: a supernatural thriller with healthy doses of horror and humor. Oh, and of course there’s romance. You have to wait a long time for the only kiss in the book, but isn’t that the case with all the best kisses in books?

Connect with the authors: Website | Twitter | Facebook


Two (2) winners will receive a copy of Sparked by Helena Echlin and Malena Watrous (INT)

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