February 22nd, 2019
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A Spark of Light

A Spark of Light, October 2018
by Jodi Picoult

Ballantine Books
384 pages
ISBN: 0345544986
EAN: 9780345544988
Kindle: B07B73H2BX
Hardcover / e-Book
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"An urgent, topical read by a beloved author..."

Fresh Fiction Review

A Spark of Light
Jodi Picoult

Reviewed by Bharti C
Posted October 11, 2018

Women's Fiction Contemporary

A SPARK OF LIGHT by Jodi Picoult is about people, their beliefs, and THE traumas that lead them on their current life paths. The story takes place during the span of a working day, a climax that's been building for a lifetime. Also, the narrative is backward, it gives you the ending in the first chapter (minus the suspense, of course) and then goes backward, hourly. Each character's account of how hey came to the health center is told.

Throughout the book, there is an ongoing debate about abortion, because one of the characters is a pro-life supporter protesting along with pro-choice supporters voicing their opinions, too. The emotions and sensitivity surrounding one of the most highly controversial topics of our times is dealt with firmly and both sides are given an equal platform.

Going into reading A SPARK OF LIGHT, I wasn't sure how it would turn out. It is presented with diverse characters in the midst of a tense and volatile hostage situation. A SPARK OF LIGHT is not your usual read. It makes you stop and think about making urgent decisions, and how those decisions have everlasting effects. This is my first read by Jodi Picoult, and it was a good way to get a taste of her writing. Not taking away from the writing at all, there were a few frustrating moments for me; it was very tempting to just fast forward and read the ending. I had some many questions and wasn't sure how they would all come together. So, have patience, don't read the ending as tempting as it may be. You will only see the "spark of light" if you follow the author's narrative. Overall this was a good read for me.

Learn more about A Spark of Light


The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things returns with a powerful and provocative new novel about ordinary lives that intersect during a heart-stopping crisis.

The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.

But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order to save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester, disguised as a patient, who now stands in the cross hairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.

Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day.

Jodi Picoult—one of the most fearless writers of our time—tackles a complicated issue in this gripping and nuanced novel. How do we balance the rights of pregnant women with the rights of the unborn they carry? What does it mean to be a good parent? A Spark of Light will inspire debate, conversation . . . and, hopefully, understanding.

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