A worthy sequel
Spark is the sequel to the critically acclaimed and popular Young Adult book, Ink, which was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2018 (missing out to the worthy winner The Hate U Give).
Last year I told anyone who would listen about Ink, which is set in a world where every major thing you do, good and bad, is tattooed onto your skin for all to see. Without giving away any spoilers, Leora is in the world of the blanks, and nothing is quite as it seems. The twists get twistier, and just when you think she’s done twisting, she twists again. The ending left me open-mouthed.
What’s brilliant about this book is that it has philosophical sophistication: she asks questions of the stories we tell ourselves. At times I thought, ‘this is a critique of Christianity’; at other times I thought, ‘this is about the Holocaust’ and other times I thought, ‘no, this is about racism and Jim Crow laws in America’.
The way that it maps onto all these themes and more shows the power of pure storytelling in conveying universal truths – which is apt, because at its heart that is what it’s about. At least, that’s what it’s about if you’re an adult literature fan – if you’re a teenager, you’re just trying to work out where Leora belongs and who’s betraying whom.
Perfect for teens and adults alike, this is a worthy sequel to Ink. Highly recommended.