Cover Image: A Spark of Light

A Spark of Light

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Member Reviews

I read this over the summer and loved it! Jodi Picoult always delivers winning novels! I’m also in love with this cover!
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I have read several of Jodi Picoult's books.  She is definitely a gifted writer.  While this book was not my favorite of hers, I did find it quite enjoyable.  I recommend it to any of her many fans.
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I like Jodi Picoult's writing style and her characters.  But something about this book just didn't work well for me. 
 The jumping around was a bit confusing.  I felt like a few of the  characters weren't quite wrapped up and we got left hanging.  I did like the way she dealt with the issue of abortion through the various characters.  Not my favorite of her books, but still relatively well done.
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This one is really, really hard to review.  I enjoy Jodi Picoult's writing style, even though she writes about a lot of really dark and deep emotional topics.  This one was a little over the edge for me.  I felt like there was a lot of influence of the author's personal opinions in the book.  Which is completly understandable!  I just felt there was a lot of politics and religious beliefs and unsettling themes.  I know, it is good to expand viewpoints and read about sensitive world topics (in this case shooters and abortion clinics). There's just so much ugly in the world that the majority of the time when I'm reading fiction, I'm reading to escape.  All that being said, it was still a really intense and good book!
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I am a huge fan of Jodi Picoult  and anxiously await new books from her but this book is told out of order and is hard to keep track of the characters.
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As with most Picoult novels, this one provided a fascinating take on a current topic. 

Picoult, Jodi, A Spark of Light is unlike other Picoult novels which may be why I liked it and some of her longtime fans didn’t. Working backward and told from several points of view after a shooting in a Mississippi abortion clinic occurs, the novel shows how the shooter, victims, hostage negotiator, and a girl in jail for self-abortion illustrate a nuanced picture of individuals with unique lives and problems. Picoult’s usual fast-paced plot drives the novel, but her characters and the time reversal technique force the reader to think. The book shows the good, bad, and the squeamishly ugly of abortion. As Kirkus Reviews noted, “Novels such as this extensively researched and passionate polemic are not necessarily art, but, like Sinclair Lewis’ The Jungle, they are necessary.” This one is also an issue-driven page turner.
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This novel is set in a women's reproductive health clinic.  A shooting occurs at the clinic which offers abortion services. The author delves into the issue of abortion from several characters points of view.  It was thought provoking and intense.  Jodi Picoult is a great writer and always draws you into her stories.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for this reader's copy. In exchange, I am providing an honest review.

While I haven't read very many of Picoult's titles I have noticed that in recent years her books have tackled some controversial topics. This title is no exception. Picoult's storyline rushes headlong into the issue of abortion and women's rights. I'm a recovering black and white person. I used to interact with life and people as if there was a wrong way and a right way and nothing in between. I'm not that way anymore, I have realized that rarely is anything completely wrong or completely right, the truth is usually somewhere in the middle - or in other words, grey. 

The story involves a variety of characters who all end up in a women's center in Mississippi one hot summer day. They are all there for a variety of reasons, some are working there, some are there for the variety of services the clinic offers, and others are there because they have a mission they think can be accomplished through being at the clinic. There are some fringe characters who contribute to the story as well and are not contained within this women's center. They help provide background and context. To give specifics is, in my opinion, to give away the unfolding of the story. I mean, the ending isn't a surprise since Picoult starts at the end. 

Picoult chose to tell this story backward. She starts at the end and walks us back throughout the day and the events leading up to the end. Each chapter is devoted to an hour of the day and contains the backstory of the characters involved. Critics of the book have cited Picoult's obvious pro-choice stance. She's the author, it's her story to craft and share - she can have whatever stance she wants. While I think Picoult's position on abortion and women's rights are made very clear in this story I think she deserves credit for giving anti-abortionists a viewpoint and voice. Critics have also said she makes the antis seem crazy. I didn't think so at all and I was an anti so I'm coming from a place of personal experience with the anti-abortion camp. The voice she gives them is a fair representation of what the majority of antis do and say. 

This is not a book for everyone. People who are in the "it's either wrong or right and there's no in-between" camp should not even bother to pick up this book. For those who can entertain the grey of life then it's a solid read.
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This book is great! Would definitely recommend. Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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Another Picoult winner.  She is one of my favorite authors and she doesn’t disappoint in this one, with a hot-button topic looking at a Reproductive Health Clinic through they eyes of those inside when the all too frequent and horrific event of a gunman inside occurs. The various perspectives of characters and moving times are what Picoult does best.
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I'm  not ordinarily a huge fan of Picoult, but I really enjoyer this book and will highly and frequently recommend it to my customers! Thank you, NetGalley, for the advance copy!
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Well done. A little bit too overwrought at times, but an excellent job or portraying very many challenging perspectives in a cohesive format.
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This book had me researching and questioning my own beliefs in many ways. Super powerful. And while I saw a bit of the end coming, there was a twist that left me shook. I wasn’t a huge fan of the backward timeline, but once I got to the end it was clear why it had to happen. I also felt like there were too many characters; I struggled to keep them all straight even up into the final chapters of the book. There are some that I still don’t know that I’ve figured out completely. I love my Queen Jodi though.
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I love Jodi Picoult books and I was excited to read this one, due to it's controversial subject matter. I find her more controversial works to be the best. Overall, it was a good read.I really liked how the book showed the different angles of the abortion debate. It showed the various reasons why people visit women's health clinics and what these women typically go through to get treatment. It was an enjoyable read and it was never dull or boring. Jodi Picoult showed all of the different angles of women's health issues while also painting an interesting and memorable picture to go along with it.
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Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
Book Review by Dawn Thomas

381 Pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books / Random House LLC
Release Date: October 2, 2018
ASIN: B07B73H2BX

Suspense, Women’s Sagas, Literary Fiction

All I can say is WOW. I stayed up all night to finish reading this book. Although this is a work of fiction, the events described in the book could happen in this political climate. It is a hostage situation at an abortion clinic in Mississippi. When Hugh the police negotiator arrives on the scene, he discovers his daughter Wren and his sister Bex are hostages. He should have removed himself from the case.

The book begins at 5pm and goes backwards in time for one day. The story is written in first person from different points of view. The story is fast paced, and the characters are well developed. The author did a fabulous job researching for this book especially the information on self-managed abortions. As the reader moves through the story, we learn a little bit more about each character. If you are pro-choice, you will appreciate this book.
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I have always found Jodi Picoult to be hit or miss.  Her books are typically what I consider "easy reads," in that they go quickly  and don't require a huge mental load.  After I had my son, and was up in the middle of the night, I needed something like that, and Jodi Picoult fit the bill.

That being said, this one was a miss for me, mostly because I didn't feel like reading a social commentary about abortion.  She isn't preaching either pro-life or pro-choice, but it's just...a lot.  I also didn't like reading it in reverse and knowing what happened first and then going back to find out how it happened.  Just not a format I love.
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I have not always been a Jodi Picoult fan. I read My Sister's Keeper years ago and then another one or two of her books before I decided that they all kind of felt like a cheap pull on emotion without enough substance to make the tears worth it. I have since just avoided her books. When I was given an opportunity to read A Spark of Light, I was hesitant but the synopsis was intriguing enough for me to give Picoult another chance.

Hugh is hostage negotiator called out to an active shooting at the last remaining abortion clinic in Mississippi. When he discovers his own fifteen-year-old daughter and her aunt are inside, he should hand his post over to someone without a conflict of interest. Instead he continues in his duties, determined to get her out alive. Inside, the shooter is George, a father heartbroken by the abortion his daughter sought at the Center, who seeks revenge for what he calls a murder factory.

Perhaps you have strong feelings one way or the other about the legality and moral correctness of abortion and perhaps you fear this book is meant to persuade you to a particular viewpoint, but not so. At least from my perspective, this book is fairly balanced and doesn't shy away from details or condemn any of the decisions made by the characters, excepting only those of the violent shooter. This is a book that will make you think about where you stand. One of my favorite things about reading fiction is the opportunity to experience someone else's life from their unique point of view. We may think we know what someone should do, the decisions they should make, but there is a whole story behind them we don't know. When we get to read that story, we learn to have more empathy for the people around us.

Laws are black and white. The lives of women are a thousand shades of gray.

The only thing I didn't love about this book was the way the story was told. It was backwards. The book begins at the end and then moves back in time in one hour increments. This is a great way to get to understand each person's backstory and motivations, but I kept wanting to know what would happen to them all at the end. We learn a little, but for me it was not enough. I appreciate what Picoult was trying to do, but for me it didn't work. Otherwise, this was a book I really enjoyed and found compelling.
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Typical Jodi Piccoult excellence.  I was intrigued from the beginning and it carried me through to the last page. Her characters are multi faceted and interesting. I couldn't put this book down.
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Really good but not my favorite of her books. I did like it and thought the character development was good and found it to be enjoyable.
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A Spark of Light was a page turner for me. Not only did I enjoy the characters, the plot was controversial but had you not siding one way or the other. I really didn’t want this book to end. Looking forward to her next book.
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