A Spark of Light

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 21 Nov 2018

Member Reviews

I’ve read many of Jodi Picoult’s previous books so am always eager to get my hands on a new release, and thanks to the publishers for allowing me an advanced review copy of this latest release.

Picoult is never one to shy away from emotive issues and this book is no exception, a shooter has taken hostages in an abortion centre and the police negotiators sister is an injured victim, his daughter a hostage caught up in the ongoing situation. But the book is about more then this situation it’s a revealing look at a series of characters and their connection to the abortion centre, both those in favour and those against the practice, as well as those who are there for very different reasons.

The book is very balanced and doesn’t sway to an opinion on either side of the abortion argument. There are parts of the story where you can’t help but be moved, and there was one particular part where a description left me very unnerved. You’ll find yourself drawn to each characters story and reason for being in the centre on the fateful day and left wondering how the situation will pan out, who will make it out?

There’s also a brilliant twist near the end which I would have liked to have seen more on (but perhaps it’s one for another novel).
Picoult really is a magical weaver of beautiful thought provoking stories!
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Having read most of Jodi Picoult's books over the years and loving her as an author A Spark of Light did not dissapoint.  Jodi has such a knack of taking controversial subjects and making you see the points from all angles, some you may not have even considered.  Starting the story at the end was quite confusing at first and it took me longer than usual to get into the book but once I was into it I was invested in the characters and the story.  Obviously this book centres around abortion, (which may not be for everyone) but also the extremes of the two sides for and against which raises some good topics for discussion.
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I wanted to read this because the premise was interesting and because I've never read anything by Jodi Picoult but have heard good things about her books.

Unfortunately, this isn't for me. I found the narration had too much telling rather than show. George, in particular, seems to have rather too much insight into his own behaviour for someone whose behaviour is so disturbing. DNF
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An issue-led novel about how we balance the rights of pregnant women with the rights of the unborn they carry.
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Having received this First Chapter from NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton I was nervous. Having loved all Picoult's work so far I was worried this couldn't live up to expectations. However, the only problem following my reading is having to wait untiI can read the rest!
Picoult's powers of description are as evocative as ever with her use of personification etc. The underlying theme is relevant to modern-day and our introduction to the characters strengthens the suspense and emotions experienced.
I am really looking forward to reading the whole book and am already recommending it.

APRIL 2019 - I have now read the whole book and was not disappointed, although I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as some of Jodi Picoult's others.
'A Spark of Light' deals with a controversial modern-day issue in the setting of a dramatic shooting. The characters are strong enough for the reader to empathise with each one, creating the dilemma of whether s/he should sympathise with the abortion or anti-abortion supporters.
Even if the reader works out the connection between the perpetrator and one of the other characters, the ending is gripping and thought-provoking..
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The Center for women's reproductive health offers a last chance at hope - but nobody ends up there by choice.

Its very existence is controversial, and to the demonstrators who barricade the building every day, the service it offers is no different from legalised murder.

Now life and death decisions are being made horrifyingly real: a lone protester with a gun has taken the staff, patients and visitors hostage.

Starting at the tensest moment in the negotiations for their release, A Spark of Light unravels backwards, revealing hour by urgent hour what brought each of these people - the gunman, the negotiator, the doctors, nurses and women who have come to them for treatment - to this point.

And certainties unwind as truths and secrets are peeled away, revealing the complexity of balancing the right to life with the right to choose.

Fans of Jodi Picoult will know she is not one to shy away from controversial subjects and A Spark of Light follows the usual trend. The central character, Wren, is a fifteen year old who finds herself in the midst of a hostage situation at a controversial abortion clinic in Mississippi. Her father, Hugh McElroy is a hostage negotiator called to the scene.

What unfolds is an intriguing examination of the conflicting views on the topic of abortion told through the eyes of the characters as the tale unfolds from the present day before taking us back in time to reveal how each came to hold their opinions. 

Picoult handles the subject matter objectively and sensitively, allowing the reader to see both sides of the story and draw their own conclusions. A thought- provoking read.
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Jodi Picoult is far and away one of the greatest writers of the modern age. This is another fantastic exploration of a contemporary issue and has resonated very strongly with me.
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Thanks to netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review 

I never thought I would a negative review for a Jodi Picoult book.  She has changed her style and needs to change it back again 

The whole story is centred around an abortion clinic it jumps all over the place with regards to the characters 

I am middle of the road with regards to abortion so I didn’t think this would be disturbing I was wrong 

I really didn’t like the graphic abortion scenes or hearing about blood clots and things it didn’t make for nice reading I felt like I was training to be a gynaecologist 

Sorry this isn’t one of the usually fantastic books written by Jodi
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Wow, what a novel!! I read my first Jodi Picoult book last year, Small Great Things, and thought it was absolutely brilliant so as soon as I saw this available for request I snapped it up. I really wasn't disappointed - the woman is an amazing storyteller. 

I loved the way that she worked backwards through the timeline. I can understand for some this might have been difficult to follow and at times I was left confused but then as I read on things fell into place brilliantly!

The characters were great and I loved that despite the storyline being focus on one situation, Picoult still gave as an insight into their histories - into what had brought them there that day.  It was all weaved together beautifully. 

I would highly recommend this novel and I can't wait to read more of Picoult's novels - I've already emased a bit of a collection!!
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The story starts when a gunman enters an abortion clinic and takes staff and patients hostage.  The story then starts to work backwards as we find our the stories of the characters and why they are there. 

I did enjoy the book and liked the concept of the working backwards but I did find it a bit confusing and it meant the story didn't flow as well as it could have
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I'm usually a big fan of Jodi Picoult but I couldn't get into this one at all. There are a lot of characters involved, which is quite confusing. The narrative seemed to slip around in time, which added to my inability to work out what was going on. I gather from other reviews that the narrative is supposed to be working backwards from the main event, which would make great sense if it wasn't also flipping around within that. Brilliant writing as always from the author but I just found it too heavy going and confusing.
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This book kept me on the edge it presents both sides of the issue of abortion the characters were very interesting another great book by this great author
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This was my first book by Picoult and definitely won't be my last.

I enjoyed the story line and thought the plot and setting was incredibly well researched and very informative but my only downside would be the POVs. Everything jumped from POV to another, from present to past, which did make me struggle a bit with keeping up with who and what was going on. I think this also made it harder to connect with certain characters. I also wasn't sure on how i felt with the timeline being in reverse, as I already knew the main parts that happened at the end (or beginning in the book) but it did make the twists at the end that bit more shocking.

I really liked the characters, especially the relationship between Wren and her aunt Bex, and reading how the characters connected with each other, despite their situation and their backgrounds and past, many of which were heartbreaking to read. Picoult managed to make such a controversial topic into a great book that didn't try and shove opinions down your throat. Instead, most of the characters touch on their viewpoint (pro-life or pro-choice) at different times in the story and talk about their reasoning in such a respectable way. 

I think Picoult executed this plot fantastically and her Author's Note at the end is a must read as well.
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I love Jodi Picoult books and have read nearly every single one. However this one is very disappointing  and I hated it. The story jumped around way too much and the back to front writing style does not work very well. The subject matter is a tough one and I felt it was a little to descriptive in some places. There were too many characters I felt and it was hard to keep up with who was who. I will give her next book a chance because I generally love her books but I hope it is miles better than this one.
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I did not finish this book. To be honest Jodi Picoult either does it or doesn't and in this book it was just not right

The thread was distasteful and their were just too many characters
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I must admit to this not being as gripping as all other books by this amazing author , I found the storyline slow and had to really force myself to finish it .
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What can I say about A Spark of Light that hasn't already been said? Perhaps the most thought-provoking novel I read in 2018. Written in an unbiased way, it considers the impact of abortion on women and their wider families. One tip before reading - each chapter relates a scene from a number of character viewpoints (often upwards of four) which is easier to keep track of in hardback than Kindle (can flip back and forth). Would make an interesting book club read.
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This book explores the shocking subject of abortion. 

A gunman enters a woman’s health centre and take hostages. People are killed as a result of them being in the abortion clinic either as a member of staff or as patient. A police officer is called to help negotiate with the government, and he soon realises that his daughter is trapped in the health centre, along with his sister. The book is told backwards, being the first chapter is the end of the story.

I am a huge Picoult fan. She is up there with one of my favourite authors. I always diarise her new releases and I am at the front of the queue on release day. Usually from page 1, I am hooked and read the books in a couple of sittings. However, with this one I just wasn’t gripped. I did not feel that the book is at the usual standard. She usually takes ethical issues and puts them in a court room and puts a great novel out there! I think it was the fact that the book was told backwards. It made it feel as though the book was all over the place. I had to keep going back to chapters to remember who the numerous characters were and what had happened to them. There were a lot of characters in the book making it difficult to engage with each one. You did not know their story until the chapters progressed and maybe if their story had been told first then it would’ve been easier to engage with them. I feel if I read the book the other way round then my review would be completely different. Usually I find Picoult’s work very thought-provoking but I did not feel that with this one. I feel the pros and cons of abortion could’ve been better dealt with for example in a Court room trial. The book read like a textbook in points. Jodi is still of my favourite authors and the book was still a good read,but it was not my favourite of hers. However, I am still looking forward to the next book. I would give this book ⭐️⭐️ .
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I have read several of Jodi Picoults books, I would say this is slower then others, however the topic and characters were well written it just didn’t grip me as much. Thanks for the read.
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All of the Jodi Picoult books I have ever read have been brilliant, to the point where I struggled to put them down. So, I was a bit surprised and disappointed when this book turned out to be a bit ‘Meh’. 

From the blurb, you already know that there will be a shooting at a women’s health clinic. Great, I thought. Another Jodi Picoult book that focuses on a gritty, real life issue. I was really excited to get stuck in to it. However, there were a few issues that led to me feeling a bit ‘Meh’ about this book.

The other Jodi Picoult books I have read have been SO gripping, but I just wasn’t feeling it with this one. I didn’t realise that the book would be entirely about abortions. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but at some parts it honestly felt like I was reading an information leaflet because it was information overload. 

The story is also told in reverse order. So, it starts with the ending, which kind of took away from the suspense for me because I already knew how it was going to end. I have read other books that have done this, and it worked find. But not this time unfortunately.

Also… the ‘twist at the end. I’m not even sure it can be called a twist. I didn’t find it to be particularly believable, but also.. I didn’t really understand why the ‘twist’ had been kept secret for so long. It just felt unnecessary. 

Now enough of the negatives. The thing I love about Jodi Picoult is that she doesn’t shy away from controversial subjects and this was certainly the case with this book. And it felt neutral, which I really appreciated. It wasn’t biased towards being pro-life or pro-choice. Jodi Picoult seems to have a way of seeing things from both sides, and that can never be a bad thing.
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