Cover Image: A Spark of Light

A Spark of Light

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I had read mixed reviews of A Spark of Light before I started reading it, with some readers really not enjoying it and others who rate it her best yet.  I heard Jodi talk briefly about it when I saw her on tour earlier this year. 

I am firmly in the 'loved it' camp, and I'm so relieved about that - I've been a fan for years and hate the thought that I'm not going to enjoy a new novel by a favourite author.

A Spark of Light is a story with many themes, expertly woven together to produce a thought-provoking novel with some surprises along the way.   

The familiar Picoult themes of family dilemma, family relationships and legal battles are all here in A Spark of Light - all very well done, and a compelling and exciting read.

What stands out for me in this story is the amount of research that has been done into both sides of the argument of birth control and termination, the pro-life or pro-choice argument.  This is fascinating and at times really thrilling stuff which opened up a whole new world for me. of polarising opinions.

A Spark of Light is Jodi Picoult at her very best - a superb story with characters that are realistic.  The plot is fast paced, fascinating and makes the reader consider 'just what would I do?'
Was this review helpful?
Again, another masterpiece from Jodi Picoult!  She never fails to tackle difficult subjects and this time she writes a sensitive novel about the emotions surrounding women's health and terminations.  Of course, everyone has an opinion on such an emotive subject and these people are well represented within the pages of this book.

I very much recommend it.
Was this review helpful?
I am normally a big Jodi Picoult fan but I found this book a long way from her usual standard. The continuous jumping from character to character made for a very confusing read. Also the book is written from the present backwards. The subject matter of this book could have made for a very good book but unfortunately I found it severely lacking.
Was this review helpful?
For some unknown reason I didn't get the whole copy of this book which was frustrating. However, I was intrigued by what I did read and will have to pick up a copy to find out how it ends.
Was this review helpful?
Who wouldn't love this book!?  The characters make you feel you are part of their lives, you experience their highs and lows just as you would in your own lives with the hope that the ending would turn out well for them, but with so many plots, twists and turns the ending is extraordinary.  This is a fabulous book, humorous, poignant and a true reflection of modern life.  A great read - highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
This story revolves around an abortion clinic. When a gunman lays siege to the building a number of different people are caught up in the terror.  Jodie Picoult tells the stories of these people.  The young girl, Wren, who is just there for the contraceptive pill, her aunt Bex who, in accompanying her, gets shot, the nurse who helps all the injured, the wounded doctor and the anti abortionist who is only in the clinic to get evidence of coercion.  The policeman who turns up to be the negotiator is Wrens father.  Can he carry on calmly negotiating with the shooter once he realises his daughter is inside? Can he stay impartial?  These people's stories jump around a bit to give a history of what brought them to this situation but it is an exciting read.
Was this review helpful?
This book is written in reverse, so it is definitely one you need to pay attention too and true Picoult form, it’s nothing but controversial.

The whole story takes place over a single day and opens inside a Mississippi abortion clinic, infact it is the only one in the area. A guan walks in taking hostage doctors and patients. 

The story we learn is told through the perspective of many of those taken hostage. We have Dr Louie Ward, a committed Christian who believes it is his religious duty to offer compassion to women in this predicament. We meet Joy who has just had an abortion, Wren is with her Aunt and wants contraceptives and then we have Janine who is an anti-abortion activist who wants to infiltrate the clinic

Then we meet Hugh, the hostage negotiator, who also happens to be Wren’s dad. Plus a girl called Beth is thrown into the story who faces murder for illegally terminating her own pregnancy.

So a whole host of characters from all backgrounds, all thrown into one book. For me however this wasn’t one of the best books, so many of the characters I felt didn’t get a chance to tell their story, such as Beth and even Wren. It lacked the emotional grasp of other books by the same author and whilst I understood the differing views on abortion, it just didn’t quite hit the spot.
Was this review helpful?
As a big Jodi Picoult fan I was excited to be offered this digital copy in exchange for my review. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this as much as her other stories despite it following her usual style of tackling emotive issues in her stories. I agree with other Netgalley reviewers that the number of characters and going back through time made it less enjoyable because it was harder work keeping track.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you - we featured A Spark of Light on Caboodle (website and newsletter) in 2018! We look forward to working with you in 2020.
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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
Was this review helpful?
An issue-led novel about how we balance the rights of pregnant women with the rights of the unborn they carry.
Was this review helpful?
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..
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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
Was this review helpful?
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!!
Was this review helpful?
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
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?