Glewwe, Eleanor. Sparkers. Viking (Penguin), 2014. $16.99. 323 pages. Sexual Content: G. Language: G. Violence: PG.
Author Eleanor Glewwe creates not only a new magical world, but the history to go along with it. Marah Levi is a young student who loves books and languages and plays the violin. She is also a halan, which means she has no magical powers and few political privileges. The ruling group is the kasir and they use their magic to enforce their way. But the halan have something that the kasir doesn’t, the intuition. Marah’s intuition becomes essential when a new disease begins to affect all residents of Ashara and people’s eyes go black, including her best friend Leah. By chance she meets a wealthy kasir girl, Sarah, who invites her to dinner. She meets Sarah’s brother, Azariah, who is her age and also interested in languages. He has a forbidden book in the ancient language of Hagramet, but no way to read it because he doesn’t speak/read Hagramet. Marah has a grammar book in Hagramet and has taught herself a bit of the language. Together they start to translate Azariah’s book and learn that magic residue is causing the eye’s to go black. It even contains the cure, but someone doesn’t want the cure to given and will stop at nothing to stop them. Time is running out for them and for their siblings’ whose eyes are going black. The story is well written and deals with the weighty subjects of race relations and death with grace. The characters are likeable and prove that whatever your age, you can make a difference in the world around you.
EL/MS: ADVISABLE. Samantha Hastings, MA, MLS.