Expected publication: August 28th 2012 by Kensington Teen
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Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally.
Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can’t. Like the fire that killed his parents.
Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he’s not doing it.
More than Gabriel’s pride is at stake -- this could cost him his family, maybe his life. And no one seems to hear him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Layne understands family problems, and she understands secrets. She has a few of her own.
Gabriel can’t let her guess about his brothers, about his abilities, about the danger that’s right at his heels. But there are some risks he can’t help taking.
The fuse is lit…
I thought I loved the first book in this series, Storm. I thought I loved the dynamic between Chris and Becca and the way friendship and romance were so carefully balance out with the suspense and danger that was always present in the book. But how I felt about Storm is nothing compared to the way I feel about Spark.
Gabriel angers easily. His temper matches his element. He often speaks before he thinks, and he can be very frustrating at times, but at the end of the book I loved him even more for that. We get to see his personality so much more in Spark, and it's impossible not to love him. (He can get a bit angsty sometimes. It's lovely.) Gabriel struggles with controlling his element a lot more than Chris did in the last novel, but that's not surprising. Fire can get out of control so quickly.
Which is exactly what happens when fires start turning up everywhere. Even Gabriel's own family suspects him at some point. And whenever Gabriel starts to feel like he's completely alone, Laney shows up.
Laney is almost the opposite of Gabriel. She's cautious, she thinks things through carefully. So it's fun to see her dynamic with Gabriel, and it's even more fun to watch (or read, I suppose) Gabriel's reactions to her, especially considering he doesn't really know how to react. He's never had to deal with someone like Laney. So he says all the wrong things, of course. But when he says the right things, I wanted to squeal like a little girl. (Maybe I did. Who knows?) The way Gabriel and Laney's relationship progressed was perfect - I never felt like anything was going too fast or too slow.
Laney is definitely her own character, though. It's not just about the romance. Laney has her own life, her own problems, and I think that might be what I loved most. Laney's character wasn't dependent on the romance. She takes care of her brother, she worries about her future.
Something that might rival my love for the characters in this book is the plot. The sense of danger is still always present, and now it seems even closer to home. With Gabriel being the prime suspect in the arson cases, he not only has to worry about his family and the Guides, he also to worry about the police. But Gabriel still manages to do something good - while using his powers and a little bit of a bromance with Hunter - even with everything weighing over him. I wish the Guides had been a little more present in this book, though. It seems like they were pushed to the backburner when they were such a huge part of the first book.
Overall: The way Kemmerer writes Gabriel is something I don't think I've ever seen before. He's so full of emotions that he feels more real than any character I've ever read, and Laney is almost the same way. Spark is a book that will keep you reading into the early hours of the morning - and then you'll read it again because you're not sure you believed the twist at the end. (And also because Gabriel Merrick is HOT. Steaming hot.) 5 stars. (I really want to give it 10, though. If that doesn't convince you to go out and read it, I don't know what will.)