In Spark by Y. C. Leung, eighteen-year-old Becky finds her hopes of joining the army together with her best friend, Meghan, destroyed when natural disaster strikes, separating friends and setting some on a tedious, challenging ride towards Winnipeg at a time the country is reeling from a new deadly virus.
Becky and Meghan have gone to Union Square to meet their friends, Connor and Robert, when the earthquake takes place, and in the midst of the confusing and dreadful situation, and fearing a tsunami might ensue from the wreck, the friends are separated. Becky and Connor find themselves without Meghan and Robert. As Langley, British Columbia, is consumed by the devastating flames, Becky and Connor, together with Tommy, must find their way to Manitoba. But with the deadly virus spreading, they have to race against time to cross the borders before they are closed. Does the trio have enough fight left in them for what lies ahead?
The lovely banter, the expertly written plot, the engaging dialogues, and the dazzling prose are among the elements that set Spark apart as a work of great entertainment, with characters that young and adult readers will adore. Y. C. Leung weaves resonant themes into the narrative and successfully captures the fear and bedlam that grip people in the face of deadly viruses and environmental disasters. The characters are well-imagined and skillfully executed, each written with unique flaws. For instance, Tommy struggles with drugs and the author uses his painful withdrawal to build pathos into the story. The relationships between the characters grow naturally and the different levels of conflict are skillfully developed. This is an emotionally rich and psychologically engaging tale with characters that stay with readers long after the last page is turned. The beautiful prose, composed of short, clear sentences, brings clarity to Leung’s work and makes the story hugely accessible. There is a sense of urgency and imminent danger that permeates the narrative, fueling motivation and creating the adventure that transforms the story into a page-turner as readers follow the characters resolutely but painfully heading towards hope, uncertainty brushing the edges of their hearts. Spark is an immersive journey that follows the transformation of young characters as they escape from a natural disaster towards solace. It is a balanced and deft tale with lovely characters.