Is there anything hotter than a guy (half) in a fireman suit?
Turns out there is. GABRIEL MERRICK in a fireman suit. And a little ol' book called SPARK SPARK SPARK SPARK SPARK SPARK SQUEEEEEEEE!!!
And now that is out of the way....
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Release Date: August 28th 2012 (US) | October 2012 (AUS)
Publisher: Kengsinton Teen (US) | Allen & Unwin (AUS)
Add or Buy: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository
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…
Tensions are running at an all time high in the Merrick household and Gabriel is right at the centre of it. It was fascinating to read from his perspective this time, so different from Chris in Storm. His element is fire and that reflects on his personality type: explosive. Gabriel has a tendency to fly off the handle pretty quickly, but here we get to see the churning emotions behind his harsh words. He'll have you slapping your forehead in exasperation at times, when he's prone to acting ten seconds before he thinks, but you grow an understanding of why he is who he is. I love how Brigid explored the fire element and how it affects him. Gabriel clearly has a much tougher time with his powers than his brothers do. That's not to say they haven't their own set of issues, but fire is volatile and it's always craving power, needing to burn brighter. Gabriel's struggle to find an amount of control over it in Spark was unpredictable and exciting, just like the boy himself.
I was a ridiculous fangirl of Gabriel in Storm (oh, you noticed?!), so I had no doubt he would set my heart aflutter in Spark. But I'm not sure I was fully prepared for how much he would break it. Spark has claws. Sharp and unforgiving, they dig into Gabriel's heart and force him to face every dark demon he tries to keep buried. Guilt, anger, regret and unworthiness tear at him from the inside and all I wanted to do was hug the crap out of him (and then have someone hug the crap out of me). He WILL make you hurt, he WILL stab your heart with the strength of his pain and oh, I love it. I hate what it does to him, I hate seeing him break the way he does, but I LOVE the emotional angst! And even though it feels like the entire world is against him at times, I really think he needed this period in his life. To learn from it and grow. I love that we explore Michael and Gabriel's messy relationship. Things between them weren't always the best in Storm and while there is still plenty of tension in Spark, they're developing a tenuous truce which leads the way for some really touching moments. Gabriel also forms an unexpected friendship that had me giddy to see unfold from the minute it was hinted at! But it's with Nick, the most important relationship in his life, the one constant throughout it all, where cracks show that are devastating to read.
What I love about Gabriel and Layne (our leading lady and thief of Gabriel's heart) is that in ways, they are polar opposites. The brainy girl who flies under the radar, and the cocky, sporty guy who's not much of an academic. Yet once they enter orbits, they can't ignore the pull; the itch to scratch those outer layers and figure each other out. They have the ability to challenge and inspire, to push one another of their comfort zones for the better. They each battle their own issues; Gabriel with his turbulent emotions and trouble with the law, Layne with the ghosts of her past and her complicated family situation (I love her brother, Simon!), but united, they make a beautiful pair. Strengthened by their belief in one another, something no one else has really offered either of them before.
Spark is all about the fire... there's burning buildings and fiery emotions, but the heat also makes the romance ten times steamier. When Gabriel Merrick unleashes his sexy... goddamn, HE UNLEASHES HIS SEXY. Every moment between Gabriel and Layne is electric; whether they're arguing, skirting around one another or just letting all loose and fogging up your windows. It's HOT. And you're constantly left craving MORE.
I began to grow suspicious about part of the mystery midway through, but Brigid still had plenty of surprise in store for me by the end! I was not anticipating all of the reveal, nor the explanation behind it, and I'm really eager to explore this thread more in Spirit. Just like we saw in Storm, Spark is full of blazing emotion, pulse-pounding action and addictive mystery. Every chapter is so INTENSE and it's impossible to pull away, to not pay attention to a single sentence lest you miss a loaded gaze or clue that holds deeper meaning.
Brigid Kemmerer has injected something special into the YA world. She's given us a family of characters (whether by blood, love or friendship) that are so dynamic, so full of energy, that you're wishing you could know them in real life. And for every new chapter of their story, you fall deeper and deeper under their spell. Spark proves that Brigid is an author here for the long run. Storm was not a one-time hit, but just the beginning of a thrilling series that will still be sending us on a dizzying rollercoaster for years to come!
Bloggers: did you know you can request SPARK from Netgalley?! Meaning you could be reading a digital copy of it (and getting your steam on with Gabriel Merrick) RIGHT NOW!