A Spark of Light

A Spark of Light

A Novel

Book - 2018
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"The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things returns with a powerful and provocative new novel about ordinary lives that intersect during a heart-stopping crisis. The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center a women's reproductive health services clinic its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage. After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic. But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. Apro-life protester disguised as a patient, who now stands in the cross hairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard. Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day. Jodi Picoult one of the most fearless writers of our time tackles a complicated issue in this gripping and nuanced novel. How do we balance the rights of pregnant women with the rights of the unborn they carry? What does it mean to be a good parent? A Spark of Light will inspire debate, conversation. and, hopefully, understanding"--
Publisher: New York, NY :, Ballantine Books,, [2018]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780345544988
Branch Call Number: FICTION Picoult Jodi 09/2018
Characteristics: 369 pages ;,25 cm


From Library Staff

Known for her compassionate look at difficult topics, Jodi Picoult returns with an active shooter taking hostages inside a women's health center.

From the critics

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Jan 14, 2019

Have liked her books in the past but not this one.

Jan 07, 2019

Let me start by saying I enjoyed this book. Yes, the writing style is different. I had to rethink after each chapter and puzzle pieces together for it to make sense at times. There WERE a lot of characters but the writings of each in each chapter are brief so I felt they were easy to keep up with. I appreciated all of the different characters and what brought them to the center...however....Picoult who usually does a great job of exploring all sides did not do a great portrayal of the pro life characters...there was the gunman and a spy who came into the clinic...as well as the protesters and pregnancy center up the street. Overall the book made me think and explore from each characters point of view.

Jan 04, 2019

Jodi Picoult is always brave in that she writes about controversial topics. Every debate has two sides and pro-life and pro-choice are no exception. An abortion clinic is the scene of Picoult's latest novel. One morning a distraught father, George, arrives there and starts shooting while holding some women hostage. Enter the hostage negotiator, Hugh McElroy who is an expert in his field till he finds out his daughter and sister are among the hostages! Both George and Hugh are single fathers of daughters and the hostage crisis becomes an emotional drama more than a usual one would be. Picoult handles the situation beautifully without taking one side or another in the debate. I wish though that she had not chosen to tell the story in reverse chronological order. Regardless, it is a well told tale and well worth a read.

BostonPL_KirstenD Jan 04, 2019

I'm a huge Jodi Picoult fan, but I do have to say that I found this one jarring and a little difficult to read. One of my favorite things in a Picoult novel is her chapters that alternate perspectives. Here, each chapter moved backwards in time by one hour, and the multiple perspectives were contained within the chapter. A few paragraphs would be told from one perspective, then a few from another perspective. The short amount of time spent on each person before jumping to the next meant that I had a hard time actually connecting with them. Starting at the end and working backwards was a clever concept in theory, but in practice, it was challenging for me to follow, sewing things together in reverse. It actually became a bit of a slog to read.

I will say that I did admire the conversation on abortion, though; Jodi Picoult remains a goddess at talking about relevant, yet touchy topics and forcing you to examine your convictions through the lens of fiction. That wasn't enough to save the book, though. I found it disappointing in the end. Her usual third act twist wasn't as unexpected as it could have been, and it just kind of fell flat in the end. Ultimately, not her best work in my eyes, unfortunately, but I have faith that her next title will be better!

Jan 02, 2019

Loved it. Takes place at an abortion clinic. Follows all of the people who were there when a distraught father came in and shot a number of the people. He discovered his daughter had an abortion there and held them responsible for the death of her fetus.
It details the choices people make in their lives, from the doctor performing the abortions, to the nurses who work there, to the number of young girls and older people who have come for different reasons.
It explores all of the choices these people make in coming there.
Central is the daughter of a policeman who only came to get birth control.

Dec 24, 2018

Very disappointed in this book. I am only half way through and usually finish all books I read but I find this book irritating every time I pick it up so I don't think I will be finishing it. Not because of the subject matter but just because it's not terribly interesting. I was excited to read this book after reading Small Great Things, an excellent, well written book. This one just falls flat. The timeline going back and forth and all over the place is terribly confusing to read as well. Just a messy book. Important subject matter just not done very well.

Dec 19, 2018

In my opinion, this was a very disappointing read. I have researched and reviewed others' opinions on Picoult's writings, and expected much more from those reviews. However this was simply disappointing and did not live up to the expectations or standards at all. I feel like I wasted my time reading this book when I could have been reading something else much more entertaining. The synopsis seems very interesting but turns out to be boring and terribly played out, which is even more disappointing because it had such great reviews and potentials. I would not recommend this book at all. @SecretBlossom of the Hamilton Public Library Teen Review Board

lauz32 Dec 09, 2018

“this was indeed some crazy world, where the waiting period to get an abortion was longer than the waiting period to get a gun.” And with that sentence I was hooked. Interestingly the book starts at the end of a day and finishes at the start of the day in question. The book looks at the different viewpoints of various people on the controversial topic of abortion and the pro choice vs pro life debate and regardless of your opinion on the matter, the ending leaves the reader with a few surprises and a lot to think about. An though provoking, and necessary read.

Nov 27, 2018

I was really looking forward to reading this book because of the topic. I have read almost all of Picoult's books and have loved them however this book left a lot to be desired. I found myself skipping paragraphs and struggling to get through it solely based on the writing style. The book starts off well and then flounders because the chapters are in reverse. The story goes backwards and feels very redundant because we already know the climax of the story from the first chapter.

Nov 26, 2018

Confusing and poorly written. Very disappointing. The subject could be an outstanding book.

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