Review: Spark by Brigid Kemmerer

Posted May 20th, 2013 in book review / 14 comments


Elemental Series, #2

by Brigid Kemmerer

Publisher: Kensington (August 2012)
Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult
Format: Paperback (345 pages)
Source: Purchased (or I might have won this one)
Purchase: Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 stars)

Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally. Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can’t. 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. And no one seems to believe him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Because Layne has a few secrets of her own…

At A Glance
Marry me, Gabriel!!! Even though Spark wasn’t as good as Storm, it was still full of yummy goodness.

The Good
Gabriel, our snarky wiseass with a fast mouth and faster fists. What can I say about him? He is a reckless bad boy with a hair trigger temper and he has a surprising emotional side. Spark is Gabriel’s book and he is very much alone in this book. With an arsonist on the loose, all signs point to Gabriel, since he seems to be on the scenes of the fires. His brothers even think he is involved because they know that Gabriel has the power to control fire. But the smart and shy Layne sees Gabriel for what he really is: a troubled boy, but a boy who could never hurt anyone.

You can’t help but feel bad for Gabriel. Almost no one believes he is innocent. Everyone thinks he is starting these fires around town. His brothers’ suspicions only make Gabriel angrier and more aggressive, and with his outbursts, he looks more guilty. We all know he’s a good guy, if not a little rough around the edges. I loved how we got to see his softer side this time around. He is surprisingly self-conscience and lonely. Granted, he often pushes people away which leads to them being leery of him. So he kind of brings a lot of this mess on himself, but Gabriel can’t help it. His self-doubt always gets in the way of him getting close to people, even his twin. When Layne and Gabriel find themselves spending time together, Layne doesn’t shy away from Gabriel’s attitude. She may be quiet but she is not meek.

Layne has her own demons. She has secrets, she has a past that has made her into the girl she is today: strong but lonely. She has to be strong for her deaf brother who gets daily doses of bullying. Her parents are pretty much useless because they both don’t seem to care too much about their children. Layne is a resilient character, but she also has a vulnerable side like Gabriel. Gabriel and her have some sweet and hilarious moments together. I loved the scene when her father walks in on them in a compromising position. Layne’s father is a jerk but Gabriel doesn’t take any crap. He says some things to her father that still make me laugh out loud.

There is some major tension between the Merrick brothers in Spark. Do to the events in Storm, we get a hole bunch of raw nerves and flaring tempers. Even though I was saddened the tension in the family, it made for great drama. I also loved learning more about Hunter and seeing him in a better light. Gabriel and Hunter almost have a legit bromance in Spark. Loved! I realized in this book that I like how Kemmerer doesn’t necessarily wrap up everything at the end of her books. Gabriel and Layne’s relationship is just starting, nothing is perfect, and the bad guys are still out there, but that’s okay. We all know there is more to come.

The writing was great and the pacing was well done. Each character was strongly developed. We are getting to know the brothers and secondary characters better which makes me crave these books even more.

The Bad
I feel like I am in the minority here, but this book didn’t feel as strong as Storm. I LUV Gabriel, but his story didn’t reel me in as much. And I was hoping for more action.

The Snuggly
I really liked Gabriel and Layne together. Both are very tortured characters and together I think they can find some peace. I just wish Layne didn’t have to go and steal my man. Gabriel, pick me instead!!!

We get kissing and some touching. Pretty mild in sensuality. And there is also a sexual assault.

Final Thoughts
Spark was a pretty good sequel to Storm. Any book with Gabriel is going to guarantee a good time…and girly squealing. Gabriel was so complex, and I am happy I finally know where he is coming from. I think fans will love this book. Highly recommended.

“A girl on the cheer squad had once asked Gabriel if having a twin was like looking in a mirror all the time. He’d asked her if being a cheerleader was like being an idiot all of the time – but really, it was a good question.”  

“You know,” he said by way of greeting, “the night I caught you with Layne, I called you a future felon. I didn’t realize you’d make good on that prediction so quickly.”
“That night you dragged Layne out of my driveway, I called you an a**hole. Guess we were both right.”  

“Dad, it’s not -“
His eyes cut right. “Now, Layne.”
She swallowed and slinked past him into the living room.
“Don’t forget my box of condoms,” called Gabriel.

Elemental Series:
Book #1: Storm
Book #2: Spark
Book #3: Spirit

book review

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14 Responses to “Review: Spark by Brigid Kemmerer”

  1. Sarah Elizabeth

    Ah Gabriel!! I love him so much!! I see you’re reading Spirit! I didn’t like that one as much as Spark but you might 🙂 Happy Reading!

  2. Giselle

    Awesome review, Jennifer I’m happy you’re also a fan of this series. I really enjoyed book 1 but this one was my favorite of the two (though I thought I was the minority there but maybe not) I do love Gabriel’s character so much! I think he’s so complex. I also love how every book i s a different POV and next up is Hunter’s! I can’t wait to read it!

    • Jennifer Bielman

      I actually felt like most people loved this book more. It was great, but you know when something is missing and you can’t quite put your finger on it? Yeah, that’s how I felt.

  3. Ashley

    I only looked at bits of your review because I haven’t read the first one yet, but I’m glad you enjoyed it! Bummer that it wasn’t as good as the first one, but 4 stars is still pretty darn good! I hope you keep enjoying the series. 😀

  4. Jaclyn Canada

    I like the look of this series. I remember you talking about why Hunter was there and being unsure of his motives. Glad to know it’s cleared up in this one. Gabriel looks like a lot of fun to read – Love the quotes! Jaclyn @ JC’s Book Haven.

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