Spark of Light: A Novel

Spark of Light: A Novel

by Jodi Picoult

Hardcover(Signed Edition)

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Overview

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 to 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. A pro-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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781984800664
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/23/2018
Edition description: Signed Edition
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 142,729
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Jodi Picoult is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twenty-three novels, including Small Great Things, Leaving Time, The Storyteller, Lone Wolf, Sing You Home, House Rules, Handle with Care, Change of Heart, Nineteen Minutes, and My Sister’s Keeper. She is also the author, with daughter Samantha van Leer, of two young adult novels, Between the Lines and Off the Page. Picoult lives in New Hampshire.

Hometown:

Hanover, New Hampshire

Date of Birth:

May 19, 1966

Place of Birth:

Nesconset, Long Island, NY

Education:

A.B. in Creative Writing, Princeton University; M.A. in Education, Harvard University

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A Spark of Light (B&N Exclusive Edition) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 98 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NO SPOILERS Very thought-provoking and realistic. Highly recommend. I wanted to address some of the other reviews though... The "backwards" timeline: I liked this approach, really makes the reader pay attention to the storyline. The "agenda": I feel like both sides of the issue were fairly represented. I am as right-leaning as you can get without being a true "conservative", but I am also very far from liberal and I feel like Picoult accurately portrayed the fundamentals of both sides of this issue. The "twists": I saw both major "twists" coming from pretty early in the book, but that didn't make reading this any less enjoyable. The ending: Many reviewers complained about an abrupt ending. If you pay attention throughout the story, you have a pretty good idea about what the characters are going to do next, if not what exactly is in store for the Center itself. Bottom line, no matter which side of the fence your opinions lie (especially if you are somewhat ON the fence) this is an interesting story that weaves together many individual stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very compelling read no matter which side of the issue you stand.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read every one of Jodi Picoult's books and this is her most disappointing. The reverse timeline and embedded storylines were really difficult to follow and the end was very predictable. Definitely not the book to start with if you've never read her work. I will never give up reading her books, I'm just disappointed I have to wait so long for another good one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all of Picoult’s books. This felt rushed and poorly planned. The best thing about her previous writings is that you couldn’t tell which side she was on. With this, there is an obvious agenda. Incredibly disappointed in my favorite author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thin plot. Not a book to entertain, just advance agenda. Disappointing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Riveting and timely!
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
A Spark of Light is the twenty-third novel by popular American author, Jodi Picoult. In Jackson, Mississippi, a women’s clinic that provides, amongst other services, abortions is targeted daily by pro-life campaigners. They harass the staff and the clients as they enter and leave. But today is different: a gunman has entered the building and begun shooting. Trained police hostage negotiator, Detective Lieutenant Hugh McElroy is soon on the scene to talk to the gunman, but within minutes learns that his daughter, Wren and his sister, Bex are inside the clinic along with other innocent hostages. As he tries to reason with the shooter, those inside struggle to help the injured without further enraging their captor. The day’s events, as they unfold over ten hours, are told in reverse, with an epilogue resolving the dramatic end of the first chapter. As the story follows the path that directs each character to their destiny at the Clinic, their thoughts and dialogue give the reader a deep appreciation of their nature, their challenges, their passions. The shooter’s motivation and the series of events that leads up to his shocking actions illustrates how easily misunderstanding, desperation, a deficit of compassion and happenstance together can end in tragedy. Picoult never hesitates to tackle controversial topics, nor does she in this latest work. The main issue is, of course, abortion, but many other related topics feature: the legal obstacles, the reason doctors and nurses work in these clinics, the for and against arguments, the situations where abortion seems appropriate, the fallacies that are spouted by pro-lifers, inequity between laws that protect the foetus and those protecting the mother, the legal inconsistencies between states, the import of illegal abortion drugs from China, and even the semantics surrounding the issue. While many will feel that her treatment of the topic is balanced, Picoult’s latest novel is bound to polarise readers. The depth of her research is apparent and she backs it up with an extensive bibliography. In the Author’s Note, Picoult gives a succinct quote regards pro-lifer activities from a woman who has had an abortion: “I don’t need people shaming me because of a choice that already hurt my heart to have to make.” Picoult gives the reader yet another informative, insightful and thought-provoking read. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Allen & Unwin.
julie-51 More than 1 year ago
I feel like I just walked in to the middle of a movie. I'm a huge fan but this one I could not get in to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A thought provoking book as most of Jodi Pacoult books are.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Abrupt ending... Really needed more closure! So unsatisfying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Written gracefully & medically accurate, this is a book about so much more than abortion. It's worth it to read the thoughts written at the end of the book, as they offer statistics, facts, first-hand knowledge, and viable ideas for both pro-choicers AND for pro-lifers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waste
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read most of Jodi Picolt books because she is one of my favorite authors. This one really made me think.
bookaholique More than 1 year ago
Here is what I like about Jodi Picoult's writing. She takes a topic - in this case abortion - and then creates a story with characters that represent all sides of the debate on that topic. I frequently end her novels with at least a better understanding of opinions that differ from mine. She writes with intelligence and compassion. I actually ended up liking all the characters in this story - even the "bad guy". This has happened to me before with her writing. The people in this book all have legitimate points of view. There is a saying that came to mind when I read this story - just because I don't agree, that doesn't make me right. A thought provoking page turner. I received this book from Random House - Ballantine via Netgally. My thanks to both.
Anonymous 21 days ago
I have read all of the author's books and was disappointed. The characters were not as well-developed as most of her other books and the plot was not as compelling.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Loved this book! Couldn’t put it down! Best Author ever!
marquis784MA 6 months ago
A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult October 2, 2018 Fiction I received this digital ARC from NetGalley and Ballantine Books in exchange for an unbiased review. This is a very powerful book which delves into the delicate and controversial topic of abortion. The method of reverse story telling seemed effective initially but became confusing as more characters were added to the story. Each character has his/her own history and beliefs which allow for a multidimensional plot. When Hugh McElroy woke up on his birthday he has no idea what challenges he would face on a seemingly ordinary day. As a police detective experienced with hostage negotiations, Hugh was prepared when the call came in for assistance at the Center. Things become more personal when he realizes that his 15 year old daughter, Wren and her aunt Bex are among the hostages in the reproductive health clinic. There are many twists and turns as each person’s life and reason for being at the Center that day is revealed. Each person has a separate story which brings them all together to eventually unite during this shared tragedy. Ultimately, we are all entitled to our beliefs and trying to force those values on to other people will always be counterproductive to the initial goal. Our values and ethics are often challenged by unexpected life events to which we might never imagine. No one has the right to judge or condemn another person’s right to choose what’s best.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Normally I LOVE Jodi Picoult books, and she is a book club favorite. However, this one was hard to get through. I don't mean "hard" from the topic the book addresses. I mean "hard" in that the book was overly repetitive. The idea of the book counting backwards from a timeline was interesting at first, but before long, I was cringing every time the narrator called out the previous hour. In my opinion, Jodi has written better. This was not one of her better novels.
CharJones2525 9 months ago
I’ve been an avid Picoult reader from the beginning, entranced as she takes the most current societal challenges and turns them into compelling fiction. In her newest, staff and patients are taken hostage in an abortion clinic, and in a creative time bend, the story unfolds backward, with happenings revealed from the perspective of a nurse, a doctor, a pro-life protestor, the hostage taker, the police negotiator and his young daughter — a patient there unbeknownst to him. Gripping from first to last in trademark Picoult fashion. 5/5 Pub Date 02 Oct 2018. Thanks to the author, Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine. #AsparkOfLight #NetGalley
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I++have++loved+Jodi+Picoult++for++years.++This+is++another++of+her+great++books.++She+presents+both+sides+of+the+abortion+debate++and+you+care+about+the+characters.++Being+pro-choice++is+my+stance+and+it+will++always+be+so.++But%2C+I++can+understand++why++others+are+just+as+adamantly++pro-life.++First+%26+foremost+%2C+this++decision++needs+to+be+made+by+the+woman%2C+no+one+else.%0A%0A
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read!
Meemo_B More than 1 year ago
What an interesting book, and a somewhat difficult one to review. The subject matter (abortion) is a polarizing one, but then again most of the subjects Jodi Picoult tackles are difficult and often polarizing ones. So I went into it knowing that - fortunately I also knew that this was written with a bit of a twist - the timeline runs backwards, chapter by chapter. I'm glad I knew that, because even armed with that knowledge, at times it was a bit confusing. There's plenty of thought-provoking content for the reader, characters and ideas on both sides of the issue for readers on both sides of the issue to (hopefully) ponder and consider. At turns both heartbreaking and hopeful, this one might not end up being my favorite Jodi Picoult read, but I'm very glad I read it. My thanks to Netgalley and Random House/Ballantine Books for providing a copy for an unbiased review.
DeediReads More than 1 year ago
“She had come to the clinic because she didn’t want to be a little girl anymore. But it wasn’t having sex that made you a woman. It was having to make decisions, sometimes terrible ones. Children were told what to do. Adults made up their own minds, even when the options tore them apart.” This book spent quite a while on my to-read list, and I’m so glad that I finally picked it up. As always, Jodi Picoult gives us a brave, thorough, empathetic, well-rounded story about one of the most controversial topics of our time. The book’s unique format makes it even more interesting to read, and I felt it was just so well done. A Spark of Light is told backward; the first chapter starts at 5pm, the second chapter starts at 4pm, and so on and so forth. I loved how this was almost a play on how some people love to read the last page of a book first (I am not one of them, lol). You start out knowing what’s going to happen, and then you slowly pull back the layers of how we got there. The story has a cast of characters, each of whom has a very different, rich background that has led them to a woman’s health clinic. There’s a 15-year-old girl looking to get her first birth control prescription, a woman who grew up in foster care who’s just had an abortion, a pregnant nurse unsure if she wants to keep her pregnancy, the doctor at the clinic whose mother died from an unsafe illegal abortion, an undercover pro-life protester looking for condemning information, and a few others. There’s also the 15-year-old girl’s father, who is the hostage negotiator outside, and of course the shooter, whose teenage daughter just had an abortion. I can’t stress enough how well-rounded this story is; every person has such a unique path that led them to this moment, and so many sides of the issue are explored with empathy and research. The book reads fast and keeps you engaged, with some classic Jodi Picoult discoveries/plot twists at the end. I really enjoyed it.
tc3von More than 1 year ago
Oh the twists, you got me again Jodi Picoult. This was a long one. A book that essentially worked its way back to the start. It's a hard one to read. Especially if you have strong beliefs. But, it's necessary. You never know what a person is going through or has gone through. Jodi will make you think. Maybe not change your mind, but think.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very informative