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Sparks: The Epic, Completely True Blue, (Almost) Holy Quest of Debbie

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  374 ratings  ·  78 reviews
Do you feel lost? Confused? Alone? (Circle one): Yes or No. The Church of Blue can help. We are not a cult. $5 for a holy quest is a good deal. Since sixth grade, Debbie Woodlawn has nursed a secret, heart-searing crush on her best friend, Lisa. But all those years of pretending to enjoy Full House reruns and abstinence rallies with Lisa go down the drain when her friend h ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Flux (first published January 1st 2011)
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Lesbian teen fiction
81st out of 273 books — 291 voters
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Fab & Spectacular LGBTQ Books for Teens
7th out of 26 books — 6 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,556)
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I've started conducting an unofficial survey of LGBTQ YA lit -- stories with lesbian protagonists, specifically -- in hopes of finding some novels that don't make being a gay chick seem like a horrible, traumatic ordeal. So many stories that deal with young girl-on-girl love are full of grim, punishing disasters of biblical proportions -- people lose their jobs, parents die in car crashes . . . its enough to make a young lesbian crawl right back into the closet!

But S.J. Adams novel, Sparks, is a
Debbie is in love with her best friend, Lisa. Lisa is really into church though and her new boyfriend. Lisa is so into her new boyfriend, that Debbie feels lost and alone. Enter Emma, Tim and the Church of Blue. Debbie isn't sure she really wants to try this new religion of Blue, but she does want someone to hang out with. Emma and Time seem to understand her and are ready and willing to help her take the leap and admit what her heart wants. But, with all the chaos of the actual quest to get the ...more
Let me make this clear : These are five REALLY BIG STARS. I'm not sure I could have loved this book any more.

Thank you Stonewall Awards for introducing me to SJ Adams, who may be one of the funniest authors I've read in a long time! I had more moments than I could count where I laughed out loud in the book and had to read a section to whomever was closest. (Which meant that if I was reading alone, there were many times I greeted my partner with passages of the book instead of a formal "Hello.")
This book drove me a little crazy, in a good way. No cliches here; Debbie is one-of-a-kind, and her quest is surprising because it's (almost) completely true. Of course, lesbian teens have thought and felt these things for ages, but seeing it written down in a book for young readers is exciting. You can ride this one all the way. Debbie's final realization about the best friend she's been crushing on for years is sane, not sugar-coated or just plain depressing. The best review for this book is b ...more
What I liked: Okay, so this is a "coming out" book but it is SOOO much more than Annie on My Mind! Debbie is a wonderful main character who, at the beginning of the book, feels like the "Kimmy Gibbler" of her own life and is desperately, hopelessly, all-the-way in love with her best friend Lisa, who is seriously dating the most boring boy in the world, Norman. There is just amazingly superb character development as Debbie rejects her old life of hiding in Lisa's shadow (as well as pretending to ...more
Emily Elizabeth
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura Martinelli
There are some books that I finish that I really like and then eventually pass along to my various friends. Then there are others that I have to stop halfway through, call one of my friends and go, “Okay, if this doesn’t suddenly start sucking, OH MY GOD YOU HAVE TO READ THIS.” So when I get the book about the atheist closeted lesbian in love with her incredibly religious best friend, who both living in a fairly Christian town, my first thought was, “Oh, I’m so giving this to my best friend.”

Overall, I liked this book. I enjoyed that the story took place over the course of one day. The focus of the novel is that Debbie has romantic feelings for her best friend Lisa, and it was refreshing that all reactions to this confession were either positive or of the who-cares variety. Debbie is also obsessed with the television show Full House and (while that show does not even crack my Top 50 personal favorites) I appreciated her level of fan enthusiasm: making lists, referencing episodes in ...more
Sarah Kathleen
Debbie's been in love with her best friend Lisa for years, but now she has to tell her--before Lisa's boyfriend spills the beans and ruins her life. The only trouble is, well, everything. Before the night is over, Debbie will find herself in a janitor's garage, a cemetery, a new-age store full of middle-aged hippies, and a bowling alley. Fortunately, she's traveling alongside two new friends whose homemade religion is starting to make perfect sense.

This book definitely had a smaller "scope" than
This was silly and fun and didn't make me think too hard. Moved quickly (the whole thing is set in one day). Lots of unbelievable stuff, but you know, that's kind of the point. That when you feel like you have to tell your best friend the absolute BIGGEST SECRET of your life, nothing else seems real, you can't imagine "real life" beyond that, and if you give up now, it may never happen. Which is how teenagers' brains process things. So to illustrate that in a roundabout way, ie: by actually maki ...more
Jackson Radish
Oct 13, 2011 Jackson Radish marked it as to-read
Shelves: queer-youth, teen, queer
the VOYA review said there were too many "Full House" references, which obviously spoke highly of the book in my eyes (even though it didn't get a great review--maybe if it was a "Full House" fan who reviewed it that would have been different?)
Brilliant, uplifting, and light-hearted, despite addressing plenty of serious issues. I can't imagine ever being so open and up-front about the things that bothered me as a teen, but I wish I'd been so adventurous and brave as the characters in this wonderful and witty novel. I laughed and mused and thoroughly enjoyed this story of self-discovery, coming-of-age, friendship, and serendipity. Praise be to Blue!

(And a special thanks to the author for listing the most excellent music of Seanan McGui
One of the best contemporary stories I've read with humor. This is one of those books that's criminally under talked.
Feb 23, 2014 Ruth rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya
Nothing all that remarkable here, but I liked the Church of Blue and their recruitment pitch.
Do you feel lost? Confused? Alone? (Circle one): Yes or No. The Church of Blue can help. We are not a cult. $5 for a holy quest is a good deal.

The Bluists admit up front that constructing a religion and running around doing weird things on holy quests is mostly a good way to avoid more self-destructive behavior, which sounds reasonable enough to me.

If nothing else, the Bluist conviction that hell is Neb
I liked the concepts, but it wasn't very deep.
Nov 25, 2014 Jenna rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of John Green
I really, really liked this book. It was entertaining and odd-ball and Debbie was hilarious.
Back to nano-ing, but will expand on this later. Loved the writing, pacing, plot, characters (although Heather seemed a bit 2-D). Wanted it to almost be longer, not for the ending but for the quest itself.


The whole idea of, like, declaring myself to Lisa, or whatever you call it, scared the heck out of me, but the only other option if I wanted to be with her was to murder Norman Hastings, then be
I wanted to like this more than I did. I mostly didn't like how it dealt with fatness. I also didn't really feel connected to any of the characters, maybe because the whole book takes place over the course of one afternoon that's just one event after another. And there weren't really flashbacks, just lots of references to Debbie and Lisa watching "Full House." The main character, Debbie, is pretty much completely unaware of pop culture aside from "Full House," because she's been in love with her ...more
Since I hadn't heard anything about Sparks before picking it up, and the whole Bluedaism and Quest and all of that sounded really weird and out-there, so my expectations for Sparks were not exactly high. Luckily, those low expectations made it even better when I ended up loving the book! The randomness of the plot that threw me off at first ended up being refreshing and entertaining - I'm so glad I gave this book a chance!

The characters are what make this story so good. Debbie is an endearing ch
A promising premise ruined by infuriating writing, pacing and character construction. The main character states her real problem at the beginning of the book (that she's framed her whole life around her best friend/crush, Lisa) and yet spends the rest of the book doing the opposite of fix it. The whole "epic" journey to confess to Lisa dragged on. And then there's Lisa, herself. I have no idea what Debbie saw in her. She's barely in the book, but when she is she comes off as moronic, an opinion ...more
Debbie has harbored a secret crush on her best girl friend, Lisa, since sixth grade. Tonight, with the help of her new friends (and members of the made-up Church of Blue) Emma and Tim, she is going to profess her feelings to her. Along the way the three Bluists complete tasks they've challenged themselves to while following the Commandments of Blue, such as taking all detours they encounter and always putting matters of the heart first.

The themes of this story are important ones: being true to y
Hayley Swanson
Sixteen-year-old Debbie Woodlawn has been seriously friend-zoned. She's been in love with her best friend Lisa for years now, and fosters a secret hope that Lisa will someday realize she has always loved her too. Disregarding the fact that this rarely happens in hetero friendships, Lisa happens to like guys, and has started dating the most boring jerk in the history of forever, with a very apt name: Norman.

I really felt bad for Debbie a lot of the time. A common symptom of the friend zone is tha
I liked this book a lot more than I was expecting to. I'd thought it was going to be about a whiny teenage protagonist who, well, whines... and instead I got Debbie, who starts out a little useless and then ends up kicking ass, taking charge, and learning to live her own life - all without any preachiness, heavy-handed moral lessons, or smarmy nonsense about 'being true to yourself' or whatever it is that the kids say these days.

This was a very fun read. The plot starts fairly simple - Debbie ha
Wandering Librarians
Debbie has been in love her with best friend Lisa for ages, but has never told for fear of losing her. Now, Lisa seems to be considering going all the way with her new boyfriend. Debbie knows she doesn't have much of a chance, but she HAS to let Lisa knows how she feels. And so Debbie finds herself on a crazy adventure with new friends and devote Blueists, Emma and Tim, to track down Lisa before the night is over so Debbie can declare herself.

I totally loved this. It was sweet, but with a tiny b
The only reason I gave this book two stars is because the author actually gave the book a decent ending. I thought for sure they were going to take the safe way out & make the main character get what she wants.

This is a story about a girl who is secretly in love with her best friend. No one knows that she's gay so she can't really talk to anyone about how upset she gets when her best friend starts ditching her for her new boyfriend. The main character (whose name I have forgotten because the
Jenni Frencham
Debbie has been best friends with Lisa since elementary school, and she's always done whatever Lisa wanted, including watching reruns of Full House ad nauseum. But now Lisa's dating Norman, and Debbie is forced to face the fact that 1) she likes Lisa as more than just a friend and 2) she doesn't know who she is apart from Lisa.

Enter Emma and Tim, the only two members of the Church of Blue, an invented religion that Emma is using to keep her around Tim and to keep them both on the somewhat strai
i love the premise of this book. debbie is trying to figure out a way to declare her love to her best friend, lisa, a conservative christian. but lisa is getting heavily involved with norman, who is hellbent on setting debbie up with another ACT (active! christian! teen!)- a dude. fortunately debbie is befriended by adorable weirdos emma and tim who invite her to explore their religion, bludaism, and take her on a holy quest of hijinks and shenanigans, which will ideally end with debbie and lisa ...more
Well written, full of great one liners, funny and at the same time this one gets to the heart of teenage insecurity. Story of a girl who has a crush on her best friend but is afraid to tell her. Two other friends start their own religion (Bluedaism) and the three go on a holy quest to find true love (and scratch a few other things off their bucket lists). As is often the case, little turns out as planned. Never mind all that, though, the truth is in the journey. Sort of a mix of John Green's 'Pa ...more
This was a fun, quick read. It reminded me of the crazy days of high school and the joy of finding those friends who completely understand you. I also recognized a lot of the places in the book being that I have friends who live/lived in the area, and that I've done 6 Race for a Cure 5Ks in Des Moines and we always stay at the Comfort Suites in Clive off of Hickman Road. A very fun book that reminded me of the many zany adventures I had with my friends in high school.
Adam Bakken
I absolutely loved this book. It is by no means the next Hamlet or Illiad but that is more than ok. Unlike a lot of other youth fiction I have read, it struck me as very authentic, and reminded me in a good way about the kind of shenanigans and nonsense that junior high students are capable of getting involved in. This, to me, made me feel that young teens would be able to relate to this quite well.
The subject of this matter deals with young love. Young love between two girls. The fact that this
This book was OK.

While reading it I felt like I had read the book before than realized it reminded me a lot of the book 'The Gospel According to Larry' that I read WAAAY back in High School.

The main characters share the same personality and the story was pretty similar.

I don't have much to complain about this book except that I really didn't connect with it. Maybe it was the sexual nature of the book or the feeling of 'Screw everything' mentality.

I could relate to a lot of it though. The pain
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2013 Hub Reading ...: Sparks 1 4 May 04, 2013 04:10PM  
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  • Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy
  • Silhouette of a Sparrow
  • The Necessary Hunger
  • Gravity
  • Branded by the Pink Triangle
  • The White Bicycle
  • The End
  • It's Our Prom (So Deal With It)
  • The Letter Q: Queer Writers' Notes to their Younger Selves
  • f2m:the boy within
  • Kicked Out
  • Love & Lies: Marisol's Story
  • From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun
  • Not Otherwise Specified
  • Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom
  • Breathing Underwater
  • Awake

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