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

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  647 ratings  ·  109 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
ebook, 257 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Flux (first published January 1st 2011)
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3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  647 ratings  ·  109 reviews

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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
Oct 13, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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?)
Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Kike Ogundipe
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
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.")
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
I got halfway through this book and just couldn't go any further. It's a typical first-person perspective, self-absorbed YA novel with inane humor and dialogue. Maybe it's just my age ...
Jan 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the concepts, but it wasn't very deep.
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best contemporary stories I've read with humor. This is one of those books that's criminally under talked.
J. Peters
I wasn't really sure what to think at first, and even after reading it...I'm not totally sure what to think.

It's a bit of a mix for me. I liked the general premise of the book, and the tone of the characters and the quirkiness of everything. But too often, the quirky tone and the relationship/real life stuff kind of clashes, and it feels off.

While reading it, the first thing that came to mind was that this was kind of a teen version of something like Recess or Ned's Declassified - it's an exagg
Ms. Patterson
Debbie Woodlawn has been secretly in love with her best friend, Lisa, since middle school. Now that Lisa has a serious boyfriend and is considering becoming more involved with him, Debbie decides now is the time to confess all. What starts off as a simple quest to find Lisa and confess to her ends up as a life-changing quest for Debbie where she discovers more about herself and the choices she's made over the years.

You will either love the quirky way Adams portrays this story of a girl coming to
Flossy Marley
'Sparks' is a story about a 16 year old lesbian trying to get over a crush on her religious best friend by beginning a 'holy quest' with some mavericks who invented a made up faith called the 'Church of Blue'.In brief this book is different because upon reading the first page everything is all jumbled up, it seems as though the author wrote different stories and jumbled them up together, basically all is irreverent but hysterical.All in all I think after reading this book I felt very accomplishe ...more
Jan 06, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There need to be more books for LGBTQ teens. This is not a good one. Poorly written, one dimensional characters, unrealistic ending.
Dec 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
a sweet story about self discovery , and debbie is an emotionally honest character that it was easy to relate to. it wasn’t the best writing ever but i definitely don’t consider it a wasted read.
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the least depressing/angst-filled YA lgbt novels I've read, which is honestly SUCH a relief. It was a fun read for me. I really enjoyed it, although the full house obsession was a bit much for me (because I've never watched it).
Emily Kassera
I didn't like this book because it was prosaic or particularly complex. I enjoyed it for its honesty. The characters in this book talk like teens, think like teens, and act like teens. They say 'like' far too many times, swear for the risky hell of it, and turn simple events into melodramatic episodes. All of that is a part of this novel's charm. It's a quick read to pass along to a teen who's looking for exactly that. Zaniness mixed with just enough truth.
Laura Martinelli
Dec 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, young-adult
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.”

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
Nicole Brown
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Go on a "holy" quest with Debbie, Emma, and Tim on a night none of them will forget.

My dad’s a regular guy, and my mom’s a total kook, so I guess I had a fifty percent chance of coming out normal. Leave it to me to screw it up.
-S.J. Adams (Sparks p. 1)
The goth kids always looked about as depressed as I felt, so that was a possibility, but I didn’t think they’d let me hang out with them. It’s hard to get in with the goth crowd if you weren’t, like, born a g
Shelley M.
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
At first I liked the idea of a few outcasts starting their own religion. I even thought it was cool that they took influence from Buddhism, until I noticed how cold and one-dimensional some of the characters were, like Lisa. Now don't get me wrong, I understand that Lisa was supposed to be the hopeless straight girl crush that every lesbian teen has at least once in her life, but I thought her character was extremely cold and heartless. As a lesbian, I have had my fair share of straight girl cru ...more
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Bob Nebraska! I would give this book 800 stars if I could!
This book has so much going for it. The humor is amazing and the heartache is believable. The take away when you close the book is "Wow! That was the best trip I've been on in a long while!"

Debbie is in love with her best friend which happens to be a girl and the realization that her best friend is about to go all the way with a loser boy hits her in the gut, hard. SO hard that she looses it at school, hiding in the bathroom for the remai
Sep 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 06, 2015 rated it liked it
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
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