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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...

345 pages, Paperback

First published August 22, 2012

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About the author

Brigid Kemmerer

26 books15.2k followers
Brigid Kemmerer is the New York Times bestselling author of dark and alluring YA novels like A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Defy the Night, and Letters to the Lost. A full time writer, Brigid lives in the Baltimore area with her family. When she’s not writing or being a mom, you can usually find her with her hands wrapped around a barbell.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,424 reviews
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,636 reviews34k followers
September 14, 2012
CASE # 0197

SUBJECT: Brigid Kemmerer, Author

HYPOTHESIS: Subject writes highly addictive books that are a serious impediment to normal sleep patterns.

Exhibit A: Storm
Exhibit B: Spark

STATUS: Considered a serious risk to all reasonable conduct.

This paper is an emergency presentation to provide anecdotal evidence that the young adult author Brigid Kemmerer is a menace to society. Through her Elemental series, which follows a group of dangerously attractive brothers with the power to harness the forces of nature, she has irresponsibly spread rampant mass hysteria in a thinly disguised attempt to take over the paranormal romance genre.

TEST READERS HAVE REPORTED: irregular breathing, flushed cheeks, and most alarmingly, a tendency to dissolve into incoherent giggles while reading the novels. Left unchecked, the subject will continue to be a detriment to all reasonable behavior as readers seem physically incapable of putting down her books.

Furthermore, after careful examination of her latest novel Spark, the following conclusions have been drawn.*

Theory #1: Brigid Kemmerer may be a gleeful pyromaniac.
Of all the natural earth elements, fire is perhaps the hardest to control and the most thoroughly destructive. Gabriel Merrick has been able to transform this incredibly powerful element all his life--but problem is, right now he's having trouble controlling it. And in his desire to prove himself, he takes on dangerous risks that alienate those he cares about the most. The author's descriptions of the magic harnessed and the gorgeous yet frightening sight of fire flaring out of control are incredibly evocative, and will likely satisfy those who felt let down by a similarly themed but disappointing Struck. Given how convincingly the fire element is described in this book, it's entirely possible that the author's deadly accuracy comes from personal experience with playing with this fascinating and unknowable force.

Theory #2: Brigid Kemmerer is surrounded by gorgeous, playful men who know how to kiss a girl senseless.
It's hard to write a male who is cocky, sarcastic, and a nice guy underneath it all, but Gabriel is a completely believable teenage guy who mouths off without thinking, but who is also capable of decency and tenderness. Both he and Layne, the troubled girl who tutors him, are layered, interesting characters whose relationship develops naturally. All the hot and heavy makeout scenes and underlying emotional growth in this book are likely the result of months and months of hedonistic indulgence as the author "researched" her book.

Theory #3: Brigid Kemmerer stole the prized guidebook on How to Write a Fun Paranormal Romance.
This highly coveted manual outlines how to introduce fascinating powers, nuanced characters, snappy, amusing dialogue, and highly entertaining plots. What's especially interesting about Spark is that Kemmerer mixes up some of the usual paranormal checkpoints so that the main character is denied his power and the romantic interest is unaware of his abilities for most of the book, so that the swoon-worthy romance and the brotherly relationships are what really carry this story through. The fact that the subject was able to write a fun and fluffy book that isn't shallow provides nearly irrevocable proof that the author has confiscated the very few copies of the guidebook that exist.

*Please note that these theories are yet unproven, but the testimony from countless readers is overwhelming authentication.

CONCLUSION: Subject must be captured at all costs and detained until the remaining Elemental books are finished, so test readers may go through the series as quickly as possible. It is absolutely vital that their exposure is limited to a short period of time. Failure to contain Kemmerer's growing popularity will result in untold damage to readers' health, work habits, and relationships as their rampant enthusiasm for her books will continue to override all common sense.

This review also appears in The Midnight Garden. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.


Brigid Kemmerer has offered to prove that her books are not detrimental to your health. She will send a copy of Spark with an inscribed message to one of our readers anywhere in the world. (And no, you don't necessarily have to have read the first book before reading this one.)

If you're interested in volunteering despite all of our attempts to convince you how much reading these books will affect your well-being, you may enter on the blog.

But don't say we didn't warn you.
Profile Image for Brigid.
Author 26 books15.2k followers
August 10, 2019
One of my most commonly asked questions about The Elemental Series is, "Who are the guys on your covers?!" Then it's almost always narrowed down to Gabriel/Nick. I've always had to say, "I have no idea."

Well, guess what? Today, the cover model for Nick/Gabriel sent me an email. He's actually a super nice guy. He's been chatting with readers on Twitter all evening, much to my delight. If you want to follow him, go for it: https://twitter.com/axeljordan_.

This is one of the most surreal things EVER. I just had to share.
Profile Image for Stacia (the 2010 club).
1,045 reviews3,982 followers
August 11, 2012
He appealed to the rage and fury, promising the fire it could bring the house down if those firemen escaped. Promising to help. Promising it would be fucking spectacular.

4.5 stars. I dedicate this review to my friend Carina. Without her, I would have never been motivated to continue on the path of bullying people into reading books. Throughout my GR career, you've all seen me go through a bunch of random names, but the most infamous one got its origins from dear Carina and a group of our friends who had a thing for the movie Mean Girls. While everyone else was claiming Regina George, I somehow ended up as Tina Fey's teacher character - The Pusher.

I've never been one to use gifs in my reviews but I had to make a one time exception for Ms. Fey because wtf to not being able to find a regular picture of this iconic scene!?!

Anyway, back on track. I've found a new series to get pushy about. Put away your sappy, angsty, recycled-plot YA books and get with this program. It's more fun over here. I will be pimping out these books every chance I get. The chain reaction that started over the past couple of weeks with one, then several friends of mine reading this series only got me more excited to want to talk about the books. This is going on my "must recommend" list for anyone who wants a new, fun, and fresh series to read.

Observations about book 2 in this crazy-good world of the Elementals :

The Mean Girls comparison should probably include guys in there somewhere. I'd be saying get me away from this school if half the population is out to torment someone! It makes for an interesting story, but I feel so sorry for these Merrick brothers and all of the obstacles they have to overcome.

I love how all of the characters' stories are intertwined. Each person has their own set of trials to overcome but they're all starting to work toward a place where they can lean on one another. Chris and Becca, Gabriel and Layne, and a couple of other people I can't mention to those who haven't read the book...their stories and personalities are all individual and unique.

These books make me smile. A lot. I think I read the first half with a perma-grin on my face. Action, romance, snappy comebacks...so much goodness. Yes, there are FIVE hot guys, each one equally yummy, but the story is about more than seeing how much we can drool over the sexiest set of brothers (and one extra) to come along oh in...forever? These characters actually do something with their powers - it isn't just a vanity aspect of the story. The idea of having Gabriel help rescue people from fires because of his ability to (somewhat) control fire was a brilliant spin on using his ability. I also appreciated that Layne and Simon were not the conventional types of characters. You'll have to read the book to see what I mean.

I did say I was smiling, 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.

Hunter and Gabriel : THE BROMANCE. I did not see that coming. Loved, loved, LOVED this turn of events. Btw...you really don't want to look up bromance on google images. I just saw an extremely disturbing pic of a naked Tim Tebow riding on top of Josh Daniels...why haven't we invented the power of "unsee" yet?

Michael, you sly dog, you... Enough said.

Nick - I want your story right now. I love vulnerable Nick. He's always skated by under the radar, I think. What Spark showed us was that just because he's known as the 'good' brother, this doesn't make him the one with a better life than everyone else. It was interesting to see how the dynamics of Nick's relationship with his twin Gabriel might be changing for the first time in their lives.

Nick's hand went over hers. "Gabriel will find us. He'll get us out."
"How?" she choked. "How do you know?"
"Because he always does."

The stakes have gotten higher. The powers are getting stronger and more people have become aware of what's going on. You know it's only going to get crazier from here on out.

Just read the series. Because I said so. And that's how I roll.

Profile Image for Brodie.
230 reviews223 followers
July 3, 2012
Is there anything hotter than a guy (half) in a fireman suit?


Turns out there is. GABRIEL MERRICK in a fireman suit. And a little ol' book called SPARK SPARK SPARK SPARK SPARK SPARK SQUEEEEEEEE!!!

And now that is out of the way....

Tensions are running at an all time high in the Merrick household and Gabriel is right at the centre of it. It was fascinating to read from his perspective this time, so different from Chris in Storm . His element is fire and that reflects on his personality type: explosive. Gabriel has a tendency to fly off the handle pretty quickly, but here we get to see the churning emotions behind his harsh words. He'll have you slapping your forehead in exasperation at times, when he's prone to acting ten seconds before he thinks, but you grow an understanding of why he is who he is. I love how Brigid explored the fire element and how it affects him. Gabriel clearly has a much tougher time with his powers than his brothers do. That's not to say they haven't their own set of issues, but fire is volatile and it's always craving power, needing to burn brighter. Gabriel's struggle to find an amount of control over it in Spark was unpredictable and exciting, just like the boy himself.

I was a ridiculous fangirl of Gabriel in Storm (oh, you noticed?!), so I had no doubt he would set my heart aflutter in Spark. But I'm not sure I was fully prepared for how much he would break it. Spark has claws. Sharp and unforgiving, they dig into Gabriel's heart and force him to face every dark demon he tries to keep buried. Guilt, anger, regret and unworthiness tear at him from the inside and all I wanted to do was hug the crap out of him (and then have someone hug the crap out of me). He WILL make you hurt, he WILL stab your heart with the strength of his pain and oh, I love it. I hate what it does to him, I hate seeing him break the way he does, but I LOVE the emotional angst! And even though it feels like the entire world is against him at times, I really think he needed this period in his life. To learn from it and grow. I love that we explore Michael and Gabriel's messy relationship. Things between them weren't always the best in Storm and while there is still plenty of tension in Spark, they're developing a tenuous truce which leads the way for some really touching moments. Gabriel also forms an unexpected friendship that had me giddy to see unfold from the minute it was hinted at! But it's with Nick, the most important relationship in his life, the one constant throughout it all, where cracks show that are devastating to read.

What I love about Gabriel and Layne (our leading lady and thief of Gabriel's heart) is that in ways, they are polar opposites. The brainy girl who flies under the radar, and the cocky, sporty guy who's not much of an academic. Yet once they enter orbits, they can't ignore the pull; the itch to scratch those outer layers and figure each other out. They have the ability to challenge and inspire, to push one another of their comfort zones for the better. They each battle their own issues; Gabriel with his turbulent emotions and trouble with the law, Layne with the ghosts of her past and her complicated family situation (I love her brother, Simon!), but united, they make a beautiful pair. Strengthened by their belief in one another, something no one else has really offered either of them before.

Spark is all about the fire... there's burning buildings and fiery emotions, but the heat also makes the romance ten times steamier. When Gabriel Merrick unleashes his sexy... goddamn, HE UNLEASHES HIS SEXY. Every moment between Gabriel and Layne is electric; whether they're arguing, skirting around one another or just letting all loose and fogging up your windows. It's HOT. And you're constantly left craving MORE.

I began to grow suspicious about part of the mystery midway through, but Brigid still had plenty of surprise in store for me by the end! I was not anticipating all of the reveal, nor the explanation behind it, and I'm really eager to explore this thread more in Spirit . Just like we saw in Storm, Spark is full of blazing emotion, pulse-pounding action and addictive mystery. Every chapter is so INTENSE and it's impossible to pull away, to not pay attention to a single sentence lest you miss a loaded gaze or clue that holds deeper meaning.

Brigid Kemmerer has injected something special into the YA world. She's given us a family of characters (whether by blood, love or friendship) that are so dynamic, so full of energy, that you're wishing you could know them in real life. And for every new chapter of their story, you fall deeper and deeper under their spell. Spark proves that Brigid is an author here for the long run. Storm was not a one-time hit, but just the beginning of a thrilling series that will still be sending us on a dizzying rollercoaster for years to come!
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,355 followers
August 26, 2012
In Storm we met four brothers, one friend, and a girl stuck dealing with them. In Spark, we get into the mind of one of these brothers: the reckless and unpredictable Gabriel. Hot like the fire that he's learning to control, we delve deeper into this rough-edged character who shows us the depth and insecurities inside his tough shell.

It took only a couple of sentences before I knew I was going to completely adore Gabriel. He was one character that we didn't get to know a whole lot in Storm, but I immediately felt like I understood him through and through. His character is incredibly complex, filled with grief and self doubt. Besides blaming himself for his parent's death, he's very self conscious of his lack of control on his element. I found him to be an extremely well-rounded and likeable character. His flaws make him who he is; a broken, yet kind and loving guy. I was happy to welcome his brothers back into my life, as well. The family dynamic is, again, one of the best traits of this series. They banter and fight, they disagree but ultimately stay loyal to each other. Each and every one of these guys are so particular with memorable personalities that mesh perfectly together. Even though we only get to see Gabriel's perspective out of all the brothers in this sequel, I still feel like I got to know each of them a bit more. Especially Michael who I'm hoping will get his very own POV in the future as he has quite the fascinating character arc - being the oldest sets him apart some. What we don't get in this installment is more on Chris and Becca. They are present, of course, but this book enters a completely different chapter where they're not front players.

A new character comes into play in Spark. Her name is Layne, and she's a bit... quirky. She's got secrets of her own to go with her inherent unconventional family. She gets her small share of perspective in this novel, letting us into her life and mind. I was attuned to her right away, curious about her hesitations while she's trying to figure Gabriel out. Together, they build a relationship that is true and profound. They seem to fit with each other perfectly; they simply make sense. It's not forced or hasty, it just is. Layne also introduces a whole new family dynamic where Brigid proves again her talent for building strong and true relationships, especially among siblings.

While getting to know Gabriel, we, in turn, get to concentrate on his element - Fire. Therefore, you will see a lot of heat, a lot of destruction, and a whole lot of intense moments. From heartwarming, to gut-wrenching, the emotions flowing from certain scenes in this book really emphasize the art that went into writing it. Not only is it extremely memorable, it shows us how invested we are in not just the main characters, not even just the side characters, but the story "extras" and all. This is how you bring a story to life.

Original, immensely character driven, and absolutely exciting, the Elemental series continues to wow me with the amount of life that shines through it. I strongly urge you to start this series STAT if you haven't already!

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
May 22, 2013

3.5 Maybe? I really enjoyed the ending so I'm rounding up.

I spent a good portion of this book floating somewhere between wanting to punch Gabriel Merrick in the face and wanting to hug him and bake him cookies. Our pyromaniac always has the ability to bring up the most strong feelings due to his personality being so unpredictable. In Storm, I down-right hated him because, let's be honest, he's a dick. But somehow in Spark I started feeling differently. Don't get me wrong, I still don't love Gabriel, but I don't hate him anymore either.

Spark reminds me another book I've recently that features an anti-hero as its love interest: The Collector . The biggest difference is that Gabriel already has a past for really not being very well-liked in Storm. So he has to overcome a reader's preconceived notions and I honestly didn't think I could like this guy, even a little, after his behavior in Storm. Having the story told from his point of view definitely helped the situation. I think if it had been told by another character, it's possible I would have still be on the fence with this guy. Or driven into a murderous rage.

Other than Gabriel, we are introduced to another character I wasn't too sure of at first: Layne. In the end, I came out liking her much better than I did Becca from Storm. I know that this book could easily read as The Player meeting The Virgin and changing his ways, because that does happen. That viewpoint is completely valid. But for me, I saw this as something a little more. This isn't you Edward/Bella situation. Layne is a strong character, albeit flawed, but she does something that other people, specifically girls, usually don't do when it comes to dealing with him. She challenges him when he's most vulnerable. And while she does admit early on that she is physically attracted to him, she doesn't put up with his bullshit...

 photo beautifuleyes_zps15f30531.gif

...or immediately buy into his charm.

In Spark, Gabriel is at a point in his life where he realizes that he and his twin brother, Nick, might not always be together. This becomes even more apparent when a fight leaves them on non-speaking terms for majority of the book. Without his twin by his side, he doesn't know who he is or what he wants to do with his life beyond high school. He's pushed his brothers away to the point where they don't even know how to handle him. To top it all off, he's struggling in school without Nick's help. He's alone.

Gabriel is a character who is used to having everything handed to him. Girls, good grades, sports. He's never really had to "work" for any of those things the way others have. But with Layne, it's an experience for him. He needs her help to pass math and ends up spending a lot of time with her. And she doesn't exactly make it easy for him. What made it interesting for me is how much they had in common personality-wise. They both are guarding secrets from their past, not used to letting anyone get close and both are very lonely. So for me, while Layne was the more unexperienced one when it came to relationships, I never felt any emphasis really place on that as being a reason for Gabriel's attraction.

And if Storm reminds me of Four Brothers , than Spark is She's All Thatexcept there's no bet (another favorite movie of mine, by the way). Layne is the unpopular girl who gets bullied by the other kids and Queen Bee, Taylor (hey, same name as the lead bully from She's All That). There's even a scene where Layne is tricked into attending a party and the bullies humiliate her there. There's no wine being poured down her dress, but she is sexually assaulted (groped by a dude while others get it on camera). I didn't really care for the part for the same reasons why Becca's almost rape scene bothered me. I don't like it used as a plot device. Replace Layne with a male character and it would have been an entirely different prank, but because she is a female, the prank *has* to do with her sexuality in some way. \(-_-)/

***Time Out***

Why are all the lead female characters sexually assaulted? First Becca and now Layne. And if they aren't, then some type of emphasis is placed on their appearance.  Becca's best friend Quinn is regularly teased by Gabriel for being "chubby." And even Taylor, the bully, is insulted as "looking like a prostitute" by Layne. I'm starting to notice a trend here...

***Time In***

But one really positive thing I can say about Spark is that the writing felt noticeably stronger than Storm. I had no problem adjusting the Kemmerer's writing style and I enjoyed it much more this time around. The dialogue also was an improvement to me. That's not to say it was terrible in Storm, but it was funnier in Spark. Gabriel is a bonafide smartass and his personality clearly came in loud and clear. But I just love how there is someone time enough for his little remarks.
"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 asshole. Guess we were both right."

"Were you bluffing about getting out?"
Gabriel grabbed the door handle. When he was standing in the grit and rubble of the shoulder, feeling the rain trail down his collar, he hesitated before closing the door. "You know I don't even have a phone."
"Would now be a bad time for a joke about smoke signals?"
"Fuck you."

Truly, it was never a dull moment from Gabriel Merrick's point of view.

All in all, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Spark considering my reservations of its leading man. But that last 25%! GAH! It'll be very interesting to see where this story goes next. Very interesting indeed.

A Finished copy was provided by K-Teen as apart of the Spirit Blog Tour, hosted by The Midnight Garden. No monies or favors were exchanged for a positive review. 

More reviews and other fantastical things at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.


Are you ready for round two of the Elemental Read Along?! Join Jen and I as we read Spark. Then head over to Jen's review to discuss on May 12th!
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,921 followers
August 27, 2012
Brigid Kemmerer is one of those rare few authors who know exactly what their readers want. She surprised us with Storm by giving us a solid world filled with complex characters and a plot that kept us on the edge of our seats, but in Spark, she took this a step (or three) further and showed a profound understanding of human nature and readiness to explore the more vulnerable side of her characters.

And who better to bare his heart than the gorgeous and daredevilish Gabriel Merrick? While I truly enjoyed Chris in Storm, he was simply too young and his problems too childish for me to relate to. But Gabriel’s troubles are a whole different story. Really, who of us has never been rejected or felt completely alone, even in a crowded room, even among family? Gabriel is crippled by guilt over their parents’ deaths, he feels responsible for their current situation, and, even though it’s never discussed or admitted, I believe he refuses to form a connection with Michael because he feels guilty for basically stealing Michael’s life.
You’d expect strong and complicated emotions from someone who controls fire, and you’d be right: Gabriel is explosive by nature, he often acts (defensively) first and thinks it through later, but in Spark, he slowly learns to control that side of him just as he learns to control his element.

Even when I disliked one of the characters (I’ll never be Layne’s biggest fan, I’m afraid), I always understood why they behaved the way they did. For example, Layne’s relationship with her father was incredibly frustrating and difficult to read about, but I never blamed her for not being able to stand up to him, and when she stopped her brother from doing the same for fear of driving their father away, it really broke my heart in two.

Once again, Michael Merrick really stood out for me. He is quiet and remains mostly in the background, but the sacrifices he’s made are revealed constantly through other characters. One of Gabriel’s stories about their parents’ death really showed how much pain and pride Michael swallowed for Gabriel, Nick and Chris. He was so young when he started taking care of everyone, but no one was there to comfort him. (I totally would. Yes, I would… Shut up, brain!)

With Spark, Brigid Kemmerer showed incredible potential and great imagination. I hope she’ll keep listening to both her readers and her characters, because what she’s been doing so far works. I need more, please.
Profile Image for Ari.
940 reviews1,314 followers
March 20, 2015
4.5 stars.. Well, it seems like this series gets better with every book :D

For some reason I couldn't put this series down and if i had the next one too, I would definitely go for it this very moment. Yes you can see a whole new star over there, this means that I loved this better and that I agree with all the people that told me this story was worth reading.


Spark was quite emotional, and it kept me on the edge all the time. There were laugh out-loud moments, and heartbreaking ones, there was penty of action and the characters started to grow on me with every page, and I loved to see them gain more control over their powers.
I didn't expect Gabriel's power to be so consuming, but this guy was really set on fire (in more than one way)..

The main male character.
Gabriel is like fire, hot like hell but you also know what happens if you play with fire, right? I knew there should be more behind his anger and off course I was right.
There was so much tension between him and Michael, and I loved how they got to talk, to get to understand each other at least a bit more.
It was infuriating to see how Gabriel just didn't tell the truth that would've made this all so much simpler, but I understand how much it must hurt for his own family not to trust him.
Also, his relationship with his twin brother, Nick, was heartbreaking. They've been so close, so the distance growning between them was now palpable and shaterring.

She is really great - So different from Gabriel, but also so perfect for him: she sees through him and he sees through her and they simply match.
I liked how slowly their relations started, but still so hot and cold. I liked their notes (idea from the first book), I liked it when they really talked and started to know each other, well, I pretty much liked everything about them and every moment they had together. And there was no love triangle for God's sake, because who the hell needs them? (Also the moments with her father were extremely funny, as infuriating as they also were - nope, I won't spoil this for you)

I liked how close Layne was to her little brother and how Gabriel cared for him too. I liked how he helped this boy, how he defended him. Simon was so good at sports (even with his disability) that I thought he might have a power too. Well, I guess there is still time for that.

Not sure why but since the beginning the was something about him that kept me on edge. With a book written from his POV and a novella pending, I guess he will always be the good guy, but I still can't make myself trust him.
But anyways, I like the friendship between him and Gabriel, and I liked the fact that he got past the feelings he had for Becka, or so it seems.


I couldn't really explain it.
There were some things lacking, like the bad guys from Storm - shouldn't there be others like them? All the sudden the comunity left them alone, and it made the whole hate from the first book seem somehow silly and less important.

Also, I don't get the guide thingy... How could so many bad things start and no one would come clean this mess. I am on their side (don't get me wrong) and i don't want them to get hurt, but it seems unalistic, even with the one guide really being there.

The bad characters - I am not sure if they have a good reason for what they did. I am not talking about the one with paranormal poweres, but if i tell more I'll ruin the surprise element in the story. Anyways it felt forced.

The guilt - this was the one thing that wasn't touched enough in the story. Gabriel should feel more for his parents' death and maybe it shows in the way he acts, in his anger but it was never enough.


Hmm... Now I am less sure about the half star, but I really loved this story. It was absolutely awesome and I can't wait for the next one, even though Hunter is not my favorite character. I would have preferred Nick to be the narator, but at least we will get a novella from his POV.

Happy midnight reading!

* This review can also be found at ReadingAfterMidnight.com
**Book source: Advanced copy received from the publisher. Thank you!

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Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,883 reviews5,801 followers
September 11, 2016
Attention everyone! If you aren't reading the "Elemental" series, stop what you are doing and buy it now!! I swear they get better and better! You'll thank me, I promise!

If you are a fan of awesome YA paranormal/urban fantasy, you must be reading this series. MUST. Put down that crappy book that you have been trying to get through and buy this one. No overdone, seen-100-times-before story-lines here! Brigid Kemmerer's writing is just so on point and fresh. And excuse the obvious, but she was just ON FIRE with this one!

I liked this so much more than Storm, the first in the series. Gabriel was perfect, sort of the quintessential misunderstood bad-boy hero. It was angsty without being too much, and sweet without being sappy. The romance element of this book was executed to a T. I loved it, I loved it, I loved it!

The relationship between Hunter and Gabriel was also great to watch. They had this wonderfully complex friendship that felt tenuous and important. And the dynamic between Gabriel and Nick (his twin) was also fascinating. I love how this author doesn't leave the other Merrick family members in the dust. Each Merrick boy is included and important in every story.

I think one of the coolest aspects of this story is that it actually felt like "fire", Gabriel's element. It was heated, with high emotions and a fast pace, and I just got an overwhelming sense of the energy of "fire" while I was reading this book. I think the author did a fantastic job of getting us into Gabriel's mind and mood.

I'm so so pleased with the trajectory of this series. I hope it goes on and on and on and this author never stops writing.
Profile Image for Sarah (saz101).
192 reviews151 followers
July 10, 2012
There’s no denying Brigid Kemmerer took the blogosphere by, well, ’storm’ earlier this year with her debut novel, so it comes as little surprise her sophomore release, Spark, is just as incendiary. So, now I’m satisfied it’s not possible to include any additional puns in this paragraph, let’s talk about what makes Spark so damn good.

The Story:
It's never been more dangerous to be an Elemental. 'Gifted' with the ability to control fire, Gabriel Merrick is explosive as his element, and after recent attacks on his family by 'Guides'—the body that governs elementals, and executes full-blooded ones like Gabriel and his three brothers—it feels like his ability to hold it together is more tenuous than ever. The fact that he’s failing his classes and has been caught out for cheating is just one more step towards breaking, not to mention the recent spate of torched homes, and that the fire department seems to think he's a suspect.

Then along comes Layne. A quiet, shy, brainiac, Gabriel’s sat next to her in calculus for ages, but it’s only now that he notices her. Well, Layne’s sure noticed him, and as she helps him with his study, the two can’t deny the chemistry they share. While Layne has dark, painful secrets of her own, Gabriel’s may just get them both killed...

My Thoughts:
Picking up where Storm left off, Brigid wastes no time jumping straight into the action. The familiar rhythm of her prose returns, as does her razor sharp dialogue and humour. But rather than Storm’s narrators, Chris Merrick and Becca Chandler, Spark introduces readers to two new protagonists: a shy, brainy woman named Layne, and someone they already know: Gabriel Merrick.

It’s more dangerous than ever to be an Elemental, but Gabriel Merrick has a knack for playing with fire. It’s Gabriel who proves Spark's’s biggest surprise. An easy fan-favourite in Storm, despite his initially callous treatment of its protagonist, Gabriel is very different to the abrasive, cocky jock readers may think they already know. There is a lot more to Gabriel Merrick than meets the eye, and indeed more than he himself may recognise. The jock façade is hiding a raging inferno of pain, self-doubt and loneliness. In many ways, it’s these qualities that connect him with Layne, as well as building a difficult roadblock to what develops between them.

Layne, like Gabriel, hides a past of secrets and hurt, but while she is quiet and shy, she is certainly not meek. Layne has an inner-core of steel and a quiet strength, but she is not perfect—far from it. While she is selfless with those she loves, she is prone to defensiveness, slow to trust and cagey, but it only serves to render her more relateable and sympathetic.

In Storm, Brigid demonstrated an extraordinary talent for building a world and populating it with characters who felt real. From her pitch-perfect Merrick brothers, to the damaged but sweet Becca, there is an authenticity to her characters, and their stories, and it is no less present in Spark. Again, Brigid takes a cold hard look at bullying in its many forms, and at the helpless fury and hopelessness it creates in its victims. She examines pain, grief and isolation, but never in a melodramatic or overwrought fashion. Allowing actions to speak for themselves, Kemmerer presents a world with life how it is: beautiful and ugly, just and unfair, filled with terrible wrongs and rights. Gabriel and Layne are not perfect, nor are those they love, but they are human and eminently likable characters. Even at their darkest moments, they elicit undeniable empathy at the tip of Kemmerer’s pen. And that’s not even mentioning what else they elicit in their thrilling, sizzling-hot scenes together. The chemistry the couple share is electrifying, and readers looking for even more heat from a book filled with fires will be far from dissapointed.

As in Storm, at the heart of Spark are the Merrick brothers. But recent events have left raw nerves and short tempers, and we see a more combustible side to the family, as well as deepening bonds between the growing cast of secondary characters. Readers of Storm would have seen identical twins Nick and Gabriel as two halves of a whole, and there’s a palpable aching as a rift drives them apart in Spark.

While it would be easy for Kemmerer to have written a book purely focused on and driven by the paranormal, she never takes this path, and it’s one of her Elemental series’ greatest strengths: Brigid does not write about the supernatural, she writes about, people. Paranormal abilities do not serve to make her players more magnetic or romantic; rather, they are challenges. She does not romanticise great power, but examines its cost, its responsibilities. Indeed, the Elemental series reads less like teen-vampire dramas, and more like gritty contemporaries.

The Verdict:
Readers who fell in love with Storm with be thrilled by this explosive sequel. Spark delivers on all fronts: action, a sizzling-hot romance, and yes, hot boys are all there, but there is more. Spark, like Storm, has heart. It has a human sensibility to its supernatural elements, and it is these, perfectly balanced with riveting story and flawless pacing that combine to make another compulsively readable offering from its talented author. Brigid Kemmerer delivers again: big time.
Profile Image for Maida»-(¯`v´¯)-».
1,737 reviews431 followers
August 30, 2012
THIS WAS SUPERFANTABULOUS!!!! I don't even know where to begin describing my feelings! I thought Storm was incredible......*shaking head*......Gabriel just up and ran away with my heart! Spark blew me away......like seriously...out of the ball park, blew me away! It was simply amazing! Ms. Kemmerer you are totally, hands down and undeniably my 2012 girl crush! :D Woman, I just freakin LOVE YOU!


****First and foremost, I would like to thank Brigid Kemmerer for providing me with a copy of her book for review! I wouldn’t have melted into a puddle of goo without you! So, thank you!****


I’m weak in the knees, delirious from too much hotness in one book, drooling like a clown on crack over Gabriel Merrick and I think I might have passed out at some point too!

After reading Spark, this is the only...and I repeat only conclusion I have drawn:

*raises right hand* I solemnly swear on the unfairness of all hot guys being fictional that Spark will drown you in emotions and all it’s greatness! It is hazardous to your health. Proceed at your own risk.

And now that is out of the way....

Where do I even begin with this book?? I’m flying in the clouds from all my giddiness over Spark! It was just ridonculously hot - (pun intended ;)! I fell in love all over again with the world Ms. Kemmerer has created and with the Merrick brothers. It had everything, I had hoped the sequel to an amazing book like Storm would have and much more. There was action, mystery, suspense, thrill, deep emotions beyond belief, humor and scorching romance - adding up to one fantastic and addicting story! Storm left me speechless and blown away but Spark did all that and had my heart beating a mile a minute too! I just couldn’t put it down! :D

Spark picks up where Storm left off. Ms. Kemmerer doesn’t hesitate to plunge her readers into the action and I really enjoyed that. The story gets you completely hooked from page one. I was anticipating what would happen next after every chapter I finished...but still could not contain my gasp of surprise with all the unexpected twists and turns! The storyline was thrilling and I enjoyed it very much!

One of the most noticeable things about Ms. Kemmerer’s writing is the facts underlying the characters and relationships. In Spark, there was a lot of depth to the characters’ feelings which made them all the more realistic. I had no trouble connecting with Becca or even Gabriel, and I was very sympathetic with all that they are going through. But what I really enjoy about this series is the fact that Ms. Kemmerer’s characters’ emotional problems don’t all focus around the supernatural but are teenage issues. I love that!

I loved Gabriel in Storm, and to have his perspective in Spark was a dream come true! I am officially...Gabriel Merrick’s personal pimp! I was prepared for a tough bad boy with a tendency to spout off snarky remarks, but man, I was NOT prepared for a vulnerable Gabriel Merrick. Gabriel goes through so much in this book that I just wanted to give him a big teddy bear squeeze. You understand Gabriel’s reasons behind his impulsive and reckless behaviour and I just cried for his loneliness. D: I felt ALL of his emotions and all that emotional angst...it felt as if my heart was being ripped out of me. But he learns to deal with his emotions, problems, and element, and I loved his strength to keep trying despite being blamed for things he didn’t do and his brothers “against him”! Not to mention that he is sex on two legs...kinda makes him hard to resist! *fans self* I had no doubt that Gabriel would make my heart flutter....and boy did he ever!

As for Layne....she is the polar opposite of Gabriel. Shy, quiet, responsible and nerdy. But she also carried a lot of emotional baggage, the kind that makes your heart hurt and makes your eyes blur with tears. Despite being opposites, the one thing they both shared were their insecurities and in the end they were just perfect for each other. What I loved most about Layne was her compassion to help Gabriel despite him being a jerk-face. She saw through his tough facade, and truly understood him. They were beautiful together, and they believed in each other - which was what got them through all the shit in their lives. Another inspiring quality about Layne was her constant support of her brother Simon. I loved how she always took care of him. She was adorable and I LOVED HER!!

Then the relationship....that was just fiery! HOT DAMN! Gabriel and Layne together with their emotions all thrown in the mix, the romance was sky rocketing through the roof! It was steamy, sexy, scorching and just simply electrifying. From their witty and snarky remarks to their passionate kisses, Gabriel and Layne will have you biting your knuckles and wishing you were sitting under a cold shower! It was that HOT! And you just can’t help but want more! *fanning self*

The other characters were all there as well. Hunter was an unlikely ally and I was cheering him on for being there for Gabriel. As for Nicky..well..I was aching with all that was happening between him and Gabriel, but was touched by their strong bond. The one thing, I’m not sure about anymore is Nick’s relationship with Quinn. I did like her in Storm but I just don’t see them together anymore. But, I’m still keeping an open mind. Now, the award......goes to Michael! He was like an angel in the hell of Gabriel’s life. I loved how his relationship with Gabriel improves like a million times over....so kudos to you Michael for not being an ass-hat but being a true brother! :D

Overall, Brigid you have totally won my heart! You have given the YA fans something beyond imaginable - a riveting and engaging series! Spark was full of emotion, heart pounding action, thrilling mystery and panty melting romance! The way Ms. Kemmerer writes, every chapter was sensational and it was impossible to put down! The wonderful characters will enthrall you and pull you into their world...and you wont want to leave anytime soon! I definitely recommend this to all YA fans, and if you enjoyed Storm, you will love and lust after Spark. Brigid Kemmerer, don’t you dare stop writing this amazing series! I can’t wait to get my hands on Spirit next! Simply phenomenal!

And for all those who haven't read this series yet, I don't give two shakes of a rat’s ass, what you are doing...GET UP AND GO GET THE BOOK NOW! Okay, I'm done...*sweet smile*

This review is also posted at Literary Love Affair
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,910 reviews852 followers
October 12, 2012

By now you’ve probably seen lot of reviews out there for Spark, raving about the SERIOUSLY HOT BOYS. Well that’s certainly no exaggeration, there are four, and they ARE hot. But the draw for these stories is much more than that. The Elemental series is seriously cool with all of the Merrick brothers able to harness and control a different element: fire, water, air, earth. These boys are each a hero in their own right, yes, even cocky Gabriel, just waiting for the opportunity to get out.

Spark centers on Gabriel, the hot-head twin of the Merrick brothers. Nick, the other half is the “good twin”: a whiz at school, kind to others and never gets into trouble. Gabriel is basically the exact opposite. He’s got a quick temper, always pushing limits, and he’s about to fail math, which is where Layne comes in.

In math class, Layne sits right in front of Gabriel, and has always noticed him. She wonders what it would be like for Gabriel to notice a girl like her, and she’s about to find out. Layne dresses conservative in turtle necks, jeans, braided hair, and glasses. Definitely not the type Gabriel usually notices.

The action and abilities of the Merrick boys is really fun to read about, but my favorite part of this story was the romance. No surprise for anyone who knows me! I loved the slow build between Layne and Gabriel. It was nice to see that Gabriel fell for Layne just the way she was, not because of some complete makeover that is a common device in romance novels. Instead, what captured his attention was her unexpected kindness. When he actually started looking at her, though, he realized even without the trendy, showy clothes, and perfectly applied makeup and styled hair, she was a beauty through and through. Oh this romance is SO sweet and there are so many swoony moments and scenes *sigh*. Here’s one to tempt you:

”Do you want me to let you go?----She closed her eyes and nodded. A hesitation, and then, “I think you’re lying.” She was. But in what freakish world would a guy like Gabriel Merrick be standing with her in the dark, sharing kisses and secrets? He closed the space between them again, until the line of his body just brushed her. She couldn’t breathe. “Do you want me to let you go?” he said again. She swallowed. “No.”

Oh my!

Gabriel is still a little rough around the edges, that boy needs to get a handle on his temper! I wanted to shake him a few times because of it! But it stems mostly from feeling misunderstood and hurt by others, so I couldn’t help but give him a pass. He’s always felt like the worthless screw-up next to his brother, Nick. Layne recognizes Gabriel’s triggers and is good for him, just as he’s good for her. Layne has her own issues because of troubles at home. Plus, who doesn’t fall for a guy who sticks up for the bullied? Simon, Layne’s little brother is hearing impaired and Gabriel is so wonderful with him! Be still my heart!

So take it from me. Pick this up sooner, rather than later! You’re bound to have a good time.

Thank you to Kensington and Netgalley for allowing me to read this.
Profile Image for Jessica Buwalda.
331 reviews92 followers
June 8, 2012
Holy baby jesus. I can’t believe I got my hands on an ARC of this bad boy. I think my knees may have given way when I realized that I had it. I may have snapped out of it and started doing the cancan for good measure then raced over to the lounger and clicked on the power to my beautiful KOBO.
For any one out there that has a KOBO and downloaded a book in PDF format onto it they understand my pain when I say usually it prevents you from reading the book until you can find it in some other source.
Well, obviously I was desperate because I thought, “screw this business” and read it anyway. Hardships and all.
FYI, there is always something good in getting an ARC. But, there is also something bad in getting an ARC of a series. My reason behind this is love this series. I finished Spark and turned the pages for the ‘sneak peak’ of Spirit and read the couple of pages that were there and when I flipped the page and saw a blank one I realized “Crap. Now I have to wait until May of 2013 to read the rest of it. That’s 10 MONTHS away.” It makes me want to take a cold shower fully clothed and rock in the corner while crying. That is the only bad thing about receiving an ARC of a book in a series.
But then again I guess I have to two that I re-read and snuggle with at night until the third one comes out.
Yeah. I will just dream about Chris, and Gabriel. Hell, Nicky too. Oh alright I think I have room to dream about Michael too. Well might as well throw Hunter in there too especially since my mind will be filled with him when the next one is released. Jeeze these boys are going to take up some of my mind space. Oh!! And there’s still Fearless (Elementals #1.5) Hehehehe.
The first book was about Chris and Becca, and now we get Gabriel and Layne. And they are a whole other bowl of coco puff trouble. In the first book Gabriel was a jerk, but defended people when he got to know them. Well…he still is a major jerk in this novel. But you learn everything that’s behind his anger. I mean can you blame him for being angry and guilt ridden after everything that has happened with his parents and Nick?
Oh Gabriel. I cried for you. I also lusted for you and your firey hot skin. And every time you opened your mouth and the inevitable garbage came spewing out I thought, “Why Gabriel. Why? I know you’re one of those big teddy bears you win at the fair. Come on. I know it.” But, can you blame him? His element is fire. Its not exactly easy to control fire, not to mention he would have to be around it all the time in large amount to learn how to control it and it’s not like he can run around setting things on fire in large quatities. And we realize that his element actually scares him. You finally get your hands on a completely different Gabriel, the one that he hides under all his angst, anger, and loneliness. But I guess that is where Layne comes in. They push each other and it made me freakin’ smile like a jackal. And then there is everything that happens with Michael and him. And well you would think they were brothers. There was some Kodak moments there. Hehehehe.
Gabriel: HHAAWWWTT. Obviously. So are his brothers. But there is a hero in their just wanting to be in his element and rise up. This is the guy who beats up his fellow teammates seconds after learning they did something bad to a girl. I do have to question how he can leave so many bloody faces and not get arrested…well for assault I should say.
Layne: She’s cool! We finally get a nerd in the bunch! AND who would have thought that the butt ogling Mr. Jock of the brothers would be the one to take notice. Fist pump to all the nerdy girls who love to read and have glasses.
Simon: He is one cool guy. I have mad respect for not letting this get in his way of enjoying life.
Michael: I just want to kiss you out of sheer happiness. You rock in this book. Glad you took the ass-hat cap off and put on the big brother cap instead.
I miss Chris. Oh, Chris. You will always been the first Merrick brother I loved. Let face it the first book Hunter got in the way of Chris and Becca, and I was hoping that we would get some Chris and Becca in this book. We did…a little, but not enough. I demand another book…with Chris and Becca. Ou! A fourth book in the series? Yes please! And another, maybe with Nicky? I can see all the people out there closing their eyes and being tight lipped while nodding their heads in complete agreement.
Overall (Writing style, story line, and general):
Overall I love Brigid’s writing. I love her characters that are so full of depth. I absolutely love how I thought Gabriel was going to make one choice that was completely Gabriel and then surprised to find that he choose something else. I cried, I felt the pain in my heart when I realized how lonely Gabriel was. No other one has the difficulties like he does with his elemental. All other elements are not naturally dangerous. My Brigid Kemmerer brings across the pain and guilt and every other emotion that is wrapped up inside Gabriel Merrick with what seems like ease. The book surrounds you with emotion and you can picture everything perfectly. I never once thought I had read something wrong or couldn’t understand were the character was coming from. Brigid Kemmerer has created people in her stories that you could believe actually existed. That is how freaky good she is.

View more of my review and others at my blog: www.mynotsovacantshelf.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Irina Elena.
677 reviews170 followers
October 24, 2013
Wow. No snark for this one; I've only got praise.

It took me (much) less than 12 hours to read this one - and that includes eating, sleeping and convincing a bunch of people to just stop talking to me already. Just to give you an idea of how much I liked it.

If I had a favourites shelf - which I don't because my favourite books change with the weather - this would go straight in there.

Much more intense and mature than the first book and novellas in the Elemental series, this one perfectly captured all the anger, frustration, loneliness and pent-up energy of adolescence - and what better element to express them than fire?
Gabriel is much more complex and vulnerable than I'd expected. In the first parts of the series we only got to see him through the eyes of other characters, to whom he seems more of an arrogant jackass than anything else. Now, delving into his own thoughts and feelings for the first time, I got to see how much pain and self-blame he's enduring, and my heart broke for him. He is, officially, one of the best written male teenagers I've ever encountered in any book. I'm being serious here. It's not just that he's hot and snarky and just plain fun - although, well, yeah.

All of the characters in this book are well-rounded, fully developed and complex, and each of them has specific problems and thoughts and expectations and ways of coping with what life and people throw at them.
Their lives intersect and influence each other continuously, just the way it happens irl, and the process was masterfully rendered in all its nuances.
As if that weren't enought, I got to delve even deeper into the Merrick brothers' relationship and see how deeply each of them affects the others, how they hurt and help each other, how they love each other so much that I'm reminded of why I always wanted siblings.
The more complex character dynamics don't only show within the Merrick family, but also between other characters like Layne, Simon, Becca's father and Hunter. I know I haven't been nice to him in the past: I thought he was creepy and dishonest and weird and he kind of freaked me out. Well, nevermind all that. He's awesome. He's a loyal friend, a scarred boy and a scheming bastard. I can't wait to read his story. And Nick's. And Michael's. Can I have more after these?
One more point in this series' favour is that each book concentrates on one love story, but its happenings involve all the characters around the two MCs, so each novel ends up being a choral story.

The romance: will you just look at that? A pnr YA het romance is what this is, and I loved it.
We have the not-very-original couple of 1 girl with stone walls around her, keeping her distance from everyone and particularly from her love interest + 1 bad boy showing his vulnerable side for the first time but without much hesitation because he knows she's the one = magic stuff. Because it was done realistically and it was explored deeply, so I believed it and loved it.
The fact that there was no useless angsting and wondering about the supernatural element helped a lot. That, in its turn, was helped by some, er, particular circumstances that made the situation pretty clear to Layne - hey, I'm trying not to spoil here, okay? That's a deus ex machina I despised, but really, it's buried under so much awesomeness and perfection that I just left it hidden down there. Layne herself is a wonderful character and I even loved her insecurities, because they were coupled with great strengths and because they weren't there just for their own sake, but to show what she'd been through.
Both she and Gabriel grew all throughout the book, thanks to each other and to other characters, and the love story was all the more believable because of that.

In short, everything here was more mature, intense, complex and visually powerful than the previous books - as if the author had suddenly had a writerly growth spurt - yet showed the teenage... world? Yeah, let's sound like a children's book critic - with laser-like precision.
Then there was the suspense - I was literally on the edge of my seat. I never do that. I'm usually lying down when I read, but at one point I was just walking around with my phone in a death grip because my ereader was dead (I always notice these things at the last possible minute) and I could not stop reading there.
And then there were scenes like this one:
Layne wanted to be brave. She wanted to be optimistic.
But she started crying anyway.
Nick's hand went over hers.
"Gabriel will find us. He'll get us out."
"How?" she choked. "How do you know?"
"Because he always does."

... that you probably won't even get because you have no idea what's going on, but I was just this tight little trembling ball of emotion.


*laughs* Okay, don't panic; there are some coherent, complete and comprehensible reviews of this book to be found on the Internet. I'll save you the work and send you here.
Forgive me, I've just woken up and I just had this mess of a review bubbling in my brain. I hope it conveyed all my love and awe.
Profile Image for Mary-ellen.
337 reviews28 followers
March 9, 2019
This is the second book in Brigid Kemmerer’s YA PNR series, Elemental.

It was much better than the first book. This one focuses on Gabriel Merrick, who was so angsty in book 1, I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy this, but I ended up loving it. Getting inside Gabriel’s head gives a much better understanding of why he is the way he is and some of the choices he makes. Here he is a flawed but likeable character on a roller coaster of action, frustrations and misunderstandings. The romance is sweet and we get to see all the characters from book 1.

I’ll definitely be reading on.
Profile Image for starryeyedjen.
1,666 reviews1,231 followers
May 10, 2013
We're no longer Elemental virgins, but that doesn't mean the fun has to stop! As part of the Spirit Blog Tour hosted by The Midnight Garden, Steph and I will be reading Spark for the next two weeks, so if you're still swooning over the Merrick boys with us, be sure to stop back here on May 12th to discuss! And if you had no restraint and tore through all the books already, we'd still love to hear from you. ;0) And if you're just joining us, check out the Elementals Read Along sign up post for more details!

And don't forget, I'm giving away a SIGNED set of the first three Elementals books at the end of the read along! Bonus entries for reviewing each book!

Elementals Read Along


*This review contains mild spoilers for Storm, the previous book in the Elementals series.*

**You do not have to read Storm to read this book. But I'd recommend it.  ;0)**

How very fitting that the brother with the shortest fuse is the one who controls fire?  I've jokingly been called a pyromaniac in the past, but I've got nothing on Gabriel.  And from what I've read so far, neither do any of his brothers!  ;0)

Chris's story in Storm was pretty great, but I found the moments featuring Gabriel to be the funniest...and some of my favorites, when he wasn't acting like a complete douche.  I knew there had to be some underlying reason for said douchiness because no one can harbor that much resentment without some basis for those feelings.  And there is.  Gabriel's temper stems from his own anger toward himself.  But instead of doing something about it, he turns it outward and takes all of his frustration out on his family.  It's a defense mechanism, and a pretty effective one at that.

I realize that some readers felt his character was chauvinistic and that he objectifies women based on comments made to or about Becca in the first book.  And, sure, he jumped to conclusions or made undue assumptions about her character without knowing her or any of the facts.  But he owns up to it.  He makes no excuses for his behavior and jumps to Becca's defense when he realizes he was wrong.  I knew he had it in him.

And, apparently, so did Layne.  She's the shy, studious girl that Gabriel's never even given a second look to...until one day when he needs to borrow a pencil.  This innocent gesture is a catalyst, a vehicle that brings about significant change in both of their lives.  But it takes them awhile to figure that part out.  I loved reading as they pulled back the layers, discovering each other's complexities and flaws.  Brigid Kemmerer writes about some seriously hot guys, but she also writes multifaceted characters that tug at your heartstrings with their sincerity and rub you the wrong way with their brazenness.

And then there are the powers she's given these kids.  And they actually use them!  Gabriel even talks to his element, convinces it to burn more intensely or pushes it back when it becomes too destructive.  It's all very entertaining.  But never more so than when Hunter decides they should be their own fire-fighting duo and save innocents from the arsonist who is plaguing their town at the moment.

That bromance between Gabriel and Hunter was so unexpected but sooo appreciated.  Gabriel feels like his family is against him at every turn, and Hunter's kind of the outcast of the group, having been spurned by Becca in favor of Chris.  (Okay, okay...maybe spurned is unfair...he was lying about who he was and that's hard to come back from.)  Anyway, it makes sense for them to become friends, and even though I didn't see it coming, I'm so glad for it.

I had so much fun while reading this book.  I swear there was a slap-happy grin plastered on my face the entire time I was reading.  I know the series isn't finished yet, and I don't want to take attention away from the other guys, but I think Spark just may go down as my favorite, with Gabriel being my favorite Elemental.  That said, I do have a soft spot for Hunter, and I don't really feel like I know Nick well enough to really judge him yet.  But look at all the pages I marked with favorite scenes or quotes!  I think it's pretty obvious I enjoyed this story quite a bit.

Favorite Quotes:

     “I can get my things,” said Gabriel.
     “I'm not letting you out of my sight.”
     Layne was caught between them, flustered. She was nearly wringing her hands. “Dad, it's not--”
     His eyes cut to Layne. “Now, Layne.”
     She swallowed and slinked past him into the living room.
     “Don't forget my box of condoms,” called Gabriel.

     Hunter sighed and gave him a look. “Come on, baby, don't be like that. Did you pack your midol?”
     “All right, all right.” Gabriel climbed out of the car, slamming the door behind him. “I don't even know why I like you.”

     She scowled out at the parking lot. “So is this like your place?”
     “My place?”
     “Where you bring girls.”
     “Yes. I bring girls to this run-down parking lot all the time.” He gestured with his cup. “I have a sign-up sheet nailed to that tree. Now that you mention it”--he glanced at his watch--“we should probably wrap this up.”

     But then Chris reappeared. He threw a glance at the wall that separated the lockers from the shower room. “Who's his sister?”
     Gabriel looked back in his bag and kept his voice nonchalant. “Just a girl in my math class.”
     “Just a girl, huh?”
     Gabriel glared at him. “Just a girl.”
     Chris smiled. “So was Becca.”

Thanks to Kensington for providing a copy for review! And thanks to The Midnight Garden for having me on the tour!

This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.
Profile Image for ~Tina~.
1,092 reviews159 followers
June 5, 2012
(4.5 stars)

After reading Storm, I couldn't help think how badly I wanted the next book already. So it was pretty funny and shocking to find this on Negalley. I didn't expect to read these books back to back, so to say I was pretty excited would be a huge understatement.

When I first read the blurb for Spark, I was eager to dive in to Gabriel's story since he seemed the most conflicted of the brothers, plus his power is fire so ya know it's gonna be good. But I was also slightly disappointed since I wanted to see Chris and Becca's relationship play out through their point of views since we barley got to see it in Storm. Becca and Hunter, we got plenty of, which was a good thing, but Chris and Becca? Not so much which was a crying shame since I was rooting for him just as hard. I would have liked to see their story continue for at least one more book, but at last, this is Gabriel's story, so, moving on....

Spark is a fiery and fierce sequel to the Elemental series. I'm not gonna lie, Gabriel is a hard character to like at times. He obviously has a lot of unresolved issues when it comes to his powers. He feels powerful and powerless at the same time. He's a runner and blames himself for almost everything. He has a really crappy attitude, he needed to calm the hell down throughout most of the book and the things he says and does were pretty cringe worthy stuff. In my experience with reading books, I find it easy to fall for the rebel, the bad guy, the underdog, but Gabriel makes the reader really work for it. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, in fact that's what I like the most about Gabriel and his brothers. They have these kick-ass powers, something supernatural, but they're still very much human. With human emotions and issues and baggage. They get their ass handed to them in spades and they even have to fight to get the girl. I can't tell you how refreshing these qualities are in characters I thought would be predictable from the start. So my point is, even though Gabriel is a very hard character to like, it's also pretty dame hard not to like him. These Merrick boys are frustrating as hell, but they all have such huge hearts and when push comes to shove they have each others backs and figure it all out together, even if it'll take the entire freaken series.

I didn't have a chance to gush about these characters when I reviewed Storm since I basically geeked-out that I got to read the sequel two seconds after the first book, so I feel the need to say something about these delicious boys.
~Chris, I liked from the start. He's the youngest of the boys and doesn't quite have a hold of his powes yet, but you wouldn't know it. I love how he could pull strength from a storm and how his powers seem to enhance his personality, actually, that would have to go for all the brothers, a very genius move to incorporate elements that size up these characters personalities so amazingly well. I loved him in the first book. His emotions were so raw and real. I actually missed him in this book.
~Gabriel and Nick are twins. Gabriel is harsh and intense while Nick is the more grounded and kind. I love twin-connections. How you can feel so close to your sibling you wouldn't know how to breath without the other. I hated when they fought since I think they are stronger when together.
~Michael is the eldest and guardian since their parents death. The weight of responsibly is very visible and it takes it's toll. There is a big difference between being a father figure and being a big brother. Instead of getting to encourage recklessness and having fun, that a big brother has a right to dish out, he has to be the one to make sure these guys stay safe, which is hard since they always have someone looking for one wrong move. I didn't like Michael at first, but he really grew on me and now I actually respect him.
~Hunter was the easiest to swoon over. It only took the first words out of his mouth to know we were gonna get a long just fine. I liked his friendship with Gabriel in this one. I'm really looking forward to reading his novella and novel next. I just wish we didn't have to wait so long.
~Layne was a little hard to like at first. I liked Becca from the start, but Layne just has so much dame walls around her. Her defense is up so high I'm amazed that Gabriel could climb it. But as the story moves on you could tell that Gabriel and Layne were a perfect match. They balance each other out, challenge each other to be real and have a connection that know one could understand. It's a complex relationship sure, but it feels right. Plus, they also have some really intense sparks (pun intended) that made this even more fun to gush over.
~The only problem I had with this story was regards to Simon. I'm sorry, but what kind of asshat picks and tortures a deaf kid? I really hated those moments and wanted the prick that was doing it to just die already.
So wrong, on so many levels.

I love the writing. Seriously, Brigid Kemmerer made this experience so effortless. It was like one of those love at first reads kinda thing. Instantaneously invested with each and everyone of these characters and the story line. It's fresh and exciting and a total blast to read.
Love, love love!

Bottom line. This is my new favorite thing. I love the banter and brawls. I love that closeness that these brother share and I love watching them fall hard for girls that are the total opposite of themselves. I love that not once did I read the words "I love you". Everything was natural and exciting and simply fascinating. I can't get enough of this series and I can't wait to get my hands on the next book.

An absolutely all consuming series from start to finish!!

(Arc provided by Netgalley and Kensington publishing)
Profile Image for Isamlq.
1,578 reviews707 followers
August 24, 2012

This was really good. I mean it, this was really, really good. In fact STORM (Elemental #1,) a book that took me totally by surprise in its awesomeness might even pale in comparison to this one. Who would have thought that stories of four hot brothers with super powers word turn out so good? So, if that first one was good, this one was so much better… perhaps because past the introductions, we get to have a closer look into what made one of them tick. Book One allowed us those introductions to the one who dealt in fire, in earth, in water and in air, but here it’s all Gabriel and his pain. I honestly thought there wouldn’t be much to him. In my mind it was as simple as this: secret pain = hot head. Except, his secret pain? It could get pretty angst-y painful indeed (and I’m not even being a smart ass about it right now.) The combination of him feeling the way he was then inconveniently overhearing something from someone else had my throat closing up for him.

Bad ass…or perhaps the not so bad ass after all. Yes, this is just still action-filled as the first one. Yes, there’s more than one heart stopping sequence to do with fire here. And yes, we finally do witness Gabriel in action, but big shocker here: it’s his drama that sucked me in. When we first meet, it’s obvious he’s unhappy. And though normally the ‘everyone doesn’t get me; everyone is against me’ schitck would not be my thing, Gabriel’s moments had me lump-in-throat. He’s this reputation of being a screw up hot head… and apparently the boy bought into it as well. Here, it’s only made clear why. Factor in a growing gap between him and the one who has always been there with him beating himself up over things he couldn’t change. And I did hurt for him, save the fact that things could get frustrating in how typically boy his reactions were: close up and push out.

When I wasn’t feeling sorry for the guy, I was laughing… because this book is mostly fun (though you probably couldn’t tell from how gushy I am over Gabriel’s drama.) It is fun! Take him and Layne, a pairing that’s initially an obvious one: straight A girl + hothead = LURV. And maybe it was obvious, but there is the fact that she’s her own baggage; that there are things she’s dealing with too. So them together was funny… with all that running away from then closing off; with all those thoughts of “does he/does she?..” Simply, they had me wondering (and laughing a little), why were they making it so hard?

A bit more interesting is how the rest of them reveal more of themselves. Take Michael, when first introduced, he was all overbearing and controlling. He remains true to those, but all for good reason. Or Nick who’s always been good, well, not so stellar here. While the same brings him down, it made him more real too. Basically, he’s not prefect. Funny thing though: since Chris has had his book day in STORM, he’s barely here… and that’s fine too given it’s Hunter, boy with white streak in hair, who shines again. Hunter behaving the way did he proved that he was as good a catch as (if not better than ) Chris was… until he wasn’t anymore. Why? A fact that disappointed me greatly; still, I’m holding out because the teaser for BOOK THREE has me stoked.

Incredibly entertaining!

Profile Image for Jasprit.
527 reviews771 followers
August 21, 2012
In Spark we are told the story from Merrick brother Gabriel, In Storm I just saw Gabriel as the hot headed cheeky Merrick brother, Chris had already played so much havoc with my heart in Storm that I didn’t think another Merrick brother would be able to sneak their way in, but boy was I wrong.

*contains some spoilers if you haven't read Storm*
Now that the problems with the guide have been dealt with, the Merrick brothers can stay put, but under one condition that they don’t bring attention to themselves. Gabriel has a tough time dealing with this; he has a tough time dealing with anyone telling him what to do period. But especially now his control over his element is evolving there are only so many places he can practice without bringing everything burning down, plus with his brothers being able to control their elements that little bit more Gabriel feels left out. But then Hunter comes up with a suggestion, it’s risky but at least this way Gabriel can practice his element.

I devoured Spark in one day, I don’t know what it is, Kemmerer just has a special way with words that lures you in, that you never want to leave. I was so disappointed when I’d finished this book as I have no idea when I’ll next get my Merrick brother fix I have to confess I may be a little bit enamoured by them to the point of obsession. Anyway I digress it was seriously something getting Gabriel’s pov. I love how with each book Kemmerer allows us to get to know each brother that little bit more. I was totally surprised by the side we were given of Gabriel, underneath all that bravado there is a true softy. Some of his scenes just shredded at my heart and others just made me melt. I don’t know why I had overlooked Gabriel in Storm, may be because I had Chris far too much on the brain, or maybe because of Gabriel’s snarky tendencies and his hot headedness. Previously I had thought that the scenes with Becca and Chris were sweet, but now I’ve come to the realisation that they don’t compare to some of the scenes between Gabriel and Layne. I know a lot of readers will be reconsidering Gabriel as their favourite Merrick brother after this.

I enjoyed how in Spark we were able to move away from the issues that were integral in Storm. The focus was on something completely different and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also liked how we got to see another side of Michael, he came across as a person who didn’t need to control everything, yes he was in Gabriel’s face a lot of the time, but he had loosened up a lot more since Storm.

Again with Hunter I’m still confused where I stand with him, it was great he was helping Gabriel out, but I still felt he had his own agenda I don’t know why. I’m hoping the novella from Hunter’s pov will finally clear everything up.

Kemmerer again hasn’t failed to disappoint me with her latest instalment; she has again left me wanting more. I can’t wait until my next Merrick fix.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington for the opportunity to read this book.

This review and more can be found on The Readers Den
Profile Image for LoLo.
271 reviews48 followers
August 7, 2012
If Storm was an explosion, Spark is an eruption. I don’t believe that I have ever felt this strongly for a character so quickly before. The Gabriel Merrick of Storm is a mischievous, smart arse identical twin. The Gabriel Merrick of Spark is a broken, hurt, troubled kid who’s an emotional live wire.

He’d been banned from the team, from a sport she knew he loved – God, even Simon practically worshipped Gabriel’s athletic ability. He was fighting with his twin brother, and they had to be close, the way they seamlessly switched places in front of teachers and other students…
Layne took a deep breath.
Then she stepped forward to throw her arms around his neck and hug him.

Nothing seems to be going right for poor Gabriel right now. He can’t control his element as well as his siblings, his maths teacher has discovered he’s been cheating since middle school, his love interest’s father accuses him of statutory rape, and his entire family seems to have turned against him and believe he’s capable of arson and murder. My heart was breaking for him, and I spent the entire book wanting to just jump into the pages and give the poor bastard a hug. Kemmerer has done an amazing job of getting you into the head of this 17 year old emotional wreck.

Gabriel didn’t move from the doorway. Everyone seemed to be getting along just fine.
Without him.

Gabriel struggles with feelings of isolation for most of the novel, and it only made me want to hug him more. He blames himself for the death of his parents, for not protecting his twin, Nick, resulting in his kidnapping and broken leg, and feels like a failure because of his problems at school. He has no real friends outside of his family, and barely gets along with the parental figure in his life. As a result of feeling like an outsider, Gabriel is constantly on the defensive and often attacks in situations where you wish he wouldn’t. On so many occasions, I wanted to lock Gabriel up with his brothers and not let them out until they’d gotten all their aggression and feelings out in the open and then had a big hug and a cry. Kemmerer does a fantastic job of portraying Gabriel’s mood swings/temperamental behaviour. I constantly felt like I was on the edge of my seat, being attacked and just waiting for that perfect opportunity to take the first swing.

Christ, it felt fantastic to drive his fist into something. Especially when Hunter fought back with enough force to really make it worth it.

Gabriel wound his fingers around his lighter again. The potential for fire was
right there, pulsing under his fingertips.

He could pick a fight. Get sent to the office. Alan Hulster sat to his left, and that guy was a tool. Gabriel wouldn’t even mind laying into him.

I found it a lot easier to connect with Layne than with Becca. This may possibly account for it:

She had a bookcase, white trimmed with pink, packed double and triple with paperbacks. No shocker there. It looked like she still had every book she’d ever read…More books threatened to fall from a pile on the nightstand.

Layne is pretty awesome all around though. She loves her little brother, Simon, and does a lot to look after him. She’s been forced into the role of an adult after her mother abandoned them, and she’s got some pretty epic abandonment issues to match Gabriel’s. She’s also incredibly caring; she recognises Gabriel’s problem and tries very hard to help him for only slightly altruistic purposes (she thinks he’s a tad pretty).

The mystery surrounding the novel of who exactly is the arsonist if it’s not Gabriel was really well done. I had my list of suspects and was completely blown away by who was actually involved. I’m now really looking forward to , released next year, to find out more about these mysterious new bad guys.
Profile Image for Carol [Goodreads Addict].
2,433 reviews24.8k followers
November 12, 2015
Wow, I was totally surprised by Spark, the 2nd book in the Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer. Where the first book, Storm, was heart poundingly intense, I felt this book was sweeter. It pulled a little more on my heart strings but don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of action. It begins directly where the previous book left off so you do need to have read Storm first.

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This book focuses on Gabe, half of the set of twins. Nick being the other half. Gabe’s element is fire. The fire speaks to him, calls to him. He is working on his control of it but he’s not there yet. All of a sudden there is a rash of fires in their town and Gabe is suspected of setting them. But, he didn’t do it. No one believes him, not even his own brothers. He does find two very unexpected allies though. First is Hunter. A friendship is slowly developing between them. I really enjoyed seeing their friendship grow. They really needed each other and the support that only a friend can offer.

“Dude. Seriously, if you start crying, people are going to think I’m breaking up with you.”

The other new relationship that is developing is with Layne. Layne is not the type of girl that Gabe would normally notice. She keeps herself fully covered in turtlenecks and is of the book smart type. But, when Gabe is failing math and the new substitute teacher is not going to cut him any slack, Layne comes to the rescue and offers to tutor him. But, Layne has a past of her own, secrets to hide. She needs Gabe as much as he needs her.

I think one of the sweetest aspects of this book, and the one that stole my heart is Layne’s younger brother, Simon. You see, Simon is deaf. He also LOVES basketball. The other kids at school bully Simon and who comes to his rescue but Gabe. In fact, Gabe’s brothers and Hunter also accept Simon without batting an eye. Simon even flourishes in their acceptance. The Merrick Brothers pushed themselves even deeper into my heart by the way they treated Simon.

Parts of this book broke my heart, though. Gabe is struggling with so much guilt. He blames himself for the death of his parents years ago. And he seems to blame himself for just about anything and everything that goes wrong. He feels like his twin, Nick is the perfect one. The one with all the brains. And the way Layne’s father treated him was appalling. There were times I just wanted to reach into the pages and hug him.

“Surrounded by people, and he still felt so alone.”

I can’t say enough great things about these boys. We get hints of a future battle brewing between the Elementals and the Guides. And, there are many more questions to be answered. So I can’t wait to start the next book and find what’s next.

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Profile Image for Ash Wednesday.
441 reviews525 followers
February 28, 2013

I'm going to start this review with this HoYay (homoerotic...yay!) moment between Gabriel and Hunter:

"You had a gun and you still fought me like that?"
Hunter grinned. "Wait, you were fighting for real?"

Aren't they adorbs? No I'm not going to apologize for that word.

With how Gabriel was introduced in the first book, I was full on expecting more snark and more bite coming from the short-fused half of the Merrick Twins. This being his book had a lot of these endearing douchequotes but what was surprising was the emotional baggage behind all these verbal, and sometimes physical, blows he deals the people around him. He's more than a pretty face and a sharp tongue (mmm... Gabriel's tongue....)

Though there was enough romance to drive the plot for this book, it's the relationship between the brothers that are very much brought to the fore. There are times when I am more interested in reading the scenes between Gabriel and his brothers than the ones he has with Layne (which is new for me, because I'm a romance reader first and foremost). I love reading the dynamics in Casa Merrick. Oh to be a fly on the wall in that house. I'm glad this installment explored the less predictable (compared to Nick) relationship between Michael and Gabriel. Their conversations were reined in (when they're not punching each other or breaking up a fight with another Merrick).No frills, no unnecessary drama, just subtle, matter-of-fact conversations without scrimping on the tugging at the heartstrings department. As how I would imagine men/boys of their age would talk. Or how they would argue or defend each other or come to blows. I have no brothers so this was all very fascinating for me.

I'm not sure if I like Layne as much as I liked Becca though. I'm beginning to suspect the heroines in this series are going to be plot devices to save from elements-related danger and for the boys to play with their powers. And while I love reading about the action sequences, I do hope this changes up a bit. Layne was written a bit too much like a hodge-podge of the heroines I've read lately and Simon felt like a safety ploy to make sure I like Layne if all the hidden angst didn't pan out for me. I did like that she's smart and appreciate . So far, anyway.

I'm enjoying the fact that the story is moving along in a direction that was totally unexpected for me (it went a little predictable for me in the first book). and has me curious as to what will happen next. Even if it's gonna be focused on Hunter.

Sorry, but he eats using a plastic knife. To echo Gabriel's sentiments: Um, no.
Profile Image for Dana.
440 reviews290 followers
October 14, 2014


After my vast enjoyment with Elemental I had high hopes for its sequel. I was especially excited because it features fan favourite Gabriel. However it seems that Gabriel might have made a better secondary character than a leading man.

The love story in this book was pretty weak. I hated Layne, she walked around with a stick in her butt, and was constantly running away from her problems. By running away I mean literally running away...and people thought Bella was terrible about confrontation.

I found the plot to be pretty boring and just couldn't make myself care about what was happening. There were zero clues for the end twist, so it was completely out the blue and felt a little random. However I do like the direction that this series is going in and I will probably continue with it. I just hope that the next book has better heroes.

Profile Image for Crystal Navarro.
140 reviews31 followers
May 9, 2013
Okay. Gabriel Merrick, you win. You are my favorite. You are soooo my favorite. You are a perfectly flawed ball of aeoghaoehgoaeaphe'a'! Wait, is that an oxymoron? You personify it.

I don't care about reading the rest of the series. Gabriel will always be my favorite. Don't tell me I will change my mind. I won't.

Stop it. Really, guys. I'M BEING SERIOUS. No really. I-- who cares if your favorite changes with every book and who cares if I keep loving old characters for new reasons I HAVE LAID CLAIM TO A FAVORITE AND FAVORITE HE WILL REMAIN.

Welp, now that that is out of my system--

This book worked for many reasons that I will list out into a pyramid diagram to explain the descent into ravenous love for Gabriel and this series.

A light, temper
Passion, flame, desire
Rush, heat, chemistry, burning
Fire, hot, unpredictable, hot, Fire



Real review below:

Spark has earned it's place on my favorites list for many reasons. The storytelling of Ms. Kemmerer is exemplary, engrossingly fast paced and relatable. That was the strongest point of this book. Gabriel was not my favorite character from Storm, and actually went a little under the radar. He won cool points for punching Drew in the face, but I still saw him exactly as Layne did in the beginning-- a thug who could get with anyone. And he acted the part as well, out of spite.

Mmm, spite. Lets see how many flame-worthy words I can fit into this review. Gabriel embodies his element to a tee.

We learn so much about Gabriel in this book -- so much more than we got on Chris in his book-- and his chemical reaction with Layne was exactly what I needed to finally understand him. Gabriel is not what he lets people believe him to be, he lets himself be viewed as such because his element is one of destruction, and all of experiences have proven to him that he cannot use it for good and that is why he is always messing up. The secret about Gabriel? He pretends he doesn't care when he cares more than any other character in this series. He wants to help, he wants to be worthwhile, and he wants to please others. He just can't, so he's given up, and allows himself to be set into a light that people are pleased to light him in.

To the point he's convinced himself he's exactly that and he's afraid to let anyone see what he really is. To the point he hides the good things he's done with so much fervor everyone gets the wrong idea. He is so busy protecting other people he forgets to protect himself, or let anyone do it for him.

And then Layne enters his world and that image goes up in flames. Explodes in his face. She just as fiery as he is, in her own right, and nothing like the other girls Gabriel has around him. She covers herself up completely. She is willing to help and put him in his place at the same time without a shred of regret. He's tempted, taunted, drawn to her almost exactly like he is his element-- she's got a spirit about her that mirrors him to a tee, and suddenly everything Gabriel forced himself to understand about who he was, or at least present, is bared and he's not sure how to take it. Fire is bright, it's blinding, is intense-- just like his uninhibited attraction to Layne, and her unintended passion for him.

They both have a history with the flame, and while the one between them is fanned and grows, they learn that their connection-- to what they both fear and marvel at-- is going to draw them so close in so many ways.

Gabriel comes to terms and control with his element-- and a newfound way to use his abilities for good. Fire fighting, and in love with a girl scarred from a house fire? Gabriel, you are so concerned at your brothers have a stronger connection to their element than you, when your element is everything that you are not looking.

I loved Layne. She is exactly the person Gabriel needs, to calm him down and stand toe-to-toe is with raging tempers and impossibly herioc overprotective streak. Gabriel is what she needs to loosen up and learn that a little adventure in life can ignite so many better things.

Michael continues to earn cool points with me. His relationship with Hannah is endearing, considering it started with Gabriel, continued because of him, and now Gabriel is the first to know it's happening. He's shown himself to be growing more into his brother role-- but if this is because is growing or his brothers are becoming more understanding, I can't really pinpoint.

Nicky-poo-- you and Gabriel really are twins. Absolutely compliments, even in your elements. Air can feed or tame a fire. Fire can choke the air or warm it.

Hunter-- Okay, the friendship was so needed. Not sure what's going to happen with Hunter now, but I wonder if my reserved nature when it comes to his character is going to bite me in the butt later.

And now, more fervent fan gushing--

How perfect was it how intense and powerful the physical relationship between Gabriel and Layne was? Just like fire. You get a little taste, and then it wants to consume it all.

That can be taken so wrong. I need to stop myself.

I wish we could have seen Layne's reaction to the truth! That is the only part that has me pouting.
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,127 reviews2,172 followers
October 13, 2012
Rating: 3.5 Stars

When I went into Spark, I was 100% sure I would love it. Yes, 100%. Not even 99.9%. I devoured Storm in a matter of hours and after seeing such a huge string of glowing reviews for this book, I was confident that for once I wouldn't be the Black Sheep. Well, I was (unfortunately) quite wrong. I loved Spark, but ultimately, there was just something missing from it to make it a truly phenomenal novel.

First and foremost, I have to admit that I thought Gabriel was an extremely well-written character. I could feel his loneliness, his desperation, and his confusion seeping through every page and once again, Brigid Kemmerer proves her talent in writing impeccable male POVs and realistic family dynamics. While I had already fallen in love with the Merrick brothers in Storm, I truly grew to appreciate Michael, Nick, and, of course, Gabriel. Plus, while I hated Hunter after Storm, I was glad that we were able to see a different side of him in this one which I really liked. Even Chris made his small appearances with Becca which were great, so once again, this is a family I am head-over-heels in love with.

Layne, our female protagonist of Spark, is also an incredible heroine. She is intelligent, strong, and beautiful without trying to be. I think overall, Layne is much more likable character than Becca is, simply because she's the goody-two-shoes while Becca is more feisty. Still, I really liked both girls and I could understand Layne's tortured past and home life just as well as I could Gabriel's. Yet, their romance never won me over. For one, it was the extremely overdone and typically cliched bad-boy-falls-for-geek-math-tutor story line. While I didn't mind this too much, what I did mind was that I couldn't really feel for these two. I loved them as individual characters and I think their interactions together were sweet and they obviously understand one another very well, but I wasn't invested in their relationship at all. Plus, Layne isn't the type of girl I think anyone would expect Gabriel to fall for and unfortunately, Kemmerer was unable to really make me hop on their boat. I think compared to the sweet romance between Chris and Becca, I have to admit I was a tiny bit disappointed with the love story in this one.

Yet another aspect of this novel that disappointed me was the lack of action in it. While the plot line of Storm revolves around the Guides, Spark is a much more mellow tale focusing on Gabriel’s character development and only hinting at a future clash with the Guides in the next installment. Thus, this unfortunately read like one of the many in-between novels which only serves to set up the plot of the next novel. In addition to that, I found the characterization of Layne’s parents, amongst a few other qualities of this story, to be extremely unrealistic. In my opinion, they were simply too evil and cartoon-ish to be real.

What really made me dislike Spark though, was the lack of character development. Gabriel is hot-headed and he's constantly just a giant, raging mess of angst. Seriously, he slams doors, he runs ten miles, he yells, he punches people, he fights back. It's always constant angst, and while I understood it, after awhile it began to become annoying. Gabriel goes through a lot of experiences in this novel, especially with his brothers, and I wanted him to learn from them and become a better person who wasn't constantly fueled by his emotions, but even at the end, I just don't think he was. Yes, he gained mastery over his powers, but what about over himself? I still feel as if Gabriel could have grown and developed a little more in this one and the fact that I didn't see that as much as I would have liked was upsetting.

Overall though, Spark is a great novel - I'm not refuting that. It has so much depth and the Merrick Brothers are truly phenomenal. While it lacked a lot of action, which I missed from Storm, and I wasn't totally invested in every aspect of it, I think most readers will love this. I, however, think I preferred Storm, but I can't wait for the next installment in this series either! :)

You can read this review and more on my blog Ivy Book Bindings.
Profile Image for Katie.
522 reviews423 followers
December 10, 2015
t's not often that book 2 in a trilogy is better than the first, but that's definitely the case with Brigid Kemmerer's debut series. I mean, I liked Storm, but Spark exceeded any sort of expectations I had.

Mostly, this book is awesome because of Gabriel.

I really loved his humor in Storm and was excited to read a book from his POV. And I was definitely not disappointed! He's one of my new favorite boys in YA, mostly because he's funny and has lots and lots of issues.

In fact, this whole book has lots of issues. The good kind. The kind that make characters well-developed and interesting, the kind that make you hurt for them even though you know they're not real. And Gabriel isn't the only one who's got some serious stuff he needs to work out - so does Layne.

Oh, Layne.

She really had to grow on me throughout the book because I wasn't a huge fan at the beginning. She's really closed off emotionally, and you can't help but wonder why Gabriel is interested in her. But as the story progresses and you learn more about her, it's hard not to totally fall in love with her; she's a great character, and she has some really good development throughout the story.

But like in Storm, the best relationships were between the Merrick brothers. I thought the drama in the family really hit a new level in this book when Gabriel gets angry at basically all of them. I loved his relationship with his twin brother Nick and how isolated he feels when Nick supposedly leaves him for other people. I loved the budding friendship between Gabriel and Michael, how they grudgingly love each other. The family drama is just SO GOOD!

OMG and the romance.

I already said I'm in love with Gabriel, right?

Okay, just making sure. Because really, his romance with Layne almost killed me. Even though the book takes place over the span of two weeks, I totally bought them together. I loved watching their progression, and ZOMG IT WAS JUST SO CUTE!

I adore super flawed characters and I adore it even more when said flawed characters get together. It's just like perfection.

Overall, this book was sort of different than Storm in that there isn't as much overt action. There's quite a bit with Gabriel exploring his fire element and interesting stuff with fires, but there are no outright fights between Elementals. But I honestly didn't miss the paranormal action at all because I thought this book was crafted and paced much better. Plus, Gabriel is the MC.

Oh wait...I already said that.

Something I found sort of ironic was that this book is so similar to Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry, which released around the same time as this book. It's just weird that two books so similar (although one is contemporary and the other paranormal) would release so close together.

If you liked Storm, you'll definitely like this book. If you haven't read Storm, what are you doing?! Go read it now! There are 5 awesome book boys to fall in love with! Go thee hence and read a Brigid Kemmerer book!
Profile Image for Eunice.
255 reviews524 followers
August 13, 2012
3.75 or 4 stars?? 4 stars!

I was so glad when I found out that it will be Gabriel's story in the second book of this series. He's my favorite among the Merrick brothers and to finally be able to see and learn more of him was just freaking awesome. And I just love how Brigid Kemmerer thoroughly explored Gabriel's characteristics here from being a friend, a brother, a student, a lover and a hero.

What I enjoyed most was seeing the soft and vulnerable sides of Gabriel, the side which he usually hides through his tough facade. Here I was able to understand his reasons behind his impulsive, reckless and ill-tempered behavior. Much more to that was that I saw how much he actually valued his relationship with his family, especially with his twin brother, Nick.

Behind his tough and easy-going exterior was a sensitive boy who had his own frustrations, insecurities, regrets and sadness brought by the extraordinary circumstances their family had. Gabriel struggled to control his element and to prove that it could be used to do good things too. However, things didn't go easy. Beings accused of things he didn't do plus not being entirely trusted by his brothers made it even harder for him. But still he did the right things; save the lives of other people and his loved ones even if it might press him more to the accusations.

Layne was quite the opposite of Gabriel. Quiet, organized, responsible and patient. But what they had the same was the insecurities they had about their selves. Yet they fit each other, what's lacking with the other fills out by the other. Layne was a very genuine character and I love how she cared for his brother and how she didn't put up to any of Gabriel's sh*t during the earlier parts.

I was able to learn more of the other Merrick brothers as well. I was actually touched by Gabriel and Nick's relationship although . I was both impressed and sympathetic to Micheal especially with the things that he needed to do to keep his family safe and together. So I was really glad that by the end he got himself a girl *wink wink* Look out for that! And one more thing, I remember saying in my review in Storm that I didn't like Hunter, but after reading this, I think I'm really liking him! I love the camaraderie he and Gabriel shared here.

I love how Kemmerer captured the very realistic problems and struggles a family could have especially in the circumstances of the Merrick brother. There were moments between the brothers that were very poignant and heartbreaking and moments that were uplifting and touching. It was different or rather refreshing and new since on all theses dramas boys were the one involved. It wasn't awkward and I think the author captured just the right ways and emotions and thoughts these guys would have.

If you loved Storm, I'm sure you're gonna love this one even more. Brigid Kemmerer did a very wonderful job in writing an action-packed and thrilling paranormal book but with realistic and authentic teen and family problems with the hottest brothers in the YA world! lol! I recommend this book. :)

*Thank you Kensington and Netgalley for providing a review copy of this book!

This review is also posted at Book Overdose
Profile Image for Kadbury.
522 reviews316 followers
August 28, 2012
I loved Storm ,the first book in this series and I was dying to read this novel! I believe I squealed when I got accepted for this book.Needless to say my expectations for this book were sky high.

This is Gabriel and Layne's book. The entire book is told from their point of view.Chris and Becca do make an appearance but they're not the main characters in this novel.

I was a little disappointed with this book.The main reason I think I didn't like this book as much as Storm is because I wasn't a big fan of Gabriel (Gabriel fans do not hurt me!).I just couldn't connect with Gabriel's urge to always be close to his element and the whole firefighting thing.I didn't hate Gabriel,I just couldn't understand him.I could see why he was so frustrated with his life.I couldn't form as much of a connection with Gabriel that I did with Chris and that's the only reason why I didn't enjoy this as much as Storm.Hunter annoyed me in this novel too.

I really liked Layne.I love the fact that Brigid creates such strong female characters! I hope Brigid keeps creating such strong characters because I love reading about them.Layne was a character I could relate to easily.She's the smart kid who's got some issues at home.I just loved the way the author revealed bits and pieces about Layne and had me guessing about what had happened with her .Recently in all the books I've read the female characters haven't been that great but Layne was a breath of fresh air.I loved reading about her.

The story was amazing and there was a twist at the end too.I couldn't put this book down! I got approved for this one when I was on vacation abroad and I was up late and couldn't put it down till I was finished! The best part is the fact that this book doesn't end with a cliffhanger but the sneak peak of Spirit ends with a KILLER cliffhanger.

My reaction at the end of the sneak peak

[Word of advice: Start this book in the morning and DO NOT READ the sneak peak till you have the third book in your hand.]

Secondary Characters

I loved almost all the secondary characters in this novel.Especially loved Michael and Simon.

Dear Brigid Kemmerer whatever you write I will buy.With this novel you have proved that you are not just a one time wonder and you can truly write great novels.

Overall,a fine addition to the series .I am eagerly waiting the release of Spirit (Book #3)

My Rating:

Note: If you're looking for something like Pushing The Limits .I think you will like this one a lot.I actually found some similarities to Pushing The Limits (This might have something to do with the fact that I read this book right after Pushing The Limits).There's a bad boy and damaged girl and lots of emotional trauma.

EDIT 28/8

I got approved for this !
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews908 followers
March 3, 2018
This series reminds me a lot of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series where each book showcases a brother’s story and their meet cute with their girlfriends. Naturally this is for the YA generation and is set in high school. Gabriel has a fiery “bad boy” image and like most of the stereotypical characters, he has a heart of gold. I was looking for something more? Maybe more of the paranormal elemental aspect instead of the kids and their relationship. I still love the brothers dynamics and I look forward to reading about it in the next instalment. I just find these tortured characters are looking all the same.
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