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3.89  ·  Rating details ·  345 ratings  ·  72 reviews
In the city of Ashara, magicians rule all.

Marah Levi is a promising violinist who excels at school and can read more languages than most librarians. Even so, she has little hope of a bright future: she is a sparker, a member of the oppressed lower class in a society run by magicians.

Then a mysterious disease hits the city of Ashara, turning its victims’ eyes dark before ul
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 30th 2014 by Viking Books for Young Readers (first published September 1st 2014)
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Brigid ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩
I've known Eleanor Glewwe for a few years and have followed her journey of writing and publishing this book, so I'm really excited it's finally in print. And she was kind enough to send me a signed copy. :) (Also I'm in the acknowledgements, which is cool!)

Sparkers takes place in a fantasy world strictly divided by class, where magicians are the elite and the non-magician "sparkers" are the lower caste. But when a horrible plague starts spreading, Marah (a sparker) and Azariah (a magician) have
Miss Clark
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Overall, Sparkers is a mature look at social justice themes that is both easy to read and morally complex. 4.5 stars.

Read the full review at The Discriminating Fangirl!
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
After a few disappointing reads where I was clearly not the target audience, I feel like this is a book that was written for me. (Thanks, author!) A smart female lead, ancient languages, music, and magic... seriously, I couldn't put it down.
Rebecca McNutt
Brilliantly imaginative and impressive, Sparkers is full of magic, creativity and friendship, written unlike any other book I've ever read.
Mar 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Marah’s world is a place where magic resides, but also things like automobiles. Her world is where two kinds of people live.

Kasiri are people who can use magic, and they rule over the halani, the people who are unable to use magic.

Marah is a halan, and in her city-state, Ashara, kasiri treat halani unfairly.

One day a mysterious plague starts up in Ashara. This plague has an unusual warning sign, the dark eyes, where someone’s eyes turn completely black. When a person notices someone has the dark
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
As a children's librarian, I try to read as much children's fiction as I can in order to assist the little darlings when they come to me for readers advisory. I love children's fiction, especially the fantasy genre, so I was excited to start Sparkers which had a lot of promising buzz about it.

I only read the first 80 or so pages and have decided to stop. It is a very well written novel (make sure you give this to a high-level middle school reader)but it was failing spectacularly to hold my atten
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
A beautifully written, surprisingly somber story about a young girl trying to save her loved-ones from a terrible illness that has overtaken their city. In Ashara, there are the kasiri, who can do magic, and the halani (or "sparkers") who cannot. The mysterious illness widens the divide between these groups, allowing Glewwe to explore powerful themes of racism and inequality in a way that's wholly accessible to her middle school audience. (Though I would recommend that adults read it too!)
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful story with a satisfying ending and characters that matter (and suffer). I was completely absorbed into the imaginary world of Ashara. My only problem was the overabundance of names and titles, which could be confusing and sometimes took my focus away from the story-- and it is an excellent story. Highly recommend.
Sepideh Sahebsara
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Melinda Brasher
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love the setting and the world-building and the characters in Sparkers.

I actually read the sequel first, and I admit I liked Wildings more, but I still really enjoyed this. I did find some aspects of the Sparkers plot hard to believe—mostly on the part of the councilors. I really admire the way the Wildings plot was so exciting and socially important and world-changing...without violence. There's more violence in Sparkers. However, it's not as bad as some similar books.

Eleanor Glewwe's writin
Madeline (The Bookish Mutant)
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Real rating: 3.75 stars (Or something...)
Wow. I liked this book way more than I expected to. Ashara and its people were so well-crafted, the story was wonderful, and the characters were exceptional as well. AWESOME! It would be cool if there was a sequel, but this might be one of those books that would be completely fine without one.
Also, on a COMPLETELY random (and wholly geeky) note...David kind of reminded me of...
...Director Krennic.

Shyla Colt
Jan 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Glewwe has built a rich world full of magic , casts, and consequences. Marah is a Sparker, a non magic pre-teen. A member of a lower class, she leads a hard Scrabble life with her younger brother , Caleb, her violin a few friends and books as bright spots.

As she approaches her exams which will determine her future , things change. Unexpected changes in her life and a plague turn life as she knew it upside down. I liked Mara. She was brave, intelligent, and kind when she easily could've let circ
It was a great action-packed book filled with intrigue, magic, and twists and turns. The main characters go on adventures together and discover the powers of magicians and the lost art of magic. This book will be remembered for years to come. I recommend it for ages 11-14. Fantasy-lovers will enjoy this book.
Kathy Cunningham
Aug 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Eleanor Glewwe’s SPARKERS is set in a world divided by racial prejudice and intolerance. The city-state Ashara is ruled by the kasiri, who are powerful magicians, able to shoot sparks of magic from their hands. The “halani,” on the other hand, are non-magical, and are thus scorned and ridiculed – the kasiri call the halini “Sparkers,” an ironic slur meant to highlight their lack of magical ability. In this society, the kasiri hold all the power – they make up the ruling Assembly, they hold all t ...more
Jun 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
3.5, rounded to a four because I did have a lot of enjoyment with this story, but a few things rubbed me the wrong way.

Huge thank you to Razorbill CA/Viking Juvenile for this ARC

I knew zero about Sparkers going into it other than it was a middle grade fantasy adventure. However, having finished it, I feel like that is only a partial description. This book is incredibly dark for a middle grade read and it takes some very unexpected turns -- some that work incredibly well, and some that feel a tou
Nov 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Review originally posted on Children's Atheneum

The world-building in this story is fantastic. Rich histories, stories, poems, secrets, ruins, relationships, and cultures are all blended together to create a beautiful tapestry of a world that felt almost real. At times, because normal words like violin and cinnamon were used amongst a plethora of strange words, I kept trying to make the story fit into a future Earth narrative, but eventually I gave up. This world is its own.

This is definitely a d
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing

A very strange illness is turning people’s eyes black. Sparkers is definitely one of those books I was not able to put down until I finished it completely. This book is marketed at middle school readers and has definitely satisfied me. The novel’s plot, setting and characters are well written, thoughtful and unique.

The book is a mysterious and adventurous fantasy novel written by Eleanor Glewwe. Sparkers definitely is not a book written for humor or romance, but instead to take you on a mysterio
Lisle Library Youth Services
This is a fantasy that surprised me, which is hard to do. The world is well built with lots of familiar elements and lots of new discoveries. Languages play a central part in that plot, and I love language, so this was fun for me. There is adventure and mystery along with the magic. This is definitely worth your time.
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
Marah lives in a world where the magicians are in power. She helps out in the market at the book stall and has managed to teach herself many languages in the process. There she witnesses the brutality of the magicians and knows to fear them. But it is also where she meets a little girl who doesn’t mind that Marah is a poor Sparker. Soon Marah is visiting their home, which is much more opulent than her own. She meets the girl’s brother and discovers that he shares her love of languages. When a pl ...more
Nov 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: ABSOLUTELY NO ONE

I am ticked off.
At the book. At the author. At whoever gave the writing advice. At all those glorious reviews - from people who have, apparently, read a different book altogether.

The story is excessively bland. There is no pressing sense of urgency. It's burdened by a blatantly obvious set-up, Special Snowflake Syndrome (everything-drops-in-her-lap variety) and spectacular case of leading by the hand.

For a while I could not quite tell what was bothering me.
Oct 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Ashara is a place ruled by magic. The powerful kasiri wield the magic and have all the power. The magicless halani are relegated to subservient positions and living in slums. Marah Levi is a 14 year old halani girl who dreams of a better life. She wants to study music in secondary school, but she also has a passion for books and languages. It is through her love of obscure languages that she meets Azariah a kasiri boy who also enjoys languages. Together they start exploring ancient books in a fo ...more
Sarah Monsma
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
When Marah first went to the market alone, it was because her family needed food. She was scared to go among the magic users who could be dangerous to halani like Marah. Her father had just died and though she was only eight, Marah needed to go because mother was needed at home to care for her brother. At the book stall that day Marah and began a friendship with Tsipporah, the bookseller that would change her life and that of her country forever.

The world building in Sparkers is absolutely beaut
Set in Ashara, a city ruled by magicians and their magic. Marah is 14 and looking to go to a specialized high school for musicians. Although Marah is a clever girl skilled in languages and music living as a non magical person in a land where magicians rule with a vengance she is a second class citizen who must always watch her words and actions.

Now that her father has died and her mother's work is curtailed by ever increasing restrictions (think the ghettoizing of Jews in Warsaw) she is also pl
Apr 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
That quote made me cry a lot. I mean a lot. I cried several times reading this book.

Oh my god, this book was so heartwarming. Reading it feels like drinking hot cocoa on a cold, frosty night. (maybe it's the setting?) I was able to feel the bustle of the markets, the song of Marah's violin, and all her pain and guilt. Sometimes the mood is just right.

Thank the book gods there was no romance trying to be worked in. For this book, I think the friendship really carried it for me, and I loved all of
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

I really enjoyed this book! It does start out a bit slow, but the plot definitely picks up. It also is a middle grade novel but I really enjoyed it still, even though I usually read YA. The characters were well rounded and the main character Marah definitely grows throughout the story. You do become attached to her. I also really liked how the author was pointing out social criticisms of the difference between the halani and the kasiri, whic
Aug 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Imagine you are living in the South 40 years ago, where the racial divide was key to everything - the kind of jobs available, the places to live, the medical care available...whites had the power, and blacks did not. Now take that divide, change the terms of the divide from color to magic, and you will have the basic premise behind 'Sparkers'.

Marah is a Sparker, a derogatory (and ironic) term for those who do not have magic. She goes to school, plays violin, and basically just lives life as she
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.25 stars rounded down. Maybe I've been reading too many not-so-great books lately, but apparently my standards have lowered. So many times reading this I had to appreciate how nice it was to read a YA book with a main character I didn't dislike. You would think that would be a requirement for an author, but apparently it's not. Maybe that's because this is more middle grade than YA -- no gratuitous romances that turn likable characters into idiots to dull the story.

There is a bit of politics t
Libby Ames
Marah Levi is intelligent and talented, but in Ashara that means nothing unless you are a magician. Born in the underprivileged halan class, Marah and her family struggle to make ends meet. Then a strange disease plagues the city killing both magicians and common people. As sorrow and fear fill the city, Marah makes an unexpected alliance with Azariah, a wealthy magician boy. Together, they search for a cure for the deadly disease, but their research uncovers uncomfortable secrets the Asharian g ...more
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Eleanor Glewwe was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Maryland and Minnesota. She attended Swarthmore College, where she majored in Linguistics and Languages (French and Chinese) and worked in the music library. After graduating, she spent a year at an interfaith advocacy organization, working for social justice at the Minnesota legislature. In addition to being a writer, Eleanor is a cellist ...more
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