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4.20  ·  Rating details ·  243 ratings  ·  79 reviews
When a shy girl and her dragon-like companion discover their country’s idyllic weather comes at a steep—and secret—cost, they recruit fellow students to defy authority and attempt to spread the truth.

Storm beasts and their guardians create perfect weather every day, and Mina longs for a storm beast of her own. But when the gentle girl bonds with a lightning beast—a creatur
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 14th 2019 by Clarion
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Emily Just received it today. (Two copies oddly. Both hardcover instead of ARC.)

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4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  243 ratings  ·  79 reviews

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May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mina is not destined for greatness, she is quiet, always does her best and what is right and a very deliberate person.  Her whole life has been spent preparing for the time when she gets her own weather beast and can contribute to society, but when her egg finally hatches, no one expected that she would be paired with a lightning beast.  Weather is planned in Aloria - a place of bountiful farms and there is no daily struggle with the elements since they are commanded only to be beneficial to soc ...more
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this one so much! Spark is a heartwarming middle grade fantasy novel about how even quiet kids can be brave and find their voice for change. It is a beautiful story about Mina, a shy girl with social anxiety and her lightning dragon as they show everyone who they really are and what they are capable of. It is about being who you really are, finding your voice (even if it looks different than others) and fighting for change in the world around you. It feels like a call for political activ ...more
Wendi Lee
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mina has grown up in a family of storm guardians, and expects to hatch a beast and nurture skills to help out on the farm. When it turns out that her hatchling is a lightning beast, quiet Mina's life takes an unexpected turn. Lightning guardians train at a special school, and are expected to take bold risks. Mina's ability to listen and observe, however, allows her to learn troubling truths about her beloved country.

I loved this novel about quiet strengths and hidden leadership. I didn't realiz
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading Spark and think middle grade readers will too! Spark is an adventure story about dragons and their guardians. Mina is the guardian of the storm beast Pixit, and together they learn how to harness the energy from the storms. I found Mina’s character very likable, she is very shy and insecure in her new role but able to speak up when needed. This is a quick and easy read and will be fun for younger readers.
Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for this ARC i
Mary Lee
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love when fantasy authors help us think about the world around us in new ways. This book has a quiet character who finds her voice and makes a big difference. It is about the interconnectedness of everything on Earth, and how every selfish action has a consequence.
Lara Lillibridge
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
Spark is a darling story that's filled with adventure but shouldn't be too scary for younger middle grader readers.

It's filled with beautiful descriptions and has one of the most fully developed worlds I've read.

"The wind beasts were silver dragons with white feathery wings and brilliant, sparkling antlers like deer." (11)

Spark is, at its heart, the story of a quiet girl who learns that she is enough just as she is. It's a middle child story — she has older brother, younger twins, Mina gets ov
Madeline Nelson
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quality of Writing: 9/10Pace: 10/10Plot Development: 7/10Characters: 8/10Enjoyability: 10/10Insightfulness: 9/10Ease of Reading: 10/10Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐Hey y'all! I'm back with another review of Sarah Beth Durst's middle-grade fantasy. She did a great job, so I'm just going to swing right into my review.
Quality of Writing: Durst's worlds are always full of color and vivaciousness. Each book is set somewhere unique and this one is no different. Alloria was grand, Mytris Lightning School was imp
Jan farnworth
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am for one am a dragon lover and truly enjoy it when i find a unique stand along that all about dragons and their human companions. I especially enjoy when their a few nice nuggets of truth and wisdom to be found in the story. I have read a few of this author middle grade novels and I found them all to be enjoyable. The writing is smooth and al the characters have depth and definition.

In this one we have a shy quiet girl who is not quite certain that she is bonded to the correct storm beasts.
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I got a copy of this book to review through the Amazon Vine program. I have been reading so many amazing books lately I have really felt lucky. I have enjoyed a lot of Durst’s books in the past and was excited to see a new middle grade book from her. This ended up being an incredibly fun fantasy read.

Mina has been bonding with her storm beast egg for the last two years and is super excited when hatching time approaches. However when Pixit emerges as a lightening beast everyone is confused. How c
William Bentrim
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Spark by Sarah Beth Durst
I’ve read several of Ms. Durst’s books which are listed below. I have enjoyed everyone of them. I particularly like this one as it is a youth focused book. Mina is quiet and has not found her voice. She and Pixit, her lightning dragon discover that their idyllic existence may be based on the suffering of others.
Durst does a super job expressing the unease and insecurities of a young girl. Many children feel inadequate or up to their tasks. Durst shows that reticence and
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Who doesn't love an original dragon story? I loved that dragons could control the weather and that to create a bond, it wasn't instantaneous as some stories but that each child had to invest their time, energy and love into an egg to create almost a soulmate. Pixit just shocked my heart into overdrive with his sweetness and Mina just makes you want to hug her. This book would be a great family read aloud or for an adventuring 9-12 year old to read on their own. There is also a hidden element of ...more
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After reading a couple of duds recently, I was looking for a good read. I found it in this book about a lightning dragon and his guardian who are learning to control the weather to keep their country perfect. Of course, there is a dark side to this perfection - the ten year storms. When Mina realizes what is going on, she enlists her friends and their lightning dragons to confront the problem and find a solution. Mina was a great character but my real favorite was Pixit. He was funny, brave, inn ...more
Hannah Belyea
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
No one, especially Mina, thought that she would be partnered with a lightning beast, not with her quiet nature, but as she heads out to school and begins to train - and learn some dark truths about the world beyond her country - she finds that it may just take a couple shocks to set her path. Durst will keep readers thoroughly entertained with this enchanting tale of friendship and the phenomenon of weather, magical or not. Will Mina be able to speak up in time to save the innocent?
Theresa Grissom
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade, 4th, 5th, 3rd, fantasy
A huge thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book.

I simply adored this book! This is the 4th book I have read by Sarah Beth Durst and with each one, I have become a bigger and bigger fan. Lovable characters, both human and dragon alike. I love how this book encourages courage and speaking up for what you believe... even for the quietest people. Cannot wait to purchase this for my library!
Suzanne Maley
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lynette Smith
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this book as a requirement for my book award review committee. I thought it was a great story with many life lessons played out. Perfect for middle school readers
Crystal ✬ Lost in Storyland
I love how Mina demonstrates that heroes can be quiet and strong. It's become the norm to talk about the "strong independent woman" as if she is loud and confident and can do everything by herself. Mina is the opposite. People constantly talk over her, and she needs the support of Pixit and other friends to get others to listen. And it's okay. Because we aren't alone; we can be independent and strong while relying others. I also love how this novel shows that best friends can be different.

The pl
Steff Pasciuti
In the time since I finished Spark by Sarah Beth Durst, I have felt thoroughly conflicted about my rating for it. I haven't quite been able to determine just what my final opinion of the novel is. There are quite a number of really good pieces to this book, but I just felt regularly that it was bogged down with an unnecessary exacerbation of a character who could not grow on her own until the very end. While the novel had an immense amount of potential, with a world both exceptionally unique and ...more
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A young introverted girl faces danger with her dragon--and doesn't need to become an extrovert to save the day! Thank you Sarah Beth Durst for showing that it's not only loudmouths who can be heroes!
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hmh, galleys-read
My favorite Durst novel yet!! I lovelovelovelove this one. The cover is gorgeous and the story is too!
Ms. Yingling
Mar 17, 2019 rated it liked it
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Quiet Mina comes from a large, noisy family. When her storm beast egg starts to hatch, she is excited to bond with the animal and train it to help control the weather in Alorria, which is always temperate and beautiful because of this control. When Pixit is hatched, he turns out to be a lightning beast, which doesn't seem to fit with Mina's personality. Nevertheless, the pair are soon sent off to the capital to train at the Myrtis Lightning School. Once there, she
Erin Decker
Spark is the story of a young girl, Mina, who lives in a world where dragons control the weather to make the weather perfect for their land. There are 5 types of beasts, Sun Beasts, Wind Beasts, Rain Beasts, Snow Beasts, and the most wild of them all, the Lightning Beasts. Mina is the quietest of her siblings. She doesn’t shout or make messes, she isn’t wild or brave. She is just quiet Mina. So when her egg hatches and a lightning beast whose name is Pixit appears, her family is in shock
Jack Webb
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
SPARK does a perfect job of balancing popular childrens' fantasy tropes (such as dragons, a magic school for children, "types" of magicians, and a protagonist with humble origins) with innovative twists (such as magic only being used for weather control, only children being capable of using it, a governmental conspiracy to cover up the effects, and--perhaps most strikingly--a supportive and loving family environment for the hero) to bring us a story that's inspiring in its messages, generous in ...more
Nannette Demmler
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
ARC provided by Clarion Books via NetGalley for an honest review.
This is very much a story of finding your own way in the world, when everyone has expectations of you that are less than your own.

Mina is a very shy and quiet child, and her family is shocked and dismayed when her egg hatches a lightning beast. They fear that she will not be able to handle Pixit or the demands of bonding with such a creature. But they do let her go to be trained, even though they think she will fail. Mina, of cour
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-and-kids
upper elementary, middle grades
third-person POV
no AR test (just published)

I really enjoy this author!
Mina is the quiet one in a large, loud family. They live in the country of Alloria, which manages its weather with the help of storm beasts and their guardians (young teens - the storm beasts lose their powers as they age). Mina's storm beast hatches and to everyone's surprise it's a lightning beast - most tweens with lightning beasts are loud, brash, daredevils.

Mina and her bea
Mary Rees
This is the story of one quiet girl making her voice heard, not by learning to shout the loudest, but by showing her inner strength, determination and courage, and making others listen in order to do something that matters.

As full of excitement, power and tension as a lightning storm! Mina, an Alorrian farm girl, is waiting for her storm beast, used to help manipulate the weather, to hatch. But the storm beast that emerges is not what her family expected for their quiet, dependable, sensible gir
Kathy Martin
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of a quiet young girl named Mina who lives in Alloria where the weather is always perfect. It is kept perfect because of the bonding between children and storm beasts. Mina is one of the children who bonds with a storm beast. However, when her egg hatches into a lightning beast, her family is certain that some big mistake has been made. Lightning beasts need assertive, loud partners. Mina is certain that her lightning beast Pixit is just perfect for her but her family isn't at ...more
McKenzie Richardson
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

This book. Oh my gosh, wow.

Okay, so when I first started reading this book, I was immediately intrigued by the concept of the storm beasts and all of that. It was a creative concept and I liked the writing.

Then as I kept reading, it just got more and more in-depth and I just dived in headfirst. I was all in as the scope of the story expanded further and further. It went places I wasn't expecting, providing an amazing reading experience that had me
Oct 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Mina has been minding her Storm-beast egg for two years and it is ready to hatch! She has no idea what it will be but she is ready to be a real Storm Guardian. In her cacophonous house she is an anomaly; quite and diminutive, she rarely speaks. Her family is totally surprised when Pixit hatches, a Lightening Beast. Beasts usually match their Guardians in temperament, but Lightening Beast Guardians are usually loud, overbearing, and reckless, everything Mina is not..
Despite her parent's advice, s
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a cute MG book that can be enjoyed by all ages. I think this would also be a great book to read to the smaller kids as there is nothing in it that is too mature. The protagonist, Mina, is a shy girl who finds the strength within to right a wrong she finds within her world. She also does not seek fame but is content to let others shine as be a part of the heroic acts. Her humbleness really makes her even more of a hero and also shows that even the smallest voice can find her (or his) way ...more
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Sarah Beth Durst is the award-winning author of nineteen fantasy books for kids, teens, and adults, including The Girl Who Could Not Dream, Drink Slay Love, and The Queens of Renthia series. She won an ALA Alex Award and a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and has been a finalist for SFWA's Andre Norton Award three times. She is a graduate of Princeton University, where she spent four years studying Englis ...more
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