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4.23  ·  Rating details ·  73 ratings  ·  39 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 Books
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Emily Just received it today. (Two copies oddly. Both hardcover instead of ARC.)
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4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  73 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Mary (BookHounds)
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
Wendi Lee
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
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Theresa Grissom
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!
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: galleys-read, hmh
My favorite Durst novel yet!! I lovelovelovelove this one. The cover is gorgeous and the story is too!
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
Ms. Yingling
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
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
Nannette Demmler
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mary Rees
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sara Diane
I got this from Netgalley to preview.

A decent little story--a bit didactic, a bit too politically charged for the target audience, and a bit too familiar a plot to be wonderful, but it wasn't bad.

A young girl is selected to be a storm guardian, and becomes linked to a storm beast. Her beast is a lightning beast, which surprises her family since she's so quiet. But she goes to her special school to learn to be a storm guardian, and along with her beast and her new friends, she discovers the world
Beth Mendelsohn
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-arc-s
I received this e-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

In Alorria, storm beasts and their guardians help control the weather. Sun, rain, wind -- all under their control. Mina's family has hatched storm guardians in the past and now it is Mina's turn. An usually quiet girl, Mina and her family are surprised when newly hatched Pixit turns out to be a lightning beast. Lightning guardians and beasts must go to a special school for training. Shy Mina makes frie
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perfect book for middle grade kids. This is a really sweet story about a world where most kids get a chance to hatch and bond with a dragon with sun, wind, lightning, etc. powers that can help their kingdom. The story starts with our main character, Mina, hatching a completely unexpected type of dragon. While the story does involve the fantastical, I think it's more about Mina gr owing up a little bit. She's incredibly quiet and realizes that isn't a bad thing, that a quiet voice can make a big ...more
Tammy Kelly
Mar 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
To start off I really like the front cover of the book, I think that's what drove me to want to request to read this book. Sadly, for me, it felt like ages for it to finally get me to start enjoying the book. It could have been because I had a lot on my mind at the time and wasn't really deep into the book but it didn't catch me like I thought it would which is okay, because it's just from my point of view and I'm allowed to have that, I'm not going to knock the book down or anything because of ...more
Talia Smart
Set in the isolationist country of Alorria, where dragon-like storm beasts and their child guardians keep the weather perfect all year, Spark begins when quiet Mina shocks her family by hatching a crackling, energetic lightning beast. Her parents think she must've had a faulty egg, but Mina and her beast, Pixit, are eager to prove them wrong. Before long they're enrolled at the unfamilar Mytris Lightning School. Spark is a joyful, fantastic adventure story, but it's also a celebration of activis ...more
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mina is a soft-spoken, shy main character. She is patient and kind. In many ways, she is an unlikely hero because we are so accustomed to reading about larger than life main characters. Mina has doubts and insecurities. She has trouble giving voice to her emotions. The best thing to happen to her is probably bonding with a dragon who hears her.

Although this story has an excellent plot, the part I enjoyed most was Mina's development. Her story arc is beautiful. I would suggest this book to my yo
Oct 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Mina is eagerly awaiting the hatching of her egg. In this world dragons control different aspects of the weather like rain, snow, wind, sun and lightning. Children are paired with the dragons and control all aspects of the weather. When Pixit hatches and it is revealed he is a lightning dragon Mina's family is skeptical. They can't believe she is fiesty enough for lightning. But soon Mina is at the lightning school learning how to work with Pixit. It is at school that Mina learns some interestin ...more
This was a beautiful book and great imagination. It gave me a bit of warmth and feeling of being part of the character. I loved the twist and turns and not knowing who’s side to take. It reminded me a bit of Hogwarts in the sense of training one’s dragon and studying.
Crystal ✬ Lost in Storyland
A cute, straightforward fantasy read. While there are a few details that distracted from my enjoyment of the novel, I love the message that there are different forms of strength. Some heroines are both quiet AND strong.

Full review to come.
Breane Ross
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Received an arc of this awesome book from netgalley. I can't say enough good things about this book. Highly enjoyed it! Totally recommend it!
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Sarah Beth Durst is the award-winning author of eighteen fantasy books for adults, teens, and kids, including The Queens of Renthia series, Drink Slay Love, and The Girl Who Could Not Dream. 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 Engli ...more
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