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A Frenzy of Sparks: A Novel

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4.01  ·  Rating details ·  132 ratings  ·  86 reviews
From the author of A Lily in the Light comes a poignant story of innocence lost and what it means to grow up too fast.

It’s 1965, and thirteen-year-old Gia, along with her older brother and cousins, are desperate to escape their sleepy, tree-lined neighborhood where nothing ever happens. The only thing Gia would miss is the surrounding marsh, where she feels at home among s
...more
Kindle Edition, 252 pages
Published November 3rd 2020 by Lake Union Publishing
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Set in the 1960s, Gia is thirteen years old, living in a quiet neighborhood with her brother and cousins. One of those cousins is responsible for bringing drugs to the neighborhood, and from there, danger has arrived, and life is no longer quiet and boring.

Do you remember that childhood feeling of wishing you could grow up faster because adults seemed to have all the freedoms you so desperately wanted? Kristin Fields captures that yearning here in Gia. And like so often happens, that yearning so
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Ceecee
Jul 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4-5 stars

Queens in 1965 is a very different place to today but it’s apparent even then that the neighbourhood is changing. This is a coming of age story focusing on the extended family of thirteen year old Gia. Her father Eddie is a cop, mum Agnes is a typist and she has a fifteen year old brother Leo. Gia is drawn to the canal and surrounding marshes where she is often able to leave her troubles behind and feel a sense of renewal. When her cousin Ray brings drugs into the area it unleashed a ca
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DJ Sakata
Nov 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Favorite Quotes:

She had the same wiry build as Leo, the same blue eyes and slightly disheveled look, as if the wind had blown them around for a few minutes and suddenly stopped.

Window light turned dust suspended in the air to gold, making Gia almost pretty in the mirror, not movie-star pretty, but more like a mer-creature who’d surfaced to see what land was all about. She hadn’t quite grown into her nose or gotten past her fear of tweezers to fix her eyebrows, but her features were sharp and sym
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Sue
This is a beautifully written coming of age novel written about a time in America where everything changed - the 1960s. Not only does the main character grow up but she does it during a time period where the prevalence of drugs changed the American landscape and touched her life as well as members of her family.

The novel starts in 1965 when Gia is 13. She lives in a quiet NY suburb with her parents and her older brother Leo. She's read Silent Spring and spends a lot of time worrying about chemic
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Mom_Loves_Reading
Nov 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
You guys, this book is excellent! Gia gave me Kya from 'Where the Crawdads Sing' vibes w/ her strong-willed innocence, her love of marshes & having to grow up too quickly. 'A Frenzy of Sparks' is a coming of age story about being a young teenager in a time of prevalent drug use, being part of a tight-knit family in a small town, & the desire to not only escape this broken town & keep her family intact & safe, but also to fix it & the residents along the way.

This is not a fluffy read, & does have
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Suzanne Redfearn
A Frenzy of Sparks is a thoughtful exploration of family, heartache, and ultimately carrying on. Set in the sixties in Queens—a time and place of intense transformation—Kristin Fields deftly tells the heartrending story of what addiction does to a family and exposes the dark underbelly of suburbia. Powerful and poignant, I didn’t want to leave the pages of this masterfully crafted book.
Vonda
Oct 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
Gia is a 13 year old growing up in a neighborhood made of aunt, uncles and cousins. In 1965 drugs were being introduced all around the nation and their neighborhood is no exception. Some harsh changes are coming. A coming of age story that was highly enjoyable. It's a quick flowing read that is hard to put down.
Polly
Oct 27, 2020 rated it liked it
CW: drugs

It's the 1960s in Queens, New York, and everything is changing around 13 year-old Gia. Her friends are growing up and not always in a good way; the neighbourhood is being gentrified; and she is losing her childish naivety and innocence as a result.

I loved parts of this book. The coming-of-age story itself was ambitious, the setting was described vividly, and the characters were mostly well-formed. But something about the writing kept me disconnected; I felt like I was watching the stor
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Nursebookie
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I first read Kristin Fields’ A Lily in the Light last year, and fell in love with the writing of a young ballerina and her traumatic ordeals and harrowing loss. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be an early reader of Fields’ sophomore novel.

The Frenzy of Sparks is a beautiful young adult coming-of-age novel set in Queens borough during the 1960’s. This novel is beautifully written through 13yo Gia’s perspective on the changing times, rapid transformation of the neighborhood, and ha
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Kate Vocke (bookapotamus)
A Frenzy of Sparks author Kristin Fields is sharing her pub day celebrations with a very weird week, so I’m happy to send her all the congratulations and tell you about this beautiful story that I was able to escape into!⁣

A plucky little girl named Gia is growing up in the 60’s in Queens. Things are hard for a girl in these times, and as much as her aunts and cousins want her to slather on the makeup and dresses, she just wants to hang out in the marshes, watch the birds and smell the salt water
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jessica
i feel like i would have absolutely adored this if i was the right kind of reader for this kind of story.

i am quite intolerant when it comes to drug use, perhaps because ive never been around it, so i found myself lacking any sort of patience or understanding for leos character, who plays a rather significant role. the narration is third person, so i wonder why the author didnt utilise that to give the reader some insight into leos thoughts, his rationale behind his decisions, or any indication
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Shannon (The Book Club Mom)
My gosh. What a story! A Frenzy of Sparks by Kristin Fields shook me, you guys. SHOOK ME. This is such an engrossing story about drug addiction, and how it can completely destroy an entire family. We witness how one person’s actions can impact so many others. I was captivated by thirteen-year-old Gia, her troubled brother, distraught parents, and extended family members. I wasn’t expecting to have so many personal connections to this novel. They took me by surprise, and also down memory lane. Wi ...more
Donna Hines
Oct 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, netgalley
A Frenzy of Sparks was one interesting take on the family of drug addicts and what a young girl named Gia feels compelled to react to such contemplations.
While I wish I could've become more actively engaged in this saga with her brother Leo and cousin within this realm of addictive behaviors- I simply couldn't find my way-and even though I completed the read it felt as if something more significant was missing.
Kristin Fields wrote from the view of third person narrative for Gia as a 13 year old
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Bookish Heidi
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Do you remember being a kid? Do you remember wishing you could just be a grown up so you can make your own decisions? This book sums up that feeling perfectly! 

Gia feels like she's never going to be good enough for her family and she can't wait to grow up. But then she starts realizing that things aren't always what they seem. Her cousin brings drugs into her little neighborhood and suddenly she's not in such a hurry to grow up anymore. 

Such a touching, coming of age novel. I loved reading about
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Linda Zagon
Oct 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kristin Fields, the author of “A Frenzy of Sparks” has written a captivating, memorable, and thought-provoking novel. The genres for this story are coming of age, fiction, and family drama. The timeline for this story takes place around 1965 and goes to the past when it pertains to the characters or events. The setting for this story is in Queens, near the bay and swamps. There are new homes being built, and it now appears that there will be change. The author describes her dramatic characters a ...more
Rachel Brown
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Frenzy of Sparks is a beautiful, emotional coming of age story. Gia is 13 years old in 1965. She has recently read Silent Spring, and worries about chemicals, loves the marsh, the water, and taking the boat out, and longs for the freedom that her older brother and cousins have. Things change when her cousin Ray gets involved with selling drugs and mafia connections. Gia's brother falls down the path of addiction, and her family's life changes forever.

This is a very well written, beautiful stor
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Amber
I blew through the entire book within 24 hours. It’s going to be no surprise when I say I loved this book hard. Telling the story through Gia’s eyes and voice was a brilliant way to elicit an emotional response. As the story begins, she’s coming up on the beginning of her 8th grade year, and her innocence and naïveté are front and center. It worked so perfectly for me when paired with the content.

There were just so many aspects of this story that tugged at my heartstrings. And while this story
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Carla Suto
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A FRENZY OF SPARKS by Kristin Fields is a compelling and heart-wrenching coming of age story set in Queens, New York in the 1960s. It is told from the point of view of Gia, a thirteen-year-old tomboy who doesn’t see why she can’t be treated just like her older brother Leo and her cousins in the neighborhood. Soon Gia is made to grow up way too fast, when her cousins start dealing drugs in the neighborhood and Leo becomes hopelessly addicted. No one is spared from the devastating effects drugs ha ...more
Diane
Sometimes a book grabs you right away, and at other times your interest builds more slowly until you realize how consumed you have become by the story and you can't put it down. Kristin Fields' new novel, A Frenzy of Sparks, fell into the latter category for me.

In 1965 Gia is thirteen years old living in Howard Beach near a marsh with her older brother Leo and their parents. Her dad Eddie is an NYPD police officer, mom Agnes works outside the home as well. Much of Gia's family- aunts, uncles, co
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Linda
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
From the author of A Lily in the Light comes a poignant story of innocence lost and what it means to grow up too fast.
I loved A Lily in the Light, but this one to me was even better. It's a very emotional story. A story that hits so close to my heart. A bit too close.

This is the story of a family. A family in Queens, NY in the 1960s. Dealing with so much. Cousins who are so close and get in trouble and finding their way in life. A thirteen year old girl who has the no worries at all yet. This y
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Lovemybooks2020 Cindy Ward
I’m so happy to feature 𝘼 𝙁𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙯𝙮 𝙤𝙛 𝙎𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙠𝙨 by Kristin Fields today. This book just came out on Tuesday, and is a raw and emotional story.⁣

𝗦𝘂𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗿𝘆:⁣

From the author of 𝘈 𝘓𝘪𝘭𝘺 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘓𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 comes a poignant story of innocence lost and what it means to grow up too fast.⁣

It’s 1965, and thirteen-year-old Gia, along with her older brother and cousins, are desperate to escape their sleepy, tree-lined neighborhood where nothing ever happens. The only thing Gia would miss is the surrounding marsh, where
...more
Kaela
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Summary: A Frenzy of Sparks is set in the 1960's in Queens, at a time and in a family where family is paramount, where women are mothers and wives, and men work blue collar jobs. They live in a sleepy, tree-lined neighborhood on a canal, where nothing ever happens. At least, it never used to.

13-year-old Gia, along with her older brother and cousins, are desperate for more. Unfortunately, the way Gia's cousin, Ray, decides to go about it -- by bringing drugs into the neighborhood -- sets off a c
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Jamele (BookswithJams)
Nov 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: partner, arcs
I was not expecting this one to be so heavy, and it is heavy. It is 1965 and Gia is trying to be ‘older’ than she really is, at the same time her brother and cousins are trying to do the same thing, although they are all a couple years older than she is. This all coincides with the same year that LSD and other drugs make their way into her neighborhood, and things are not the same after that. In fact addiction takes hold of one of them, and the high of making money by selling the drugs takes hol ...more
Leanna Mattea
Oct 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This beautifully written story by Kristen Fields, is a coming of age novel, about 13yo Gia. She lives in a 1960’s neighborhood, with her aunts, uncles and cousins on the same block and a part of her daily life. They’re in and out of each other’s houses. And although Gia’s parents both work, her and her brother Leo, run the streets with their cousins, creating fun and mischief. Her older cousin Lorraine is her best friend and role model.
The differences between the parenting of Leo and Gia, are t
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Susan
Oct 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
It is the 1960s and 13 year old Gia's main problem is not wanting to behave like a dutiful daughter and young lady. She wants to wear pants and explore the marsh. Sadly, these issues become overshadowed by her brother's drug addiction. I loved the large Italian family all living near each other and weaving throughout each other's lives, for good or bad. I loved how Gia viewed the world around her and tried to create a new space for herself while still meeting her parent's expectations. Ms. Field ...more
Miss W Book Reviews
A Frenzy of Sparks by Kristin Fields is a wonderfully written coming of age story set in 1965.

The story follows Gia who is 13 years old . Her cousin gets caught up in selling drugs with some dangerous connections. Gia's brother's path brings changes to her family as a whole.

At its core, this is a story of addiction, which can be a hard topic to read. The author does a magnificent job of telling the story set in the 60's. But really with addiction, when it comes to family dynamics and supportin
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Kelli
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed a Frenzy of Sparks by Kristin Fields. This was a wonderfully written, heartbreaking story of what happens to a family and a community when drugs are introduced into their lives. As a social worker, I know all too well the effects that drugs not only have on the person who is taking them, but also the aftermath that happens to loved ones. Gia, a 13 year old girl, is stuck in the middle of trying to discover who she is and who she will be in the future, while also trying to take c ...more
Joann
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, faves, netgalley
A heart breaking but also heart warming tale set in the 60s in Queens NYC following a close knit family and their complexities.
Thirteen year old Gia is the main narrator and takes us through her family trials and tribulations through her eyes. I fell in love with her, and felt every bit of what she went through - her inner conflicts, her familial conflicts and her coming of age. I was so glad there was an epilogue catching up with her some time later to see how things progressed for her and her
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mrsboomreads
This was my first book by Kristin Fields. Her writing style is full of beautiful descriptions that had the effect of transporting me directly to the time and location in the story. Set in the mid-60's, A Frenzy of Sparks details what happens to young Gia as drugs invade her family life. After a shocking incident, resulting in a loss of innocence and sense of safety, she is left to question everything about her world. A mix of drama, survival, and coming of age, Gia's journey was both difficult a ...more
Rochelle Weinstein
A provocative coming-of-age in 1960s Queens.
Heart-wrenching and moving, A FRENZY OF SPARKS boldly reveals families in crisis, brought together and torn apart. Brava Kristin Fields on a lyrical, luminous tale that sticks with the reader long after the last page.
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Kristin Fields grew up in Queens, which she likes to think of as a small town next to a big city. Kristin studied writing at Hofstra University, where she was awarded the Eugene Schneider Award for Short Fiction. After college, Kristin found herself working on a historic farm, as a high school English teacher, designing museum education programs, and is currently leading an initiative to bring gar ...more

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