Holly Schindler | The Children’s Book Review | June 16, 2016
My latest YA release, SPARK, isn’t easily categorized. It’s magical realism, contemporary fiction, a fantasy about shedding your perceived “flaws,” a sweet romance, historical fiction, a Shakespeare redo, and an homage to high school theater buffs. So the books that influenced SPARK come from a wild variety of different genres as well:
Written by Gabrielle Zevin
Zevin’s fantasy creates her own world as she describes “heaven.” I also got to create a world that operates in a slightly different way than our own. In SPARK, a theater comes back to life; it’s heart begins to beat again.
Ages 12+ | Publisher: Square Fish| 2011 | ISBN-13: 978-0312367466
Green does such a great job of capturing contemporary teen life. And this one features a high school musical to boot. In SPARK, Advanced Drama (populated by “senior nobodies”) are given the task of saving the Avery by putting on their own production of ANYTHING GOES. (I’m also a sucker for underdog stories.)
Ages 14+ | Publisher: Speak| 2010 | ISBN-13: 978-0142418475
Written by Sarah Dessen
Of all Dessen’s work, this one’s my favorite by far. Part of the reason for that is that I’m such a music nut—and it was a delight to read about characters who loved their music like I did in high school. In SPARK, we do have a sweet contemporary romance—as well as characters who love their music. One loves musical theater; another is in the midst of rebuilding an antique piano, making sure that it will “sing” again.
Ages 12+ | Publisher: Speak| 2006 | ISBN-13: 978-0142410974
Written by Eileen Cook
I love books that explore “non-tradition” families. This one’s about adoption—and Quin, the narrator of SPARK, has ben adopted as well. Actually, she’s been adopted by a woman who’s old enough to be her grandmother—which adds sort of an additional “non-traditional” element to the fact that she’s adopted.
Ages 14+ | Publisher: Simon Pulse| 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-1442440234
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, by Harper Lee and OUR TOWN, by Thornton Wilder – I’m cheating a bit here—these aren’t specifically YAs, but they are often read (or performed) by high schoolers. And they both focus on life in small towns. As does SPARK. I’m a lifelong Missouri girl, and I’ve always loved discovering reads about the Midwest, or about small town life. These works capture what it’s like to live in a smaller town in such a poetic, beautiful way—I don’t think you can finish these without wishing you lived there.
About Holly Schindler
I’m a hybrid author of critically concession acclaimed traditionally published and Amazon bestselling independently published works for readers of all ages. My previous YAs (A BLUE SO DARK, PLAYING HURT, and FERAL) have received starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly, won silver and gold medals from ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year and the IPPY Awards, respectively, been featured on Booklist’s First Novels for Youth, School Library Journal’s “What’s Hot in YA,” and been selected as a PW Pick. Kirkus praised by latest YA, SPARK, for “crisp prose [that] flows easily between the past and present,” and Booklist claimed the novel casts “a shimmering spell.” Readers can get in touch at HollySchindler.com, facebook.com/HollySchindlerAuthor, or at Twitter via @holly_schindler.
Written by Holly Schindler
Publisher’s Synopsis: Acclaimed author Holly Schindler writes a compelling contemporary tale with a dash of magic. The theater comes to life in this story of family ties, fate, love, and one girl’s quest to rewrite history.
The local Avery Theater was just a run-down building to Quin—until her mother told her about the tragic love that played out on the theater’s stage many years ago. Quin is convinced it’s the perfect story to re-create for her drama class. And when she does, the Avery begins to magically regain its former splendor, clearly setting the stage for her classmates Dylan and Cass to relive the romance from a time before. Quin can see the spark between them, but it’s up to her to make sure her friends—and the Avery—can both be saved this time around.
Ages 14+ | Publisher: HarperTeen | 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0062220233