I’m very excited to share with you the cover for Sparkers! Here it is:
When I first saw this cover, I was delighted to see the snowy wood. You know how much I love snow. And the whole thing is just so atmospheric… I love the texture of the painting/drawing too. That’s Marah and Azariah tramping through the forest at night, and the cover does depict a specific scene from the book. It’s pretty magical to see how an artist you’ve never met imagines your characters and world and brings them to life on a book cover with your name on it, when for years your book has just been a Word document on your computer. The artwork is by Chris Sheban and the cover design by Nancy Brennan and Eileen Savage.
As you can see, Sparkers has a blurb from Ingrid Law, who wrote the middle grade novel Savvy. (Which I highly recommend, by the way. It perfectly combines the serious, sweet, and funny, and it does very well some things that I feel are too often not done at all in children’s books, namely, treating religion as an everyday part of life and including adult characters who are actually present and not clueless but also don’t keep the young characters from being the central actors in their own story.) In case the blurb is a little hard to read up there, here it is again:
“Rich with music, magic, and devotion to friends and family, the world of Sparkers will ignite your imagination.”
-Ingrid Law, author of the Newbery Honor Book Savvy
When I first received this blurb, I could hardly believe it. It makes me very happy. And as if that weren’t enough, I actually have a second blurb:
“Sparkers will draw readers in to an incredible world where magic is real—and dangerous—but a brave pair of kids can make all the difference. The twists and turns and surprises kept me riveted all the way to the end.”
-Margaret Peterson Haddix, author of The New York Times bestselling series The Missing
I’m amazed and thrilled. I have quite vivid memories of reading Haddix’s Among the Hidden and Running Out of Time when I was younger. (I mean, in the case of the latter book, imagine thinking it was the 1840s and then discovering that it’s actually the “future” and you live in a living history museum where tourists you can’t see are watching you go about your daily life. It left an impression on me.)
To go along with the cover, here’s the official description for Sparkers:
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 ultimately killing them. As Marah watches those whom she loves most fall ill, she finds an unlikely friend in Azariah, a wealthy magician boy. Together they pursue a cure in secret, but more people are dying every day, and time is running out. Then Marah and Azariah make a shocking discovery that turns inside-out everything they thought they knew about magic and about Ashara, their home.
Set in an imaginative world rich with language, lore, and music, this gripping adventure plunges the reader into the heart of a magical government where sparks of dissent may be even more deadly than the dark eyes.
Also, I have a precise expected publication date now! September 30th, 2014. That’s almost exactly seven months from today.
I’m currently in the midst of reviewing first pass pages. This is the first time I’ve seen my book typeset, with pretty fonts and drop caps at the beginning of each chapter, and it’s quite exciting.
Wow, that was a lot of news! I’ll finish with one last thing: Sparkers is now on Goodreads, in case you are too.