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.
Winner of the Friends of American Writers’ Young People’s Literature Award
“Social injustice is a rare theme in middle-grade fantasy, but Glewwe conveys the insidious poison of prejudice by grounding the narrative in evocative details… A compelling story on a difficult topic, addressed with maturity and grace.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Marah is a fully realized character, a young woman with intelligence, curiosity, conviction, and fierce loyalty to her loved ones. A rich cast of supporting characters gives Marah’s world a very realistic complexity that goes beyond good and evil. . . . Will please socially conscious readers with a taste for light fantasy.” —VOYA
“Strong, believable characters and an important message. . . Middle-school novels rarely address social injustice so clearly, and this first novel does so in a way that empowers young people to think of ways to make a difference.” —Booklist
“This book holds all that fantasy readers could desire: magic, intrigue, mysterious characters, ancient curses, and a dark evil that must be defeated. Not everything is wrapped up neatly, and the various characters are multilayerd, neither all good nor all bad. A worthy and worthwhile stand-alone book in a genre so often serialized.” —School Library Journal
“Marah is an appealing heroine—warm, compassionate, and smart—and the plot pleases by requiring Marah and Azariah to develop and use their special talents to save the city while losing a small bit of their innocence. . . Marah’s talents extend to an ability to pour out her emotions in virtuoso violin music; similarly multitalented middle graders will find in her a kindred spirit.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“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
“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 love a well-built world, and this is as deep, delightful, and lived-in as any I’ve visited. It’s a place where combating terrible evil requires not just magic but music, friendship, and an abiding love of books. I hope SPARKERS is just our first foray into Glewwe’s imagination; I’m already ready to visit again!”
—Rachel Hartman, author of The New York Times bestseller Seraphina
“In the entrancing Sparkers, terrible secrets are hidden among lost spells, forgotten languages, and forbidden books, and still one beautiful truth shines clearly through: Adults may have all the power, but it’s kids who can change the world. I loved this book.”
—Anne Ursu, author of Breadcrumbs