Monday, August 13, 2012

Sparks Off You by Anita Felicelli

Motherless and estranged from her father and sister, Julie Randeria is effectively orphaned in a chaotic world of sex, drugs, and dissolving identities. When the mythology that barely held her family together unravels, Julie is driven to the edge of unreality. Lyrical and provocative, the novel Sparks Off You follows an Indian-American girl finding herself as an artist in the Bay Area at the dawn of the tech boom.

This was a haunting coming of age story that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.

Once I started this book, it was hard to put down. I read hours into the night to see what would happen to Julie and Maya and all the characters who touch their lives. The characters, all of them, are so nicely written, with such depth, that it was hard not to care for each one that passed through the pages. Even the side characters were brimming with life. And that’s not an easy thing to accomplish. But, of course, Julie is the protagonist, and she is the one who captures the reader’s heart. She has a layer of strength in her that shines through her vulnerability, and it is fascinating to discover it along with her.

The depiction of mental illness was cleverly done, without being cliché about it and without hitting the reader over the head with it. We start to notice little details here and there, but, like Julie, we don’t really have a good idea of what’s going on. This adds yet another layer to the writing.

I recommend this one to teens and to adults alike. It is a lovely, poignant story that will touch you deeply.


Susan Oloier said...

Wonderful review, Valentina. I now would like to read this book.

Unknown said...

Great review, I am interested in reading this!

Anonymous said...

This sounds lovely! I hadn't heard of it before, but will be adding it to the "pick it up" list. Thanks!