Spark by Allie Lasky
Hanukkah Novella Standalone (for now)
This will be a quick review for a quick book. Spark by Allie Lasky is a 120-page Hanukkah novella featuring a neurodivergent heroine and a bisexual hero.
Arielle is visiting her family in Chicago from Boston for Thanksgiving. Their whole neighborhood and all of their friends from Hebrew School are gathered at the local bar when she sees her crush, Asher Gold, walk in. He lives in Boston now too but they only see each other in Chicago when visiting their hometown.
Arielle is Neurodivergent, though they never come out and say, she seems to be on the spectrum; she is easily overstimulated, doesn’t always understand sarcasm, doesn’t like hugs, and is very smart and funny. Arielle and Asher have a pretty intense moment that night, one they have both wanted but they never had it timed right, until she burst out that she had a boyfriend and ran away.
Two weeks later, on the first night of Hanukkah, they run into each other in Boston and both of their friends step in to ensure this meeting doesn’t fail. The rest of the story takes place over the rest of the nights of Hanukkah.
“I want to be the person she calls when she needs to talk out her thoughts. I want to be the one she rants and vents to. I want to help her, support her, in any way she needs. Emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually… I want to love her.”
- The Little Lion nickname.
- Lots of representation.
- Sweet hero who is not afraid to verbalize his feelings.
- Pretty hot sex scenes with toys.
- Having a hero who is bisexual but totally devoted to the heroine.
- Normalizing smoking Marijuana.
- Once they were together, they were very healthy in their communication.
- How open they both were sexually.
- Needed more editing- I had no problem with a character using the they/them pronoun, but because they were part of a couple, I was often confused as to whether the author was referring to Elliott (singular) or Elliott and Yoni as a couple. The word “they” could have been replaced with his name to make the situation much clearer. There were too many pronouns in general though, I often had trouble figuring out who I was reading about.
- They both had pretty big friend groups both in Boston and Chicago, but it seemed like every single one of them was Jewish.
The Down & Dirty:
I loved the representation in Spark, both for neurodivergence and sexual identity. There was a good amount of sex in this story and it was different from the norm as well. These different situations were handled beautifully and I loved how it made the characters acknowledge how they need to communicate even more clearly than the average couple to maintain a healthy relationship. The editing in this story held me back from loving it. I had to go back and re-read often to clarify who the author was referring to which often took me out of the story.