Review: "The People of Sparks" by Jeanne Duprau

Cover:
"It is green here and very big. Light comes from the sky…."

When Lina and Doon lead their people up from the underground city of Ember, they discover a surface world of color and life. The people of a small village called Sparks agree to help the Emberites, but the villagers have never had to share their world before. Soon differences between the two groups escalate., and it's up to Lina and Doon to find a way to avoid war!

In the riveting sequel to the highly acclaimed "City of Ember", Jeanne Duprau explores the nature of conflict and the strength and courage necessary to overcome it.

The People of SparksHi, first I need to say that there are going be spoilers in my review. I can't help it, there just no way to talk about it and not spoil the first book for you. So if you have not read it yet, I'm just letting you know.

The People of Sparks picks up right where City of Ember left off. Lina and Doon escaped Ember right before the generator finally failed and everything went dark. But they did manage to write a note and drop it saying where they are and that there was hope for the people of Ember up above. Four people got the message and escaped with Lina and Doon to the surface. Living underground for the whole lives, the people of Ember have never seen the sky, trees or even birds. So when they get to the surface world, they are like little babies experiencing things for the first time. They are scared and have no skills or any idea how they will make it in this new world they never knew was there. They find a small town named Sparks, where the people have been trying to rebuild; and are given shelter, food and a place to stay. They are also taught things that will help them later on, but because the town is so small and there is so very little to go around; they are told that after fours months they must leave and find a town of their own and make the best of it.

At first things go well, the people of Ember are split up because there is only so much room to go around and Lina and Doon have to go to different places to live. Food becomes very short supply even with the people of Ember helping to harvest. The people of Sparks become mad and resentful having four hundred more people to care for and support, so tempers start to get going on both sides. When Doon is set up for something he didn't do, things get way out of hand. And it becomes us versus them. Lina has gone off with a couple of people from Sparks called Roamers, people that go though out the countyside looking for anything that they can find to bring back to towns to help people. Lina sees that the people of Ember need a place of their own and goes to find this city that she has been seeing in her dreams. Thinking this is the place her people can survive in and make a new start. Meanwhile back in Sparks, Doon has to find who falsely accused him and why, while things get more and more out of hand and a new war, one between the people of Sparks and the survivors of Ember. Will Doon find a way to stop it and clear his name? Will Lina find hope for everyone in the wilderness, or will she come back to Sparks only to see a war?

This was one of the best books I have read in a very long time. It picks up right where the first book left off, and keeps you wanting to read page after page. The world Lina and Doon find has been hit by this huge war and plagues so you get a feel for how hard it is to survive in this world and how food, water, clothes and even houses are so hard to find. So you can understand the people of Sparks feelings when one day four hundred people just show up asking for help. You want to help, but what's going to happen when you run out of stuff? This book makes you say to yourself, what would I do if it was me? The whole book deals with war. That's what the message really is, you can see with the fight between the people of Ember and the people of Sparks just how easy a war can get started. One side has something, and the other side says, hey we need that too and they won't share. Why don't we just take what we need, why do we have to beg and work so hard for it? It's a lot like our world now with the wars and stuff going on. We only see one side of things, not the whole thing or what dad calls the big picture. There are good and bad people on both sides in this book, and some want to work together. Others just want things and don't care if someone gets hurt.

What I will always remember and what I liked best about this book is how you can see that if everyone just worked together, they could make a great city. They may not have everything, but they would have a better chance to survive in this world. Whatever the big disaster was, it has really made the world a mess and things are so hard to find. There is very little left, and the only thing you can do is start over. Lina and Doon see this, the hard part is telling the grown ups this is true. I like how kids in these books have such a big and important role. I also understood how Lina felt when she and Doon were separated and he started getting new friends and ignoring her. He maybe didn't mean too, but I can see where that could happen.

Another thing I will remember about this book is the character of Lizzie. If you will remember from the first book, she was the girl that was dating the boy who was stealing things from the store rooms. In this one she is alone once again, but she hooks up with another boy who is just as bad. She just seems to make bad choices. I know girls like this, and it's way sad. They seem to want someone to make decisions for them, but Lizzie learns in the end. So it taught me that yeah sometimes you need help, but you have to be careful who you count on.

Over all this is a VERY important book, with a important message for both teens and adults. I think everyone should read it and see how it related to our world today, maybe we can see how easy wars begin and what we need to do to keep from starting one. The book is very exciting and very good. I really hope everyone will read it. Sorry for such a long review, there's just so much to talk about here.

Darcy Anna Low

The People of Sparks (Books of Ember) by Jeanne Duprau
Published by: Yearling (April 12, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0375828257
ISBN-13: 978-0375828256
Genre: Teens, Action/Adventure

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