Spark by J.M. Hackman tells the Christian fantasy tale of Brenna, a Pennsylvania schoolgirl just turning 16. Brenna discovers to her dismay that flames shoot from her fingertips when she’s angry. After she sets a school display on fire, causing the sprinkler system to douse her and everybody else, she doesn’t know what to think. Really, all she wants is to find her mother, who went on a business trip a while back and never returned.

Things get weirder. Her father and grandmother hurry her through a portal into another world. Her mother is in this new world, Linneah, her father assures her. To her surprise she finds it’s the home world of her mother and grandmother. Her “firebrand” powers are welcome and expected. And the people desperately need her help.

But she’s just an impulsive kid, not a fulfiller of prophecy. Can she do the feats they need her to do? Does she want to?

This book is full of imaginative details. I especially liked the griffins, providing flying transportation along with wise counsel through speech and telepathy. The story is an interesting take on an old plot: step through a portal to a world where you’re expected to fulfill a prophecy. Brenna seems very real, so impulsive and emotional, faced with moral challenges as well as physical ones. There’s a touch of chaste romance.

In short, I enjoyed it.

I’ll give it five stars. *****

Faith content on a scale of 0 to 5:  3.

Short Story by Phyllis Wheeler

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