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Excerpt from A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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A Spark of Light

by Jodi Picoult

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult X
A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2018, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2019, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Karen Lewis
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About this Book

Print Excerpt


She didn't want to die like Olive, either.

Which, given the circumstances, made Wren a horrible person.

The odds were highly unlikely, but if Wren had to choose, she would die in a black hole. It would be instant and it would be epic. Like, literally, you'd be ripped apart at the atomic level. You'd become stardust.

Wren's father had taught her that. He bought her her first telescope, when she was five. He was the reason she wanted to be an astronaut when she was little, and an astrophysicist as soon as she learned what one was. He himself had had dreams of commanding a space shuttle that explored every corner of the universe until he got a girl pregnant. Instead of going to grad school, he had married Wren's mom and became a cop and then a detective and had explored every corner of Jackson, Mississippi instead. He told Wren that working for NASA was the best thing that never happened to him.

Driving back from her grandmother's funeral, it had snowed. Wren – a child who'd never seen weather like that in Mississippi before - had been terrified by the way the world swirled, unmoored. Her father had started talking to her: Mission Specialist McElroy, activate the thrusters. When she wouldn't stop crying, he began punching random buttons: the air conditioning, the four way flashers, the cruise control. They lit up red and blue like a command center at Mission Control. Misson Specialist McElroy, her father said, prepare for hyperspace. Then he flicked on his brights, so that the snow became a tunnel of speeding stars, and Wren was so amazed she forgot to be scared.

She wished she could flick a switch, now, and travel back in time.

She wished she had told her dad she was coming here.

She wished she had let him talk her out of it.

She wished she hadn't asked her aunt to bring her.

Aunt Bex might even now be lying in a morgue, like Olive, her body becoming a rainbow. And it was all Wren's fault.

You, said the man with a gun, his voice dragging Wren back to the here and now. He had a name, but she didn't want to even think of it. It made him human and he wasn't human; he was a monster. While she'd been lost in thought, he'd come to stand in front of her. Now, he jerked the pistol at her. Get up.

The others held their breath with her. They had, in the past few hours, become a single organism. Wren's thoughts moved in and out of the other women's minds. Her fear stank on their skin.

Blood still bloomed from the bandage the man had wrapped around his hand. It was the tiniest of triumphs. It was the reason Wren could stand up, even though her legs were jelly.

She shouldn't have come here.

She should have stayed a little girl.

Because now she might not live to become anything else.

Wren heard the hammer click and closed her eyes. All she could picture was her father's face – the blue-jean eyes, the gentle bend of his smile – as he looked up at the night sky.

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Excerpted from A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult. Copyright © 2018 by Jodi Picoult. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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