A Tangled Web

A Tangled Web

A Novella

Young Adult - Coming of Age
126 Pages
Reviewed on 12/26/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

M L Sparrow is currently the author of four full length novels, a novella and a slew of short stories published in various anthologies. She will write pretty much anything that pops into her head, no matter the genre, and enjoys keeping her readers guessing as to what she will write next, though you can pretty much guarantee that there will be some degree of romance!

As well as writing, she enjoys travelling and has been to some amazing countries, where she never fails to gather inspiration and has an endless supply of ideas for future novels…

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite

A Tangled Web is a novella written by M.L. Sparrow. Teenage girl, Hayashi Taiyo, has been best friends with twin boys, Ryuu and Kairi, for most of her life. Although physically identical, the boys’ personalities couldn’t be more different. Kairi is completely no-nonsense, spending almost all of his free time studying, whilst his brother, Ryuu, is a mischief-maker who enjoys having fun, but not at the expense of others. After Taiyo’s friend, Aya, is involved in an accident, she begins dating Ryuu, much to Taiyo’s dismay. When asked on a double-date with Kairi, Ryuu and Aya, Taiyo accepts, but her affection for Ryuu is discovered. The fallout between the small group of friends is massive due to a web of lies woven by Taiyo, which she’d hoped would prevent people being hurt. With friendships frayed and torn, Ryuu and Taiyo decide to play hooky from school, which unwittingly lands them at the epicenter of a major earthquake, before being faced with their worst nightmare, in the form of a 13-meter wave.

With Japanese terminology being used throughout, both in dialogue and descriptions, as well as a highly useful glossary of each of those Japanese words provided at the back of the book, I found I was easily transported to a culturally realistic time and place in Japan. Most of M.L. Sparrow’s tale deals with typical everyday drama in a teenager’s life, inclusive of love, friendship, and respect. The Japanese culture shines through, showing how very different it is to other cultures and mannerisms around the world. What I most loved in this book was how it showed the clear difference between superficial love and true love, while also showing that disabilities do not make anyone less of a person. True love can withstand and overcome any obstacle. I found A Tangled Web to be very entertaining reading. My eyes were opened to the very real and terrifying everyday hazards of life in Japan, such as frequent earthquakes and (thankfully) not-so-frequent tsunamis, as well as the alert system used by those who live permanently in Japan. I recommend A Tangled Web to readers aged 12-18 who enjoy drama, friendship, love, tragedy and romance in their reads, especially when entwined with a different culture.

Jack Magnus

A Tangled Web is a young adult historical coming of age novella written by M.L. Sparrow. Hayashi Taiyo lived with her grandmother. Her mother died when she was five years old, and her father didn't feel able to raise her on his own. Oba-chan and the twins, Ryuu and Kairi, became, over the years, her family. The two boys had been her best friends since they were all children, and, every day, they would go off to school together. While they were twins, Ryuu and Kairi were quite different. Ryuu was more moody and was athletically inclined, while Kairi was more intellectual and calm. Taiyo loved them both as friends, but something about Ryuu affected her differently than his brother. So when it was Kairi who suggested the two of them begin to date, she was taken by surprise. She didn't want to hurt his feelings, but felt odd when she saw Ryuu's reaction. When Ryuu asked her friend out, Taiyo realized that she really wanted Ryuu to be her boyfriend. She would have to break things off with Kairi in as gentle a way as possible, but somehow it seemed harder to do than she had thought. Just when everything seemed to have worked out perfectly, disaster struck.

ML Sparrow's coming of age novella, A Tangled Web, is set in Japan in the days before the earthquake and tsunami that hit on March 11, 2011. In this story, we see that giant wave and its aftermath through the eyes of a teenage girl who had gone to the shore with her boyfriend that day instead of going to school. Sparrow's Taiyo and Ryuu are such compelling characters. I quickly got caught up in their burgeoning romance and the difficulties they had to resolve with Kairi. Taiyo is a strong, determined character who runs track and enjoys the challenge of a good hard run. Watching as she stays in Rikuzentakata to help with finding survivors is inspirational. Sparrow's story brings the devastation of that tsunami event home in a way that newspaper accounts could never do. Along the way, Taiyo comes of age in a fiercely strong and fabulous fashion. A Tangled Web is most highly recommended.