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Reviewed by Deborah Lloyd for Readers' Favorite
Shortly after her eighteenth birthday, with plans for college and a challenging career, Enya learned she has Huntington’s Disease. Although her physician explained there are new treatment options, and it may not be terminal, her father’s death a few years earlier proved its possible outcome. When her friend Jacob invited her to join him on a cross-country adventure that summer, she happily agreed. His drive to his California college included stops to connect more fully with his Native American heritage. Enya was in the beginning stages of learning about acupuncture and the possibilities of healing energies. Her commitment to meditation and exploration of other belief systems, as well as Jacob’s insights, sparked her spiritual growth. In the captivating novel, UpSpark, written by Nicole Wells, many essential themes – such as acceptance, forgiveness, trust, and love – are fully explored.
This story has many exceptional aspects – Enya’s struggle with her diagnosis; the grief of Enya and her mother, and the effects on their relationship; Enya’s friendships with Jacob and Yasmin, a Muslim who recently came out to her parents; western vs. integrative medicine; visions and other spiritual phenomena. The importance of living in the present moment is reiterated. The author’s ability to interweave these various themes into one engaging, fascinating story is truly amazing. She develops the main characters in likable and relatable ways, and each one imparts important lessons. The last chapters are unexpected and memorable. Author Nicole Wells notes the novel, UpSpark, is Book One of the Five Elements Series. Everyone who reads this gem of a book will certainly anticipate the second one!