Review: four sparks fall by T.A. Noonan

Title: four sparks fall
Author: T.A. Noonan
Publisher: CCLaP Publishing
Released: October 12, 2013
Source: CCLaP website

Synopsis (from CCLaP):

Sixteen-year-old May Florence is a budding poet who is about to join Louisiana’s most elite boarding school. Her brilliant but reserved twin sister, Susanna, isn’t. But the truth is, they’ve been drifting apart for some time, their relationship barely sustained by shared friendships and mutual envy. Now, as Susanna watches May prepare to leave her behind, she must reconcile what she thinks she knows about herself and her sister with the secrets they’ve been keeping from one another — or risk losing her closest friend forever. four sparks fall is the story of two young adults searching for love and acceptance in Baton Rouge, a city as complex as the people who inhabit it. At once confessional and speculative, analytical and numinous, T.A. Noonan’s debut novella is an affecting coming-of-age story for readers of all ages.

The first thing that struck me about T.A. Noonan’s novella four sparks fall is its layout. I’ve never come across anything like it before. Three points of views (Susanna, May, and May’s diary) alternate so rapidly it almost feels simultaneous. A sample page (click for larger view):

Screenshot_2013-11-13-11-20-02

Sometimes (not so much in the example above) it was pretty discombobulating… until I realized each of the three voices has its own style/justification. Susanna’s voice is in standard text, her sister May is right-justified and in italics, and May’s diary is bold and centered. This remains consistent throughout. What an interesting approach! And when I consider the girls’ relationship, this format adds another layer of depth to the story that I can’t quite put into words.

Noonan captures her characters’ individuality so well. You can feel their sibling rivalry, the disconnect that makes it feel as if they are living separate lives. But also apparent throughout the story is a strong familial connection that resists breaking and begs to be renewed.

four sparks fall will appeal to both young adult and adult readers. I’m looking forward to reading more by T.A. Noonan.

I downloaded a copy of this book from the CCLaP website. A review was not requested or expected; I did not receive compensation for this honest review.