Published by HarperTeen on May 17th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Magical Realism, Romance
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository
The local Avery Theater was just a run-down building to Quin—until her mother told her the tragic love story of Nick and Emma that played out on the theater’s stage all those years ago. Quin is convinced it’s the perfect story to rewrite for her drama class, but when she goes searching for more information, she makes a startling discovery—the Avery is rapidly regaining its former splendor and setting the stage for her classmates Dylan and Cass to relive Nick and Emma’s romance. Quin can see the spark between them, but it’s up to her to make sure her friends—and the Avery—can both be saved this time around.
Favorite Theaters – Inspiration for The Avery in SPARK
When I was a teen, I was a bit like Cass in SPARK—I loved all things vintage. I wore vintage clothes, loved old books and classic movies. I also loved watching my favorite classic movies in old theaters—munching on popcorn and old-school candies (Good & Plentys, Kits, etc.) from concession stands.
This is a glimpse of my favorite old theater—The Princess in nearby Aurora, Missouri. I’m sorry to say the Princess no longer exists as a movie theater. But I loved driving to Aurora, where my family or friends and I would eat at a restaurant on the town square that had once been a bank (the vault was being used as a microbrewery) and catch the latest flick at the Princess. In fact, this photo was taken the same day I got my master’s degree—I wanted to celebrate at my favorite old theater.
The Princess had been open since the ‘40s, and still had its original fixtures inside—same old sconces on the walls, same seats…they even served old-school popcorn with real butter in those red and white cardboard boxes. The Princess felt different from the cineplexes in my hometown—probably because of its history. Back when the Princess opened, going to the movies was a real experience—women dressed up in hats, gloves, and heels. Men were in suits and ties. Remember, this was before TV hit our homes—it was the only time anyone got to see a story on a screen. It’s a bit hard to imagine now, when screens follow us everywhere—are constantly in our own back pockets.
While I loved The Princess dearly, I also grew up surrounded by vintage theaters where road show companies and local performers put on plays and musicals. They were all in my mind’s eye as I came up with the fictionalized Avery Theater…I’ve put together a small video to give you a better idea of what I had in mind—the video also concludes with a challenge to young writers to get out a do a local color video of their own. (It also makes a great classroom assignment, for those of you who teach)
About the Author
Holly Schindler’s work has received starred reviews in Booklist and Publishers Weekly, has won silver and gold medals in ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year and the IPPY Awards, respectively, has been featured on Booklist’s Best First Novels for Youth and School Library Journal’s What’s Hot in YA, and has been a PW Pick of the Week. She is owned by a Pekingese named Jake, and can be found working on her next book in her hometown of Springfield, Missouri. She can also be found at hollyschindler.com.