Cover image for The people of Sparks
Title:
The people of Sparks
Author:
DuPrau, Jeanne.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Random House, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
338 pages ; 22 cm.
Summary:
Having escaped to the Unknown Regions, Lina and the others seek help from the village people of Sparks.
General Note:
Sequel to: The City of Ember.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
760 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.9 11.0 80066.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.1 18 Quiz: 36984 Guided reading level: U.
ISBN:
9780375828249

9780375928246

9780375828256

9780756973308
Format :
Book

Available:*

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On Order

Summary

Summary

The People of Sparks picks up where The City of Ember leaves off. Lina and Doon have emerged from the underground city to the exciting new world above, and it isn't long before they are followed by the other inhabitants of Ember. The Emberites soon come across a town where they are welcomed, fed, and given places to sleep. But the town's resources are limited and it isn't long before resentment begins to grow between the two groups. When anonymous acts of vandalism push them toward violence, it's up to Lina and Doon to discover who's behind the vandalism and why, before it's too late.


Author Notes

Jeanne DuPrau has been a teacher, an editor, and a technical writer. The People of Sparks is the sequel to The City of Ember and her second novel. She lives in Menlo Park, CA, where she keeps a big garden and a small dog.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 5-7. In this engrossing sequel to The City of Ember 0 (2003), young Doon and Lina have led more than 400 people from the underground city of Ember to Earth's surface, where they find the hardscrabble town of Sparks and ask for help. Everything is strange and fascinating to the Emberites, and while the people of Sparks feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of the newcomers, they agree to help them as best they can. Things seem to go smoothly for a while, and then tempers rise: the Emberites feel overworked and under fed, and the Sparks inhabitants feel put upon for having to share their few resources. The tension grows until violence threatens to break out. Once again, Doon and Lina play a large role in events. DuPrau develops the growing distrust between the two groups in a natural manner and convincingly portrays the Emberites' struggle to adapt to so much that is completely new to them. A satisfying follow-up to the first book. --Sally Estes Copyright 2004 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

At the end of The City of Ember, DuPrau's spellbinding debut, Lina Mayfleet and Doon Harrow, having made it safely out of their underground city, toss a message down through a chasm. This ambitious sequel opens as a boy, Torren, spies the survivors of Ember heading toward him, and he's "terrified." Torren's reaction foreshadows those of his fellow citizens. After Lina and Doon and the 417 people of Ember arrive in the town of Sparks ("We have not been aware of any post-Disaster settlements nearby, much less a city," their leaders claim), its citizens share their food and shelter, and they train the people of Ember to work in the fields with the goal of helping them set up a town of their own. But two lone acts of sabotage begin to eat away at the fragile trust between them. DuPrau takes on a sprawling world on the surface of the planet, and once again skillfully and confidently develops the idea of scarcity and how human beings react to a depletion of resources. However, the characterizations here take a back seat (for instance, Lina never visits Clary, an adult friend who played a pivotal role in Ember; and Sadge Merrall and Mrs. Polster, both with strong personalities in Ember, melt into the masses while virtually invisible citizens such as Tick become major players). Lina stows away in a wagon headed for the city (to see if it could be the one she drew in Ember); her experience at its ruins result in an epiphany for Lina that, oddly, has little impact on the rest of the novel. DuPrau offers a thought-provoking novel about brinkmanship and the way societies can plant the insidious seeds of war. Her overall message is ultimately uplifting, but it comes at the expense of the development of characters that made Ember so memorable. Ages 8-12. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-In a post Disaster world, The People of Sparks (Random, 2004) are overwhelmed when 400 refugees from the underground city of Ember arrive in their town. Initially, the inhabitants of Sparks hesitantly share their food and provide lodging for their less-than-welcome guests, but mistrust and false accusations cause this tenuous relationship to deteriorate. Jeanne DuPrau's cautionary novel spirals downward until both groups are on the verge of serious bloodshed. Fortunately, everyone is reminded of the need to work together when two children, Lina and Doon, risk their lives to help others. While the story deals with weighty issues, Wendy Dillon is an assured narrator presenting vibrant, believable characters. This sequel to The City of Ember (Random House, 2003; Listening Library, SLJ Oct. 2004) deals with complex, compelling questions about survival in a world ravaged by wars and disease, and could be used to prompt discussions on ethics, or be tied into classroom study on current events. More thought provoking than entertaining, this audiobook is well suited to upper elementary and middle school libraries that support social studies curriculum.-Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter 1 What Torren Saw Torren was out at the edge of the cabbage field that day, the day the people came. He was supposed to be fetching a couple of cabbages for Dr. Hester to use in the soup that night, but, as usual, he didn't see why he shouldn't have some fun while he was at it. So he climbed up the wind tower, which he wasn't supposed to do because, they said, he might fall or get his head sliced off by the big blades going round and round. The wind tower was four-sided, made of boards nailed one above the next like the rungs of a ladder. Torren climbed the back side of it, the side that faced the hills and not the village, so that the little group of workers hoeing the cabbage rows wouldn't see him. At the top, he turned around and sat on the flat place behind the blades, which turned slowly in the idle summer breeze. He had brought a pocketful of small stones up with him, planning on some target practice: he liked to try to hit the chickens that rummaged around between the rows of cabbages. He thought it might be fun to bounce a few pebbles off the hats of the workers, too. But before he had even taken the stones from his pocket, he caught sight of something that made him stop and stare. Out beyond the cabbage field was another field, where young tomato and corn and squash plants were growing, and beyond that the land sloped up into a grassy hillside dotted, at this time of year, with yellow mustard flowers. Torren saw something strange at the top of the hill. Something dark. There were bits of darkness at first-for a second he thought maybe it was a deer, or several deer, black ones instead of the usual light brown, but the shape was wrong for deer, and the way these things moved was wrong, too. He realized very soon that he was seeing people, a few people at first and then more and more of them. They came up from the other side of the hill and gathered at the top and stood there, a long line of them against the sky, like a row of black teeth. There must have been a hundred, Torren thought, or more than a hundred. In all his life, Torren had never seen more than three or four people at a time arrive at the village from elsewhere. Almost always, the people who came were roamers, passing through with a truckload of stuff from the old towns to sell. This massing of people on the hilltop terrified him. For a moment he couldn't move. Then his heart started up a furious pounding, and he scrambled down off the wind tower so fast that he scraped his hands on the rough boards. "Someone's coming!" he shouted as he passed the workers. They looked up, startled. Torren ran at full speed toward the low cluster of brown buildings at the far end of the field. He turned up a dirt lane, his feet raising swirls of dust, and dashed through the gate in the wall and across the courtyard and in through the open door, all the time yelling, "Someone's coming! Up on the hill! Auntie Hester! Someone's coming!" He found his aunt in the kitchen, and he grabbed her by the waist of her pants and cried, "Come and see! There's people on the hill!" His voice was so shrill and urgent and loud that his aunt dropped the spoon into the pot of soup she'd been stirring and hurried after him. By the time they got outside, others from the village were leaving their houses, too, and looking toward the hillside. The people were coming down. Over the crest of the hill they came and kept coming, dozens of them, more and more, like a mudslide. The people of the village crowded into the streets. "Get Mary Waters!" someone called. "Where's Ben and Wilmer? Find them, tell them to get out here!" Torren was less frightened now that he was surrounded by the townspeople. "I saw them first," he said to Hattie Carranza, who happened to be hurrying along next to him. I was the one who told the news." "Is that right," said Hattie. "We won't let them do anything bad to us," said Torren. "If they do, we'll do something worse to them. Won't we?" But she just glanced down at him with a vague frown and didn't answer. The three village leaders-Mary Waters, Ben Barlow, and Wilmer Dent-had joined the crowd by now and were leading the way across the cabbage field. Torren kept close behind them. The strangers were getting nearer, and he wanted to hear what they would say. He could see that they were terrible-looking people. Their clothes were all wrong-coats and sweaters, though the weather was warm, and not nice coats and sweaters but raggedy ones, patched, unraveling, faded, and grimy. They carried bundles, all of them: sacks made of what looked like tablecloths or blankets gathered up and tied with string around the neck. They moved clumsily and slowly. Some of them tripped on the uneven ground and had to be helped up by others. In the center of the field, where the smell of new cabbages and fresh dirt and chicken manure was strong, those at the front of the crowd of strangers met the village leaders. Mary Waters stepped to the front, and the villagers crowded up behind her. Torren, being small, wriggled between people until he had a good view. He stared at the ragged people. Where were their leaders? Facing Mary were a girl and a boy who looked only a little older than he was himself. Next to them was a bald man, and next to him a sharp-eyed woman holding a small child. Maybe she was the leader. But when Mary stepped forward and said, "Who are you?" it was the boy who answered. He spoke in a clear, loud voice that surprised Torren, who had expected a pitiful voice from someone so bedraggled. "We come from the city of Ember," the boy said. "We left there because our city was dying. We need help." Mary, Ben, and Wilmer exchanged glances. Mary frowned. "The city of Ember? Where's that? We've never heard of it. " The boy gestured back the way they had come, to the east. "That way," he said. "It's under the ground." Excerpted from The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.