Book Review: A KIND OF SPARK by Elle McNicoll (Middle Grade Monday)

Title in yellow on a blue and pink blurred background
Genre: Contemporary
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 5 stars
Series: standalone


Book cover for A KIND OF SPARK: title in yellow on pink and blue hair

11-year-old Addie she campaigns for a memorial in memory of the witch trials that took place in her Scottish hometown.

She knows there’s more to the story of these ‘witches’, just like there is more to hers.

Can Addie challenge how the people in her town see her, and her autism, and make her voice heard?

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Contemporary is always so hit and miss with me. I prefer my books to be speculative – to be another world and/or have magic. Something different to this world, that can be so tough to interact with (and just tough anyway.)

And then there are some contemporaries books that just click for me, and this was one of them.

I was sucked in from the start and devoured the book in a few hours, wanting to see Addie triumph and gain understanding from those around her. I wanted to see her beat the odds and make the world kinder, more accepting. I also just loved following along with a heroine who’s like me.

I’m currently in the middle of an Autism diagnosis. There’s a fair bit of baggage that comes with that, unlearning a lot of things society tells you if you don’t fit in, and I wish I’d had this book as a kid. It would have made me feel seen with the things I was struggling with. While my autism doesn’t manifest in the exact same way as Addie (no one has exactly the same and mine is a little less intrusive to daily life), I could see so many of my experiences with her. I haven’t seen that before, and it was such a wonderful experience to see something I could relate to so vividly on page.

This book tackles some really important topics – bullying and dismissal by adults who don’t want to deal with anything different to them, erasure of the past, burnout due to masking, bullying by kids and others enabling it by standing by, and overstimulation. It’s a lot in a very short book, but it’s such an important set. And the piling on of these issues one atop the other really helps to show the constant of things internal and external you’re dealing with as an autistic.

I will be putting her second book (SHOW US WHO YOU ARE) at the top of my list of MG to read once my current stock is depleted!

Read my reviews of other books by Elle McNicoll:




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