Thanks to partners NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the digital ARC of Helena Hunting's When Sparks Fly in exchange for an honest review. The book will be out on September 21!
When Sparks Fly is a friends-to-lovers, open door romance about Avery Spark and Declan McCormick who have been friends since the first day of college and roommates for years. In college, their casual friendship was strengthened when Declan stood by Avery’s side after an ugly breakup. Avery had been dating their mutual friend Sam, but when Declan found out that Sam was cheating, he told Avery and chose their friendship. Now in their upper 20s, Avery and Declan are anchors for each other.
When Avery is in a car accident for which Declan blames himself, things change. Avery’s injuries are serious, and Declan, eager to make up for his mistake, vows that he’ll be the one to take cover of her as she recovers. This is a new side to their relationship, and each becomes aware of feelings that they’ve never allowed to grow.
Overall, this romance worked for me. I like the friends-to-lovers trope, and Hunting’s creation of believable back stories for both characters shows why each is hesitant to completely trust someone else. There were parts of the novel that felt repetitive, and the dialogue was sometimes too heavy—it felt more like speeches than actual conversation—but I like the tenderness of this couple and the way that they put in the time and effort to work through their relationship difficulties.
Hunting is a reliable author for me, and while I slightly prefer her rom coms, I’d recommend When Sparks Fly to romance fans.
I'm Jen Moyers, co-host of the Unabridged Podcast and an English teacher.