Nathan Miller is a kindred spirit from North Carolina. Set in the 1970’s, this novel follows young Nate during the summer before college as he begins a budding romance with former classmate, Becky Jenkins. Nate battles his inner-demons and continues to try to do the right thing while exposed to new surroundings and without the authority of or his family’s guidance.
“It seems to me on the nights we used to walk in the dark when you was just a moony-eyed girl that you liked the sinner in me just fine!”
The Sparks Fly Upward, is an unexpected story about self-identity. Unlike many of his wealthy peers, Nate is not and works incredibly hard to afford the life that he desires. Author Jon Correll conveys this coming-of-age experience of inequality amidst inner-class struggles alongside a conservative upbringing in a religious household and the emotional and mental toll it can have on a person as they transition from adolescence into adulthood. Correll gives Nate a slight childish Jekyll and Hyde-like persona, exhibiting an unintentional dark undertone when he observes other people’s lives while also possessing an incredible selflessness when thinking of others.
The Sparks Fly Upward is beautifully written, evokes experiences readers can relate to, and is filled with unexpected twists from start to finish. Adults and youth alike looking for a wholesome coming-of-age story about the struggles of growing up will find this book’s captivating prose emotionally inspirational and one you surely won’t forget.
Reviewed by Janessa Forney-Heimbuch