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Book review: 'How I Came to Sparkle Again' is a story on learning to love again

Published: Saturday, Oct. 6 2012 3:00 p.m. MDT

"HOW I CAME TO SPARKLE AGAIN," by Kaya McLaren, St. Martin's Press, $24.99, 337 pages (f)

There is "luv" (casual love or mutual affection) and then there is "kidney love" (when you love someone enough to give them your kidney).

Author Kaya McLaren introduces three characters who are all on the verge of giving up on what she describes as kidney love.

Jill Anthony returns home after a failed first day back to work after her miscarriage, only to discover her husband in bed with another woman. Betrayed and shocked, she runs from the house and immediately hits the road for the one place she knows she can heal and hide — Sparkle, Colo., with her Uncle Howard and childhood best friend, Lisa Carlucci.

Lisa is determined to never get involved in a serious relationship and never ever get married. But that doesn't stop her from having several casual male guests in her bed. That is, until one day she decides she isn't a motel and decides to turn her life around.

Cassie Jones is only 10 years old but has had to suffer through the death of her mother. Angry with the world and those who seem to have happiness when she had hers stripped from her, Cassie shuts everyone out.

When Jill arrives in Sparkle and shows up on Lisa's doorstep just as the ski town is gearing up for winter, the lives of these three people begin to intertwine.

McLaren introduces several fun and complex characters with whom readers can relate and become attached to. Instead of introducing random characters whose relevance in the story is unimportant, each person introduced creates a town that begins to feel familiar and part of a home.

McLaren keeps a good balance between the thoughts and stories of Jill, Lisa and Cassie, making their stories flow well together instead of becoming a tedious back and forth scene change. "How I Came to Sparkle Again" is an easy read that keeps you entertained the whole time.

McLaren draws in short, passing anti-Mormon moments that are irrelevant to the story by detailing short emails to Jill from her Mormon parents who are serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The exchanges did not add to the story and seemed random and unneccesarily negative.

This book contains mildly descriptive sexual content and refers to and addresses sexual themes regularly throughout the novel. Some profane language is also used as well as references to drugs and alcohol.

If you go ...

What: Kaya McLaren book signings

When: Saturday, Oct. 13, 2 p.m.

Where: Dolly's Bookstore, 510 Main St., Park City

Web: www.kayamclaren.com, dollysbookstore.com

Also ...

When: Saturday, Oct. 13, 6 p.m.

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com

Hikari Loftus is a graduate from the University of Utah.

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