Throwing Stones by Robin Reardon
Themes & Genres: LGBTQ, YA/NA, family, religion, acceptance
Something is drawing seventeen-year-old Jesse Bryce toward the community of Pagans who live in “the village,” just outside his rural Oklahoma town. Maybe it’s that he has a crush on Griffin Holyoke, a tall, dark-haired boy with a tree tattooed all up his back. Or maybe it’s that the Pagans accept Jesse for who he is, unlike his family—or his church, where he hears that being gay is a sin.
After a man from the village is murdered while trying to prevent an assault on a girl from the town, Jesse’s confusion at the town’s unsympathetic reaction inspires him to set a mission for himself: to build a bridge of acceptance between the town and the village.
As Jesse defies his parents and continues to visit the village, he witnesses mysterious rituals that haunt him with their beauty and intensity. And he falls in love with one enigmatic, mercurial Pagan who opens his eyes to a whole new world.
This first-person story explores what can happen when we make conclusions about others based on too little information, or on the wrong information. Whether we’re misunderstanding each others’ religions or each others’ sexual orientation, everyone benefits from learning the truth. And everyone benefits from forgiveness.
What I think of the book:
I’ve mention this online before, but when I think of books about LGBT youth and their families, Robin Reardon comes to mind. I’ve read two novels by her and although they had romance, the themes of family and acceptance played a major role in them. That, and the motif of waiting.
I like how the author explores her characters’ sexuality without it being explicit. There’s time and books for that, but here you get a slow romance that’s happening along with everything else in the main character’s life.
We see him go through a very tough, emotional time as if he keeps quiet about his sexuality, he can’t be himself, but if he opens up about it, he could face rejection. The reactions of Jesse coming out are very realistic and so are the thoughts that go through his own head. He is a character that I believe the gay youth will connect to.
The theme of acceptance isn’t just about Jesse’s sexuality though.
Like in Waiting for Walker, Robin Reardon manages to tackle many issues and aspects of the main character’s life without overwhelming her readers. Here we are introduced to the pagan community, the prejudice that they face and the way they are ostracized by the non-pagans in town.
Jesse’s desire to be accepted and to build a bridge between “the town” (Christians) and “the village” (pagans) is very palpable and contagious and I’m sure that like me you’ll find yourself cheering him on and rooting for his success.
Who would I recommend this book to? I’d recommend Throwing Stones to people who enjoy LGBT Fiction and more specifically coming out stories, to those who are curious about pagan practices, but most of all to young readers who are struggling with accepting their sexuality and coming out.
My rating: (5 out of 5 stones)
Would I re-read this book? Yes.
Am I interested in other books by this author? Yes.
Where can you buy the book?
- amazon.com (link takes you straight to the book)
Add Throwing Stones to your Goodreads shelf (link takes you straight to the book)
Other books by this author that I’ve already reviewed:
- Waiting for Walker (standalone | LGBT, YA, Romance, family, gay issues, transgender)
- And If I Fall (previously The Revelations of Jude Connor | standalone | Gay Fiction, Psychological, religion, coming of age)
- On Chocorua – Trailblazer, Book 1 (this book can be read as a standalone | YA LGBTQ Fiction, coming out, trauma, addiction)
- On The Kalalau Trail – Trailblazer, Book 2 (YA LGBTQ Fiction, self-discovery)
Want to know a little bit about Robin? Read the interview she gave me earlier this week!
Have you read Throwing Stones?
What did you think of it?
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