Cover Image: Throwing Stones

Throwing Stones

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

ARC kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

I definitely had mixed feelings on this book. On one hand, I enjoyed the exploration of sexuality and on different religious/spiritual groups but on the other, I disliked the romance aspect of it, dialogue and "Cougar" comparisons.

I thought that the book started well with Jesse's awkward coming out scene to his friend Brad and his parents in particular. We got a real glimpse into his character as he dealt with his inner turmoils about what being gay really means as well as how quick his Christian township was to judge other people unlike their own. Jesse considered this and thought to bridge the divide between the Christian town folk and the Pagan villagers. Jesse started getting involved with a Pagan student in his class who taught him their pagan ways and their spiritual connections to life.

I really enjoyed that aspect to the novel but as Jesse's friendship with him developed, a relationship grew from it that I wasn't particularly sold on. Rowan and Jesse's relationship was more physical and sexual rather than a relationship with true love at the core of it. It seemed more lustful than a typical YA novel which lead me to believe it should've been added to the New Adult genre rather than Young Adult. But it wasn't just full on sexual themes that didn't sell me in the romance department, it was also some of the dialogue. It just seemed so unrealistic especially since at some points long explanations were written to give Jesse some insight into their pagan way of life. While it wasn't necessarily a bad thing, it did seem pretty manual coming from a teenager.

Although I understood the whole idea of spiritual connections to animals, I disliked the way that there were lots of references to cougars in particular. I just wasn't a fan of it. That being said, most of the writing was pretty comprehensible especially with so many metaphors! Even the title was a metaphor with so many meanings attached to it throughout the novel.

All in all, a pretty good book but there were a few things I disliked about it which impacted my final rating.

ACTUAL RATING: 3.4 STARS
Was this review helpful?
Throwing stones is a great book it was nothing like I was expecting , a really wonderful coming of age story about how cultures can clash but don’t need to hate.  I hope we get to visit this community. Again.
Was this review helpful?
An amazing book! There are many sub plots and you get confussed at times, but it's impossible not to get immersed in it. It was more about the Pagan community rather than Jesse being gay and how this affected him, although both parts of the story are storngly intertwined. The characters are really human, with their good and bad sides, but there were several positive scenes in the novel and not as many fights and misunderstandings as I would have expected. The groove? I loved it! It may be an utopic version of a Pagan community, but I love it nonetheless, and hell, who can tell us there's not such a place like this in real life? I'd reather think there is, and I'm so eager to visit it I cannot stress it enough. A marvelous tale about kindness, acceptance, communication and the power of love.
Was this review helpful?
I have a few thoughts about this novel which left me with mixed feelings, so I hope I can convey everything clearly.

I don't think it's marketed in the right category... I'm not sure paranormal romance fits, especially the romance part. Maybe YA fantasy? Anyway, this is the least of my issues with it.

The novel starts out really well, it's engaging and paints the atmosphere amazingly. You can really feel the animosity between the Christian townsfolk and the Pagan villagers, as well as Jesse's, the main character's, inner turmoil. He struggles with coming out to his family and the aftermath, as especially his father and brother turn their backs on him.

Because of the atmosphere that is so eerie and maybe a bit dark and spooky (specifically the Halloween celebrations of the village), I honestly thought something bad was going to happen. It felt like something ominous was coming, but all that happened was that Jesse started being friends with a villager guy who's in his class, and learning about their traditions and way of life.

My biggest issue from about 30% onwards were some weird /awkward phrases that often made me cringe. It was completely different from the tight narration of the first third. I am not sure if only this first part was looked through by an editor or if more attention was given to it, but the rest had typos, names of same character spelt differently, unrealistic dialogue and just magically dropped plot devices (ex: tornado warning only coming 5 minutes beforehand), which made me think 'yeah right' (deus ex machina, but not exactly). It's a real shame, because the last two thirds fell flat and felt anticlimactic after the beginning was so well set up.

I also didn't really feel the romance... Jesse's love interest, Ronan, is a bit of a coarse guy. I think their relationship was more physical. Also wasn't a fan of the cougar comparisons, it was just strange.

I think the title is absolutely perfect, it has so many meanings in the novel! I also think the themes and symbols were really powerful and cohesive! And although I am glad it was clarified what bisexuality really means, all the explanations (not just the ones about sexuality, but re: Paganism, made it feel like a manual, so 2 stars from me.
Was this review helpful?
A detailed look into Paganism that was truly fascinating, with a cute and engaging m/m love story as well.!
Was this review helpful?
Throwing Stones is a beautiful coming-of-age story about a teenager named Jesse who is dealing with coming out to his religious family, friendship, love and so on.
In the beginning of the story, he is quickly drawn to Griffin, who is Pagan. Consequently, he gets to know more about the "Village", a community of Pagans. There's always been this perpetual tention between them and the Christians living in the town.
As the story goes on, and as Jesse spends more time with the villagers, he finds love, acceptance and a sense of belonging. In addition, he meets this mysterious Pagan boy, Ronan, who he falls in love with. This story had its ups and downs, but it was enjoyable and compulsively readable regardless. The characters felt very real and well-written and the witing style was beautiful.
Highly recommended.

*copy provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I was given this book as an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Jesse Bryce is a gay teenager living in rural Oklahoma. After coming out to his Christian family, he feels alienated by those who are close to him, who do not seem to understand him in the way he would like. Having befriended his crush Griffin Holyoke, a pagan boy who lives in the village, Jesse finds himself curious of the pagan community, which seems to accept him more willingly than his own family. He finds himself fascinated by the glimpses he catches of paganism and slowly approaches the people living in the village. However, there is a lot of history between the pagans and the Christians and secrets keep adding up slowly. 

Robin Reardon’s Throwing Stones deals with themes such as acceptance, inclusion and religious beliefs. It presents an interesting portrayal of paganism and it lays out its aspects quite clearly for the reader, as the protagonist is new to them. To me, this was the most fascinating aspect of this reading experience. Despite having previous knowledge of this subject, I found it laid out this subject in a way that was intuitive and quite interesting to newcomers who might be prone to learning about it. 

The story develops organically and at times a bit slowly but its path is quite clear from the initial pages of the book. I found the characters to be somewhat two-dimensional. Because the conflict between the pagan and Christian community is one of the main themes in the story, it does not come as a surprise that most of the characters are quite narrow-minded because they are firm in the beliefs that they have had throughout their lives. However, at times it felt like in their way of thinking they were being particularly dense and ignorant, most of all Jesse himself. 
Despite this, I think Throwing Stones had some redeeming qualities. An example of this is the portrayal of the romance between the main character and his love interest, which develops very organically and with mutual respect.
 
I would recommend Throwing Stones to LGBT fans and people who are interested in approaching fiction books about paganism.
Was this review helpful?
~ ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ~

Jesse's story kept me up all night to finish it. It was unputdownable, if I may use this "word". 
The description says all you need to know before diving in. The writing style has a perfect flow and it makes it very hard to decide where to take a break.
5+ stars, fully recommended!
Was this review helpful?
I first want to thank Netgalley, Victory Editing NetGalley Co-Op, and Robin Reardon for providing a copy for review!

Throwing Stones is an extremely moving queer coming-of-age story of a Christian teenager navigating religious, family, and community prejudices within a conservative rural Oklahoma town.

Jesse Bryce came to realize that people saw in him only a reflection of their own preconceived ideas of what he was, which was due to a foundation filled with fear and misunderstanding.  There is a sadness and isolation that is felt really deep.  Jesse wants to feel a sense of love and belonging in his life and to be accepted for who he is.  He ends up becoming drawn to Griffin, a pagan teenager who lives in a village outside of town with other pagans.  There is a history of deep hate and violence between the two communities.

These topics are skillfully handled and the story is wholly absorbing.  There is a cast of characters that grow and develop as the story weaves through their daily lives of school, community, and religious/spiritual activities.  There is a romance that begins between Jesse and another male character -- and there are a few sexual scenes that occur throughout the story.  These scenes cover around 4-5 pages in total and were not entirely fade-to-black but written more so with a younger audience in mind.

Robin Reardon has complete control over her story and her style.  She is careful to avoid sensationalizing the parallels of coming out within a deep rooted Christian family with the prejudices and judgment towards the pagan community.  About halfway through, the story turns in a direction that brought tears to my eyes -- love and kindness begin tearing down walls and bridges begin forming.  It’s a journey of self-discovery where forgiveness, love and perspective are overall themes.
Was this review helpful?
DNF after reading Chapter 1. I was looking for a romance but I couldn't get past the coming out part of the story. This book needs a trigger warning for chapter 1 itself
Was this review helpful?
Throwing Stones takes place in the small town of Himlen, Oklahoma, and follows seventeen-year-old young Jesse Bryce, who has just come out to his ultra-conservative parents and brother as gay.  They didn't take the news as well as he'd hoped and are having a difficult time accepting him, making life at home difficult for Jesse..  

But after a chance meeting with Griffin Holyoke, a handsome pagan boy, Jesse subsequently finds himself strangely drawn to the "Village" - the nearby community of Pagans who are ostracized and treated with contempt and disdain by the townies. The villagers have been accused of everything bad that happens in town, including witchcraft, devil worship, slaughtering black cats, and even vampirism.

But as Jesse sneaks off to the village to learn more, he witnesses strange yet beautiful, intense, and beguiling rituals that bring him a sense of peace, belonging, and acceptance.  To confuse matters even more, Jesse falls in love with a mysterious pagan boy who ends up exposing Jesse to a world he could never have imagined. 

Jesse then takes it upon himself to bridge the hostile gap between the villagers and the townspeople.  At home, he is doubly challenged as he attempts to make his family understand his homosexuality as well as accept the villagers.  

Of course, one cannot be the bravest person in town and not expect pushback from those a little less enlightened and this was certainly the case here.  But it is through this pushback that the author illustrates nicely how intolerance and fear of the unknown can cloud people's judgment of others and create unnecessary rifts and divisions.

What we have here then,  is a not just a coming out story but rather a mesmerizing account about the clash between the local Christians and Pagans.  I typically shy away from books about religion, but the author expertly handled both religions with sensitivity and compassion.  This is also a story about acceptance and overcoming hatred and prejudice.  Though Jesse's coming out does play an essential part in the narrative, it is secondary to the larger issue of the divisiveness of the community.  

Though there are tense moments here, this ended up being a lovely, heart-warming story that brought tears to my eyes several times. This was a provocative book with a richly developed plot and complex, multilayered characters.  I especially loved Jesse, our main character, and it is through his perspective that the story is told. He's brave, likable, empathetic, and determined, and it was so much fun getting to know him.  

I also loved the various themes surrounding rocks and stones, both literally and figuratively, which worked wonderfully in the narrative.  Additional themes included religious tolerance/intolerance, paganism, faith, spirituality, first love, hatred, prejudice, bullying, ignorance, community, loyalty, building bridges, forgiveness, acceptance, and even spirit animals.  

All in all, this was a lovely, memorable, and moving book, and I absolutely loved it. I hope the author writes more stories set in this world, and I'd love to revisit these characters once again.
Was this review helpful?
A sincere thank you to the publisher, author and Netgalley for providing me an ebook copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This is not my usual genre, I’m more of a crime/thriller reader however this story intrigued me. I absolutely loved it, truly one of the best books I have read. I am extremely pleased and grateful to both for opening up my mind to something totally different.
Was this review helpful?
i really enjoy this book i love the author, keep it up and am expecting more from you and i will refer my family and friends for this book so that they should take a look of it and get thier own copy of this book
Was this review helpful?