A Single Stone

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Lit Love Book Review brought to you by my love of books. All opinions are my own, this post is not sponsored, and I don't get any compensation from any of these links.

The Basics

Jenna is one of the few chosen girls who slide through the cracks in the mountain to mine the life saving mineral that heats and lights their completely isolated village. Being willing to sacrifice everything for the survival of each member of her community after the loss of her own family, Jenna is dedicated to following all the rules to ensure the safety of her crew. But, when details remembered from the past start mixing with new information that doesn't fit into the narrative of their culture, Jenna begins a journey that will end up redefining her loss, the sacrifice of her family, and even the community she serves.

Why you wouldn't think to pick it up:

Mining? Not really interested in mining. Or minerals. But hey let's give it a try.

Why you definitely should pick it up:

Beautifully written, this engaging story explores how we see ourselves as individuals and how that may differ from our identity as a member of the community. It also explores the boundaries of what we are willing to sacrifice and what sacrifices we require of others.

The great:

Meg McKinlay's lyrical prose breathes life and color into the narrative. I found it poetic at the right times, giving emphasis to the details that matter to the story, while allowing the narrative to move along at the proper times as well. It also created the visual setting and added a bit of magic to the air surrounding the village and its inhabitants, helping to develop the characterization of both settings and characters.

I also enjoyed how the author revealed the mystery that is at the heart of the plot. McKinlay plants the reader into the story and setting immediately and reveals snippets of the main characters back story, the history of the village, and the details surrounding the mysterious circumstances of her parent's deaths in small increments. This allows the reader to process each bit of information at a place in the story when the tone of the current events can mimic or foreshadow the meaning of the past events. The reader can then put the pieces together and come up with multiple hypothesis that may or may not prove true, rather than having a linear progression toward one foreseeable ending.

The not so great:

Contemporary YA readers may be more used to sparse narrative that relies more on plot movements and dialogue to provide the meaning of a story. They may find the lyrical tone of A Single Stone to be a little slower than they are used to. But I personally find it gives the book its visually enchanting and magical characteristics.

A Snippet:

"That evening, she hurried to the Stores, her key clutched in one hand. Her heart pounded, a caged thing beating wildly in her chest."

The Verdict:

A great book combining lyrical prose, fully human characters, visual imagery, and thematic content that will resonate with readers long after they set it down.

A Single Stone
by Meg McKinlay
Published 2015

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