by Robin Reardon
My rating: 4 stars
Publisher: IAM Books
Publication Date: November 13, 2015
Gere: Fantasy | Gay Fiction
Print Length: 327 pages
In this paranormal romance, 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 other's religions or each other's sexual orientation, everyone benefits from learning the truth. And everyone benefits from forgiveness.
Throwing Stones by Robin Reardon
When a teen boy realizes he is gay, he is faced with telling his family and eventually the world. Living in a small-minded “Christian” town, Jesse knows of the hypocrisy most of his Christian neighbors are experts at displaying, thanks to the small village of Pagans that live just outside of town. Seen as devil worshippers and ritualistic killers, no one really knows what happens within the group and no effort is made to welcome them as neighbors. As Jesse comes out to his parents and best friend, he begins to see how much these pagans have in common with him and how he will be ostracized for his sexual identity.
Jesse finds himself going to the small village and finding a group of people who, while maybe different in their beliefs or how they practice their religion, they are kind, far less judgmental and far more accepting. Then there are the supernatural things they appear to be able to do, so there is more to them than meets the eye.
It is among these pagans that Jesse finds a boy to share his love with and like any young romance they grow closer in time. When a pagan is killed for his efforts to save a young Christian girl from being raped, Jesse knows he must do something to change the way both his town and the pagans feel about each other. In doing so, is he hoping to ease his own problems with being accepted as the same boy he has always been?
Robin Reardon’s Throwing Stones is a well-written tale of the trials of being different. While Ms. Reardon presents her tale in such a way that it reads like a wonderful young adult tale, there are definitely mature and graphic sexual scenes that may be inappropriate for anyone under seventeen. Jesse is the kind of boy it would be a joy to know, caring, kind and not afraid to stand up for fair treatment for all. Sadly, many of the supporting characters that make up the town definitely give it the atmosphere of a town caught up in small-minded thinking and fear of change. Bullies are slapped on the wrist for cruelties to others, because their “connections” and innocents are ridiculed for being different.
Follow Jesse as he matures, accepts himself and accepts that he can only try to change the world one small piece at a time.
I received this copy from the author in exchange for my honest review.