- Book Title: Throwing Stones
- Book Series: standalone
- Author: Robin Reardon
- Publisher: IAM Books (November 13, 2015)
- Book Length: 327 pages
- Genre: Young Adult
- Reviewed by: Petra
- Rating: 5 Star
Are you religious? Or, a better question would probably be, do you have Faith? Is there a particular belief system you ‘belong’ to? I was raised Reformed Protestant… one of the many movements within Christianity, also sometimes called Calvinism. Not that I’m particularly religious, and when I turned fifteen my mother allowed me to make my own decision regarding religion; it was the last time I attended a Sunday service. The only reasons I now attend church is for weddings and funerals.
There were several reasons for my break with the church: one, I couldn’t believe in a God who allowed so much heartache and pain to exist in His world; two, I didn’t see the point of going to church when God was supposedly all around us; three, I didn’t want to believe in a God who I had to fear at the same time. But I did more than stop going to church. Even back then, I saw how religion was being used for all the wrong reasons and I couldn’t see good reason why I should follow a belief system that would ‘attack’ people for their sexuality, culture, background, or religion. And so, I stopped following it. Instead, I started learning about the various belief systems—Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, polytheism, agnosticism—so that I could make an informed decision as to what I wanted to believe. In the end, I wasn’t comfortable with any of them. Each system had its good points, offset by their individual bad points. I decided that I would create my own ‘religion’. Not one that I would preach, but one that I would live by nonetheless.
Much like religious leaders who pick the parts of their religion that suit them best, I, rather selfishly, picked little bits from the belief systems I looked at that I liked; that, for one reason or another, meant something to me. But, that process also taught me a lot about the various religions and it gave me a new respect for the people who follow their religion. Only by talking with people about their religion, by learning from them, can we dissuade the ‘fear’ that causes us to lash out at anyone who believes differently.
Often in stories, religion gets bypassed. Not that it is entirely ignored, but it is more often used to show the darker side of religion, rather than the support and hope it can provide. In Throwing Stones, Robin Reardon actively incorporates religion. Or, belief systems would be more accurate. Catholicism (in this case) still gets the portrayal of being exclusive, but effort is being made to change this. The Villagers are ‘different’: heathens, monsters even, who steal babies to drink their blood at fiery rituals in the middle of the woods. But Jesse learns that the rituals the villagers have are beautiful and intense, rather than scary and wrong.
When one of the villagers dies in the attempt to save a girl from the town from rape, the response from his ‘own’ people astounds Jesse and he decides to bring the two people together. Even against the will of his parents, as well as his boyfriend. But, if he and the Pagan Ronan are ever to be together, acceptance will have to be found. This effort gains momentum when Jesse and some friends start a TVA in their school in the hopes to build a bridge, an Alliance, between the Townies and the Villagers.
Throwing Stones is filled with magnificent characters, each with their own flaws, but also some brightly shining lights. Even if you do have to look quite deeply to find that light; in the end, every single one of them shines. As the Christians learn from (and about) the Pagans, and the Pagans learn not all Christians are hypocritical, the characters grow. For better or worse… after all, some people refuse to be educated.
The setting, a rural town in Oklahoma and the surrounding country, is breathtaking. Not to mention incredibly detailed and well suited for the followers of a polytheistic (belief in multiple gods, often in some form of hierarchy) or pantheistic (God is everywhere, and everything, but is not transcendent and may have no distinct consciousness) nature-worshipping religion.
The plot is strong and I’m glad such a positive light has been cast on believe and the power, support, and hope it can bring to its followers. This story shows that you can believe and still—or, perhaps,
because of it—show acceptance and love to someone who believes differently, who lives their life differently.
The editing is solid; there is nothing there to detract from what is a magnificent story of inclusion and acceptance, equality and diversity.
This story has left me hopeful and uplifted; I hope it will do the same for you. An easy 5 out of 5 stars.
What if you fell in love with a Pagan?
And what if you were both gay? What would happen next?
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 others’ religions or each others’ sexual orientation, everyone benefits from learning the truth. And everyone benefits from forgiveness.
Go to the Author Page for Robin Reardon for Book Listing and Social Media links
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These are two links to YouTube videos about Paganism; as the story is for young/new adults, and discusses a religion people often know little about, I wanted to include some links people can follow to learn more about Paganism.