July 20, 2011

The Screaming Stone by J.P. Osterman

The Screaming Stone is a YA adventure/mystery novel that follows main characters Marcie and her cousin Robbie as they search for truth and treasure.

It all begins when visiting the cemetery after old Uncle Charlie dies.  Marcie follows Robbie around the graves and notices that he's trying to break into one!  In their ancestors gravestone, they find a special gold locket and a scroll with a guide to the family's secrets, past and possibly hidden fortune.  This leads the pair on an adventure through cold and creepy cellars and down long and dark caverns, with Marcie's kid brother Frankie in tow.  They are fueled by mysterious Irish folktales and the desire to save their family's farm and will go to great lengths to find whatever treasures await them.

Basically, that's the straight synopsis.  But, aside from that storyline, there are other themes taking place here.  For one, Marcie's mom is saddened by an old loss and copes by being an irresponsible and in-compassionate mother.  Her uncle, Finn, has been outcasted from the family for over 15 years due to something that happend while he was a teenager.  Marcie is afraid of him, but doesn't know all the details.  Her grandparents are from Ireland and are constantly telling them tales from the old country that make their imaginations run wild and give them a strong belief in mysticism and magic.  Robbie has some sort of disability, and although it's never named in the book, it seems to be some sort of Autism or Asburgers.

In my personal opinion, I felt like their were too many themes and situations kept coming up instead of wrapping up.  One second they're talking about Irish kings and the next about the Civil War and even dinosaurs.  It was all just a little far fetched.  Marcie is a 13 year old, but at times behaves stubbornly and childish... not in a teenager way, but more like a 10 year old.  Even Frankie, who's supposed to be 8, at one point needs to go down for a nap... more like a 5 year old.   The writing at times felt a little sporadic.  Some things went into great detail, and then at other times she skimmed through time so fast that it didn't lead to any kind of emotional push or pull.

The book is labeled as YA, but it feels a little younger than that even... maybe more appropriate for 4-7th graders... I do not think high schoolers will enjoy this read.  Although I personally enjoyed the action scenes, I felt that it was too jumpy overall.

3 stars.

This book was provided to me for the purpose of this review.  This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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