What’s it all about?:
Behind the ivy-clad walls of an exclusive boarding school, lurks a sinister web of corruption, scandal, and conspiracy. American student Raven Stone has noticed something is horribly wrong. First there were the unexplained disappearances. Then there were the teachers’ lies. And now the death threats …Also entangled in the disturbing turn of events is the enigmatic Kieran Storm – a fellow student with a killer intellect and a body to die for. He’s heading for trouble and taking her with him. Raven can feel herself falling in love, but can she trust a boy she knows almost nothing about?
What did I think?:
Joss Stirling is the second author I heard talk at the recent Oxford University Press bloggers evening, and I’m not familiar with any of her other work so I was excited to read Storm and Stone, the first in a new series. Joss Stirling is a British author and may be more familiarly known as Julia Golding, although she also publishes under the pseudonym Eve Edwards. In 2007 she was selected by Waterstones as one of their 25 authors of the future, and has had many teenagers in raptures with her Finding Sky young adult trilogy.
Personally, I found Storm and Stone a really thrilling read. It has a bit of everything for the enthusiastic Young Adult fanatic, you’ve got your romance (obviously!), adventure, action, intrigue and mystery, which when all combined together provide a great mixture to excite and entertain from a clearly gifted author. Our main character is a young girl called Raven who attends a very exclusive private school where she mingles with rich, very privileged teenagers but stands out like a sore thumb as the only reason she can attend is because her grandfather is the janitor there. Of course we know that kids can be cruel, and her difference in social class leads to her experiencing incredibly spiteful behaviour from the other students. So, I was already on her side and ready to fight her corner but then Stirling ramps up the intensity by placing two new and very mysterious male students into the mix whom Raven is able to befriend. But there is an ulterior motive behind Joe and Kieran’s presence in the school. The boys are part of an investigative unit that are trying to uncover mysterious goings-on within the school. Their mission is to try and determine why when students are taken away for a period that they return completely different, almost as if a personality transplant has taken place! This is also linked to many suspected dodgy dealings behind the scenes among the wealthiest of the parents. Joe and Kieran must try to find out what exactly is going on whilst remaining undetected. It would be slightly easier for them perhaps if Kieran could stop himself falling in love with Raven…
This book had me pretty much hooked from the beginning. I found it to be such a strong plot line with both intriguing and likeable characters, that has the potential to turn into a great series. At the bloggers evening, Joss Stirling read out one of my favourite parts of the novel, where Kieran first meets Raven and proceeds to analyse her, almost in a Sherlock Holmesy kind of manner, identifying most of her traits and habits merely from her items of clothing and jewellery. This freaks Raven out considerably as you can imagine, but I loved the way the author then developed their relationship piece by piece and I cannot wait to see how it will continue and grow in further books. Furthermore, I enjoyed how the author dealt with the more emotive issues, for example the loss of Raven’s parents, the relationship between Kieran and his own mother and the ostracisation of Raven from her fellow classmates which I think many teenagers will be able to relate too. Joss is a big fan of detective fiction and one fun part of our evening involved her leading us in a “detective fiction” quiz – fun apart from my shameful score, that is! I think that this book deserves its place within the young adult detective fiction genre, and once again cannot wait to see how the characters will develop over the series.
Joss “Holmes” Stirling?
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Oxford University Press for a fantastic evening (and a sneak peek at the cover art of Joss’ next new book Misty Falls due to be published this October). Oh, and I may now have to check out the Finding Sky trilogy…
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):