Thursday, 8 January 2015

Review of Stones


By Polly Johnson


Coo is trying to cope with the hand that life has dealt her. At sixteen, she feels she’s too young to have lost her older brother, Sam, to alcoholism. She’s skipping school to avoid the sympathy and questions of her friends and teachers, and shunning her parents, angry that they failed to protect her, and desperate to avoid having to face the fact that, towards the end, she began to wish Sam would leave forever – even die. Then, one day, truanting by the Brighton seafront, Coo meets Banks, a homeless alcoholic and she’s surprised to discover that it is possible for her life to get more complicated.Despite warnings from her friends and family, Coo and Banks develop an unlikely friendship. Brought together through a series of unexpected events, strange midnight feasts, a near drowning and the unravelling of secrets, together they seek their chance for redemption. That is, until Coo’s feelings start getting dangerously out of hand.

Source: Goodreads

My Rating: 4.4 / 5

My Thoughts:

**I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**
I need to stop reading such depressing books, and what's worse is that I actually enjoy them!

Stones is told from Coo's perspective (her name is Corinne but she prefers Coo, Lord knows why). Her violent brother, Sam, was an alcoholic and it's been almost a year since he died from a heart attack. Sam was violent, abusive and generally made life hell for her family, especially for Coo, so I kind of understand why she's glad he's gone from her life, even though she feels beyond guilty for feeling that way.  

Her guilt eats away at her, she has no friends, the distance between Coo and her parents is widening and she's still afraid of her brother even though she knows he's dead. Coo resents her parents for not protecting her when Sam was alive and regardless of the effort they make now, she can't bring herself to forgive them, especially since they're acting like Sam was a saint when he was in fact a monster. 

There's a lot going on in this book: Sam's death, Coo's acting up and her family problems, Joe's secrets, the recent attacks on young girls / boys etc. Personally, this book was about Coo trying to overcome her guilt from her brother's death. She does this by befriending Banks; the drunk, homeless man who lives by the sea. Coo tries relentlessly to help Banks improve his life and to understand why he won't accept her help and reverts back to old habits. I think deep down Coo is trying to understand what went wrong with Sam, and why things turned out the way they did. Perhaps she thinks that she couldn't help Sam but she can try to help Banks instead?

I really enjoyed this book because of the depth to the stories. It's not your average romantic young adult tale but it was one of those books that you need to read once in a while just to understand that not everyone has a happily ever after. Not only do we see the problems of alcoholism, we also understand why it becomes such an issue for people like Sam and Banks, and the difficulties in moving on from this addiction. 

We learn that it isn't only the alcoholics who suffer, sometimes the people who suffer the most are those that watch but are helpless in bringing about a change. You can't help someone who won't help themselves.

Zed (:

Favourite Quotes (so many awesome ones in this book):

'Be yourself,' it said. 'You can't be anyone else.'The silliness of it made me laugh and I texted back in the chilly darkness:'Be someone else. Anything's an improvement.'To my surprise, he sent one straight back: 'Love you just the way you are.' And there we were, in our separate bedrooms before anyone else was awake, miles apart, but just a fingertip away.

I didn't see the Riley brothers after that. They'd failed the test. Once someone dumps on me, they're done. No second chances. Sometimes that's all that's saved me. 

'I've heard that a heavy blow in the wrong place can stop a heart,' I say, 'so why not a thought? Why not an evil wish?'

'Forget it,' she says. 'It's just that sometimes we don't notice what's right in front of us, because it's too close to see.'

'You can't,' he says. 'You have to think ahead. If you keep walking away you'll never get back.'

'Why is it that when we really want to punish someone for how they've made us feel, it's usually ourselves we end up hurting the most?'

I think it's just that life is unfair. That the more you want something, the less likely it is to happen. If there are gods, I think they like messing with us.

I see something. Finally, I see. Sometimes it's just not that easy for people to choose. Sometimes it's got nothing to do with who you love best. 

Maybe it's both our faults, or maybe it's neither. Maybe it's just a thing that happened. 


  1. Thank you. I really appreciate your comments and am glad you enjoyed it despite the subject matter.

    1. It was really good, Polly. As you can tell, I kept stopping to highlight quotes!

    2. Yes you did. Love that you did that.