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Sarah Nathanson – :
At the book’s start, we are introduced to Grae, the main character, and Marcus, her only friend. Grae and Marcus are day laborers at a construction site, but quickly lose their jobs after a homophobic confrontation. We then jump into these character’s already full lives, where we find out Marcus was kicked out by his parents at 14 and Grae is the black sheep of her family. There is a bit of an exposition dump at the start of the novel, but not unforgivably. Grae and Marcus’s friendship feels a little forced at times, especially when they banter back and forth, and Grae’s rocky relationship with her mother also felt a bit cliched. However, these complex relationships evolve to become more natural and compelling throughout the novel.
As we follow Grae’s journey to heal and overcome events in her past, she becomes a character to root for. I enjoyed the book’s focus on family and mental health and fell in love with it’s characters. However, I did feel like the ending wrapped things up a little too nicely, and would have preferred if the novel ended after one of the emotional climaxes late in the book. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and read it in one sitting. Definitely worth a read.
Sabrina – :
For me, the protagonist was hard to identify with. When I opened the book and it started out with an action scene I was excited and hopeful that I may have found a book that keeps me engaged. I have to read all sorts of books as an English student. That may have ruined my appetite for the times I read for my own pleasure. I look for characters with depth and personality. Stone Gardens introduced me to characters that lack both.
10% into the kindle ebook I still had no idea who Grae was. All I experienced were scenes between characters I realized I had encountered so many times in other works. The dialogs were nothing new and at times, for lack of a better word, seemed forced and rather preachy.
I suppose the novel has its moments but overall it tried too hard.