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Swallowing Stones

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  1,827 Ratings  ·  288 Reviews
It begins with a free and joyful act--but from then on, Michael finds it impossible even to remember what it felt like to be free and joyful.  When he fires his new rifle into the air on his seventeenth birthday, he never imagines that the bullet will end up killing someone.  But a mile away, a man is killed by that bullet as he innocently repairs his roof.  And Michael ke ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by Ember (first published 1997)
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Sheemea Catley They dont really have a relationship. They just attend the same High school while Amy is 2 grades above Jenna in the same grade as Michael.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Karol
Apr 18, 2010 Karol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This book was so mysterious and captivating, I could not put it down. Michael received a gun on his seventeenth birthday, and fires it into the woods. That bullet hits a man that was working on his roof and kills him. After firing the rifle Michael hears on the radio that the police is looking for the gun that matches the bullet.The police start rummaging Michael's neighbors, looking for the rifle. As all of this goes on, Michael becomes paranoid and tries to convince himself that that bullet di
...more
Stacy
May 29, 2012 Stacy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I HATE the ending of this book!!! I seriously want back the hours that I wasted reading this book!!! The story had such great suspense, building up to what could have been such a supreme moment of plot, but then it falls flat - no, worse than that, it ceases to exist as a narrative. It's as if the author couldn't write the ending that was destined to exist!! When I am forced to teach this book, which I avoid doing if I can, I have the class stop reading right before the last few pages to have my ...more
Charley Harpole
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Valerie
Feb 27, 2012 Valerie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joselyn Vargas
Jan 09, 2017 Joselyn Vargas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*Spoiler Alert*

Sara
Sep 17, 2012 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The internal conflict that Michael Mackenzie endures throughout the novel Swallowing Stones and the lies he must come up with to cover up his crime are some of the best features of this novel. The novel starts off with Michael Mackenzie carelessly firing off a new riffle he received as a birthday present; what Michael does not know is that his bullet traveled far enough in the air and ended up hitting a man that was fixing his roof. The next day, Michael learns of the man that was killed by a st ...more
Jena Guthrie
Dec 30, 2012 Jena Guthrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Swallowing stones is a story about a seventeen year old boy named Michael who on his birthday recieves a rifle. He shoots one shot in the air, which changes his life; for the worse. A mile away, he has taken the life of a innocent man. As time progresses, Michael finds out he is the murderer. Jenna, the daughter of the man killed, has been completely devistated. Her relationship between her boyfriend and friends begin to change as she starts having dreams about Micheal, the boy in which she neve ...more
Tommy Benson
Mar 11, 2015 Tommy Benson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Swallowing Stones written by Joyce McDonald, is about two characters.Michael who was the one who shot the rifle and killed Jenna’s dad, Jenna is the second main character. Throughout the book they both go through struggles, Michael’s struggle is trying to cover up the killing and Jenna’s is trying to find the murderer, now for the review. This book is god awful it was one of the most boring books I've ever read and I've read the bible, now McDonald does a great job with detail in the book but hi ...more
FANCEYY GURRAL ZARI AYE
This book was so mysterious and captivating, I could not put it down. Michael received a gun on his seventeenth birthday, and fires it into the woods. That bullet hits a man that was working on his roof and kills him. After firing the rifle Michael hears on the radio that the police is looking for the gun that matches the bullet.The police start rummaging Michael's neighbors, looking for the rifle. As all of this goes on, Michael becomes paranoid and tries to convince himself that that bullet di ...more
Deb
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mashfee Alam
Nov 15, 2015 Mashfee Alam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joyce Mcdonald did a great job with creating an immense amount suspense in this book. It starts off with teenager Micheal shooting a rifle on his rooftop as a new years celebrations. The most unexpeccted thing hppened after this. He ended up killing a man from a mile away. As soon a he heard the news, hes been trying ever since to cover up all his tracks so no one would find out it was him. However, he stills feels alot of guilt, as shown when a kid in his school said it was his friend who shot ...more
Taylor Gwinn-bowles
This book was so mysterious and captivating, I could not put it down. Michael received a gun on his seventeenth birthday, and fires it into the woods. That bullet hits a man that was working on his roof and kills him. After firing the rifle Michael hears on the radio that the police is looking for the gun that matches the bullet.The police start rummaging Michael's neighbors, looking for the rifle. As all of this goes on, Michael becomes paranoid and tries to convince himself that that bullet di ...more
Erin Reilly-Sanders
Good, but I was reading rather quickly and didn't really get drawn too far into it. The "dream" scenes with the "Ghost Tree" were vaguely annoying because it sort of steps beyond the realm of realism but are probably necessary to deal with these types of deep feelings, similar to how fantasy can deal with issues of good and evil that would be cheesy in contemporary realistic fiction. The characters felt real and I thought that the realistic part of the ending was nicely and sensitively done.
Jacqueline V
Feb 15, 2015 Jacqueline V rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well written book, i enjoyed how it had different chapters for the different characters point of view on the whole situation that happened with Michael McKenzie and Jenna Wards father!! I would totally read it again:)
Ashley
Mar 14, 2017 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that I just didn't want to put down once I started reading.

The storyline for this book was different than anything I've ever read. Michael shoots a gun up into the air and accidentally kills someone from over a mile away. No one, except for Michael and his best friend, knows who did pulled the trigger. You see Michael's internal struggle throughout the novel and his inability to find the right way to tell the daughter of the man who was struck by his bullet that he's
...more
Tyshawn
Oct 21, 2011 Tyshawn is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This book is mainly about Micheal and Micheal was an ordinary boy until this one unordinary thing happend.On July 4th Micheal fired one shot out of his window with his winchestar rifle that was given to him by his grandfather for his birthday.But Micheal didnt kno that shooting one shot out his window will soon have a effect on him. For blocks away a man was reparing his roof and a bulet struk him and he feel and died right in front of his daughter.Micheal soon found out and just wanted to keep ...more
Elisa Bottesin
Mar 08, 2017 Elisa Bottesin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Un ragazzino, assassino per caso, che comprende in carne propria quanto ogni azione abbia conseguenze.
Ashley
May 09, 2012 Ashley rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-stars
While the book gets off to a pretty slow start, I ended up enjoying it. My expectations may have been a little too high, but once I got about half way through breezed through the second half. In the prologue we find out that Michael’s innocent act of firing his new rifle in the air ends up killing husband and father, Charlie Ward, while he works on his roof about a mile away. After Michael and his best friend Joe, who was with him when he shot the rifle, find out that the bullet took someone’s l ...more
Bomin Keum
As the title presents, this book is about swallowing “stones,” — forcibly taking in things that’s simply unbearable. Michael Mackenzie, within the overly excited atmosphere of his party, shoots his Winchester rifle he got as a present; however, he’s senselessly unaware of what he would become as a result. After a few hours, Jenna Ward, the second main character of the story, discovers her dad lying dead on the ground, who, a few minutes ago were fixing the roof. That night of carefree shooting i ...more
Kirsten
Oct 27, 2011 Kirsten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Swallowing Stones was a pretty good read. I would recommend this book to anybody that likes mystery books or very suspenseful books. I really liked this book because the events in the story could actually happen, as in some mystery books, the events can be a little unrealistic. The story begins at Michael Mackenzie’s 17th birthday party. Little did Michael and his best friend, Joe Sadowski, know that what would happen a few days later would change their lives forever.

During Michael’s party, Mi
...more
Diane Lupton
read for the theme - around 250 pages
Hazel Grace
Dec 13, 2012 Hazel Grace rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
OKAY. There's dumb, there's stupid, and then theres just plain FAGWORTHY.

Can you guess what category this one falls into?

Here's the gist: The back cover plot is totally misleading, the characters are flat, the author "voice" is nonexistent, and, well, THIS BOOK IS S**T. It was so boring, the biggest event of the book happened in the prologue, and the rest was just page filling. And that ending? Yeah, spoiler alert, NOTHING WITH A CAPTIAL "N' HAPPENED.
(beyond here is spoilers, so if you're consid
...more
Lindsay Guin
I will begin by saying "Thank You!" to Chelsea Rutledge for recommending this wonderful novel to me. I can see why it stuck with you for so many years.

I woke up early this morning to finish this before I had to go to work, and I am so glad that I did! I adore Swallowing Stones!

I found the characters easy to engage with. I wept for Jenna. I felt her anxiety. I wanted to reach out and give her a big hug. I was glad that she was able to find some comfort from somewhere unexpected.
I felt Michael's
...more
Ryheem Tribblet
Dec 23, 2009 Ryheem Tribblet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Swallowing Stones is a captivating tale of a 17 year old enjoying his birthday on a 4th of July. The mind behind this novel is Joyce McDonald. She is the author of three children’s books. Joyce writes about a kid named Michael Sadowski who fires his new rifle into the air on his 17th birthday, accidentally striking a man repairing his roof. The world around Michael begins to crumble as he watches silently.
The dead man’s daughter, Jenna, grieves while no longer feeling warm when her boyfriend is
...more
Shaquille Daniels
title:swallowing stones

author:joyce mcdonald

rate:5

theme:This is a book about two lives that were going to be changed forever. Michael MacKenzie and and a friend decide to shoot of a rifle on the Fourth of July, the had no idea of the repercussion that it could cause when they did it. The bullet that they fired traveled four blocks over and hit a man named Charlie Ward in the head when he was fixing his roof. He had a wife and a daughter named Jenna (another main character). Michael finally reali
...more
Alex Wasko
Jan 10, 2013 Alex Wasko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Swallowing Stones was a good book. I liked reading it because it was an easy read and I thought the overall story was pretty good. I thought the drama and the problem Michael had to face was interesting to read. Like a said it was a very interesting to read through and trying to imagine what it would be like if it was you.

Swallowing Stones is a book about two lives that are connected to each other throughout the book. A Kid named Michael Mackenzie just turned 17 and his grandfather got him a rif
...more
Sara
May 22, 2008 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 9th-12th grade
Shelves: fiction, young-adult
On his seventeenth birthday, Michael receives a Winchester rifle as a gift from his grandfather. He and his friend Joe take it out into the woods behind his house and shoot it into the air in celebration.

Across town, an innocent man who is fixing his roof is struck in the head by the bullet and dies instantly. His teenage daughter, Jenna, is witness to this tragic accident.

This is an interesting and compelling story, made more so by McDonald's narrative style. The chapters of the book alternate
...more
April
Jun 02, 2008 April rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, school, 2008
Told from two points of view: Michael, who is showing off his antique Winchester and fires a shot into the air, and Jenna, who watches as her dad catches the bullet in the head two blocks away.

Jenna's grief seems very real, and realistic; there are no funny lines, no snappy dialogue to defer her sorrow. It takes her a good while to even accept the reality of her father's death, and the author does a good job of showing how Jenna's just going through the motions of life, not really connecting at
...more
Hannah
Mar 11, 2015 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Swallowing Stones was a pretty good book overall. The beginning of the book starts out kind of fast so there is no need to worry about it dragging on and being boring. After one of the main characters, Michael, gets a gun for his seventeenth birthday he decides to shoot it into the air in the woods by his house to celebrate. Little does he know that the bullet lands in the next town over and kills a man. After Michael hears of the death he immediately starts to feel guilty but tries to convince ...more
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There is more than one author with this name

Born in San Francisco, CA, and raised in Chatham, NJ, Joyce McDonald received her BA and MA from the University of Iowa, and went on to complete her Ph.D. at Drew University. She is the author of several books for children and young adults, among them the award winning Swallowing Stones, and the Edgar Award Nominated Shades of Simon Gray. She has taught
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