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The Drowning of Stephan Jones

3.46  ·  Rating Details  ·  211 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Hate. It's the farthest feeling from sixteen-year-old Carla Wayland's mind. She can't believe people would persecute others just because they are different. But she isn't about to worry about the injustice surrounding her because she's in love with handsome and popular Andy Harris. Although raised to act on her ethical beliefs, Carla finds that her enchantment with Andy ma ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 217 pages
Published January 1st 1997 by Laurel Leaf (first published 1991)
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Oct 19, 2012 Julianna rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Thought-Provoking YA Lit; Anyone Interested in LGBT Issues or Hate Crimes
Reviewed for THC Reviews
"4.5 stars" The Drowning of Stephan Jones is yet another thought-provoking book from Bette Greene. It focuses on the extreme bullying and eventual murder of a gay young man by a group of homophobic, supposedly Christian teens. Considering that this book was first published in 1991 when the environment for gays was still pretty hostile, I think it was not only a groundbreaking story, but also a very brave move on the part of the author. Not too surprisingly, it became one
Aug 28, 2009 Martac rated it it was amazing
Banned in my local high school, I had to read it in middle school to find out what all the town meetings were about and why the English teacher was being fired.

Bette Greene is a great youth fiction writer--and the spookiness of the idea of hate comes through. As I read this book, I continually related what the students in the book did to what might actually happen in our town; a gay couple had just moved into an old neighbor's house.

Just as a Greek tragedy, when all already know the ending, the
Aug 08, 2015 Maura rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 13, 2007 Poofygoo rated it really liked it
When I read this in seventh grade or so (I hid it from my very Catholic parents, who did not approve)I didn't actually like the prose, but it was the first book that I read that really brought home the idea of a hate crime and the persecution gays go through. It really opened a whole new world of ideas, tolerance and thinking. So, sucky writing, important book.
Elizabeth Ditty
Feb 02, 2012 Elizabeth Ditty rated it it was ok
First, I always like to point out that I use Goodreads mouse-over text for my ratings, so two stars = "it was OK."

As for the book, I appreciated the story, but I was disappointed in how two-dimensional and stereotypical the characters were. The conservative religious characters especially had no depth, no explanation as to why they hated so fiercely. None of them ever showed any doubt or psychological complexity at all. Granted, there are some people in the world who fall into the moral black &a
Andrea thebusybibliophile
Jul 20, 2012 Andrea thebusybibliophile rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle, ya-saves
This is the true story of what happens when a bunch of ignorant people raise their kids to hate people who are different. You know how it’s going to end (you saw the title of the book, right?), so it’s no surprise there, but what happens before and after is just as important.

The people in the novel were flat and only mildly interesting, although I assume Bette Green was limited in her ability to bring them to life, because these are real people and not fictional characters. Andy Harris and his p
May 12, 2009 3Bridget! rated it liked it
"A censor is a man who thinks he knows more than you ought to." Laurence J. Peter thought that books should not be banned, and neither do I. Most people do not really think of the subject of banned books while they are reading. Some people find it hard to believe that some books could be banned because they seem so harmless. Would you allowed a book to be banned, put away so that no one could see it, that no one could ever experience the story it had to offer? Books were meant to be read, and pe ...more
Tim Wilson
Apr 21, 2008 Tim Wilson rated it liked it
In the novel, The Drowning of Stephen Jones, by Bette Greene, a lot of hardship and disrmination goes on in the state of Iowa. A girl named Sarah is in a very tight spot where she has to decide whose side she will go on. She has to choose whether to defend two homosexual teenagers at her school that always get picked on, or to side with her boyfriend and the rest of the town who believe that it is "unhuman" to be gay. She really thinks that Stephan and John are two nice guys and think its wrong ...more
Scott Miller
Apr 15, 2015 Scott Miller rated it really liked it
Based on reality, this book deals with the sequence of events that led to the death of one man at the hands of those filled with ignorance and hatred. Perhaps, more appalling is the adults who justify the actions of the teenagers responsible for the death. An event filled with so much contempt and misunderstanding that the author was physically assaulted for even attempting to uncover information necessary to produce the book.
Lisa Houlihan
Jun 01, 2013 Lisa Houlihan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: female, ya
Going by the first chapter, which is as far as I've read, this book's tone is laughably dated. The protagonist ogles at a color TV in a shop window. It's 1991, Ms. Greene. Also I can't quite believe that a small town in Arkansas in 1991 had a viable independent hardware store. Right now I'm reading it to see how Greene juggles her dated tone with her subject.

Wow. I'm sorry to say that a book with such important subject matter is execrably, egregiously, hideously bad. The characters are one-dime
Rebecca McNutt
Jun 19, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it did not like it
The title to this book really drew me in, but The Drowning of Stephan Jones is neither original nor well-written. It's just run-of-the-mill teenage melodrama badly slapped together.
I forgot I read this when I was in high school and stumbled across it tonight. From what I can recall, it broke my heart. Read with tissues.
Natashia Duncan
Oct 18, 2012 Natashia Duncan rated it it was ok
I was a bit disappointed in this one. The IDEA was haunting, heartfelt, and an all around great idea for a book. It's a topic I feel so strongly about, and being the type of reader I am, reading handfuls each week, I was really excited to read it. However the writing style was disappointing, and I felt it was very stereotypical. Calling the men every hateful thing on existence that has to do with the gay community, "leader of the pack", heavy Christian background, ect. Overall, the idea was grea ...more
Oct 05, 2014 Meadow rated it really liked it
It was a good book
Katrina Miller
Very stereotypical. The book is badly written. I was expecting a lot better from Bette Green. The two gay men in this book are described using every gay stereotype out there. I read it for banned books week, but I cannot stand when a book stereotypes a gay couple.
I had this on my book shelf for years. I finally read it in the Fall of 2006. It was an OK book. I thought based on the summary it was going to be a lot better than it was.
Aug 19, 2014 Amanda rated it did not like it
Unfortunately, this one did not hold up on rereading as an adult. The general idea is pretty good, if not making complete sense. But the writing is abysmal.
May 14, 2010 Angelica rated it did not like it
Wonderful topic, but I could barely get past the horrible writing and unrealistic dialogue. If I didn't have to read it for my book project, I would not have picked it up.
Delilah Trenaman
Jan 02, 2012 Delilah Trenaman rated it it was amazing
This was a very powerful book. I feel that everyone should read this book and then maybe the world wouldn't be so prejudice. It was very well written and teaches lots of lessons.

I'm reading this again, and I never read books again
Lisa Lewis Robison
Dec 07, 2012 Lisa Lewis Robison rated it liked it
This book made me mad. Which I guess was the point. The hatred and bigotry is appearant and I think it's a good book to read and discuss.
Michelle White
I didn't like this book. It was strange. I got it from the IUS Library.
Jun 10, 2008 Gili rated it liked it
Every gay book I read as a child was super traumatic. What gives?
Dated and homophobic
Ali C
Dec 05, 2008 Ali C rated it liked it
Very good!
Zachary rated it it was amazing
May 10, 2016
Trent Gunter
Trent Gunter rated it really liked it
May 02, 2016
ANOOP KUMAR GAUTAM marked it as to-read
May 02, 2016
maeve marked it as to-read
Apr 28, 2016
Heather Stevens
Heather Stevens marked it as to-read
Apr 26, 2016
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Bette Greene’s award-winning classic novels will be celebrating 40 years in print!

As an award-winning author, screenwriter and news reporter, Bette Greene is read worldwide in over 16 languages. Bette continues her legacy of writing and speaking for the victimized. Within the heartbeat of her storytelling and the realism of her prose lies Bette’s demand that her readers feel what she feels and see
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