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The Crying Rocks

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  191 ratings  ·  30 reviews
The Newbery Honor winning author of Afternoon with the Elves tells the story of a girl who bravely explores--and reclaims--her past after she meets a boy who tells her she looks like one of the Narragansetts, a tall and beautiful Native-American people who once lived in New England.
Paperback, 281 pages
Published June 21st 2005 by Simon Pulse (first published October 1st 2003)
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Average rating 3.24  · 
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Iowa Girl
May 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: ages 12 & up
Themes: identity, loss, memory, forgiveness, bullying, friendship. I picked this one up as I was shelving books. I like native american storylines and the cover mentioned this in the synopsis. It is a very readable story about Joelle, adopted daughter of a married couple who seem more like loving caretakers than adoptive parents that have made their adopted child 'their child.' Joelle comes to begin a friendship with Carlos, another outsider who shares certain facts about the landscape that incl ...more
Jamie Smith
Aunt Mary Louise deserved better
Richie Partington
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
08 September 2003 THE CRYING ROCKS by Janet Taylor Lisle, Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, October 2003, ISBN 0-689-03014-2

" 'So tell me about these Indians who were supposedly around here,' she says, as if she's never heard of Indians before. Which is laughable. Half the names of places in Rhode Island are Native American. There are statues of Indians in the parks and plaques that tell where this treaty was signed or that attack happened. Everyone has heard of the Indians, they just don't think abou
Alba Ortega
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have mixed feelings about this book. The main character Joelle was adopted, she didn’t fit in with her parents simply because of the color of her skin and height. Origins of her past are a mystery that only Vernon (her adoptive father) knows and only until an unexpected event happens, was he able to speak up. Joelle and her good friend Carlos are curious about an old legend on some crying rocks, leading them to explore and read on about the Narragansett Indians territories. Eventually Joelle i ...more
Drew Austen
The Crying Rocks is about at 13 year old girl named Joelle who is discovering her past and ancestry. I was initially intrigued by the blurb; however, the book left me with a lot of confusion. I felt that narrative was lacking character development/emotion, and I was unsure of the plot structure. The author did a good job though of capturing pre-teen hormonal mood swings! The biggest thing that really gets to me is the relationships Joelle has...or rather does not have. She has zero friends, and ...more
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-thms
A story unfolding about a girl who is trying to figure out who she really is, from her past, to the adoptive parents she so loves today. I love how Joelle doesn't let people phase her - she holds her head high and is proud of who she is, even though she doesn't know herself. Only when she is face to face with a mural of Native Americans from her area, does she begin to wonder and question the past she must face. She has a few conflicts along the way that she must learn to navigate.

This was a qu
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Much like the other reviews, I absolutely couldn't stand the main character at first. She's bitchy, bratty, and downright rude as a defense mechanism to anyone that's kind to her. And, while she grows and develops out of that as a character as the book goes on, it was still kind of hard to get through. Other than that it was a pretty good read! Very heartbreaking and heartwarming at different points and the author did a good job of not shying away from the true, accurate history, even the "White ...more
Jhan Canarias
Apr 12, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-shelf
It feels reminiscent of "Bridge to Terabithia" merged with "Pocahontas". The characters are well-spoken and confident. Pacing was good, I felt shocked by the twists of the story.

Though I zone off at too much details, it felt to me like there is some memorization quiz afterwards. And the mood in the dialogues seem to jump off and off.

The story, however, is charming. Now it makes me believe this was written for audience much younger than my age.

Short and concise, it is deeply emotional and one fil
Liz Hosson
Sep 11, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Racial jokes, slurs and stereotypes did not sit well with me at all.
Would not recommend.
The only good part of the book was the reveal after 3/4 of the book about how she got to live with Vernon and Aunt Mary Louise. Thats it. The rest is racial jokes about Native Americans and quotes from racist anthropological figures, promoting their views and stereotypes.
Jul 10, 2020 rated it liked it
I honestly didn't mind the slow-ish start. It was very interesting to see this closed-off, bitchy, insecure girl grow and mature once she starts to connect with her heritage and her past. Lots of growing involved, but I was kind of disappointed by the lackluster reveal, but the ending saved it, because that ending... wow. ...more
Dejanae Sanders
hard to keep focus at the beginning but when the tough gets going the going gets good... lol what a play on words there.... really though if you can get through the rough beginning there's actually a really good story that awaits! ...more
Oct 20, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the idea of this, but in some way it simply fell flat. The mystery of the crying rocks and Joelle's past really gripped me. However Vernon absolutely made me hate the book. I hated him as a character and the choices he made. ...more
Apr 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Jun 10, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-i-own
DNF. It wasn’t that it was superrr bad it just wasn’t interesting. Might pick it up again idkkk
Olivia Raiche-tanner
It's the worst written of the middle grade books I've read lately, and the use of blood quanta/race related jokes and slurs did not sit well. ...more
Sarah Crawford
Feb 11, 2016 rated it liked it
This is the rather unusual story of Joelle, a young girl who is adopted and who has been told various stories about how she was found on a train.

She’s also very tall and as if she were part Native American, but no one seems to know or, if they do, they aren’t telling.

So it’s up to Joelle to try to find out the truth behind the various things that she has been told about herself. Carlos, a male friend of hers, helps her, especially by taking her on hikes to a Native American gathering place and
Jan 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I had a hard time getting into the author's writing style and liking her characters. I found the omniscient voice of the narration too jarring. Joell, while understandably hurt and tries to push people away, was kind of hard to like, and I almost gave up and put the book down. However, after about half way through I kind of end up liking her and the eccentric cast of characters in her life. The end of the book pulls together nicely and you end up seeing a little growth in all the characters. Jus ...more
Courtney Johnson
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
At the beginning of this book, I thought maybe I would not really like this book. But, the further I read, the more I liked it. I liked her and Carlos relationship was, just friends. The ending was just ok I thought. I would have thought that they should have gone to the crying rocks themselves. And the little girls were cute but kind of annoying. Overall, this was an ok book but I don't think I would read it again. ...more
Apr 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: tween
Adopted Joelle always wants to know aobut how she came to be w/her adopted parents-her mother, Aunt Mary Louise tells her something about Chicago and a train ride. Then a classmate Carols suggest she look at the local library's indian mural. Joelle feels a connection to the Narrangansett Indians who were the earliest settlers there. Carlos & Joelle hike to the crying rocks-said to be haunted by the tribe & where Carlo's brother accidently feel to his deather a few years ago. Good ...more
Nov 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Joelle doesn't remember what happened to her before she turned 5 and was adopted by the lady she calls Aunt Mary Louise. She knows she looks different from the other kids at school, but not in any way she can identify until the weird kid at school tells her she looks like a girl in a painting of Narragansett Indians and Pilgrims at the library. This leads to all sorts of things including long forgotten memories and a whole new, and much richer, world. ...more
Adopted girl's search for self. She learns she is half Narragansett Indian and seeks to get in touch with that aspect of her background. RI setting was good but the geography seemed a little mixed up at times. Good overall atmosphere: brooding and mystical. Disliked the occasional use of present tense. Not quite up to my expectations but OK. ...more
Neill Smith
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Joelle is adopted and lives with her foster mother and father. She learns the myth of her life – found abandoned at a railroad station and adopted by Vernon and Aunt Mary Louise. But the mysterious vagrant Queenie and her study of the Narragansett Indians begin to open windows in her memory and as part of her life vanishes, Joelle begins to recover her true story.
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully poignant book set in Rhode Island. Though written. for young adults I could not put it down
Jul 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
My school made me read this book, too. It was only ok.
Oct 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
The title is strange but it was really good. It took me awhile to comprhend it but it was good. The ending took me by suprise completely.
Vickie T
May 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: indians, ya-lit
Much better than I thought it would be. I'm uaually wary about books about Native Americans written by white people. ...more
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Janet Taylor Lisle was born in Englewood, New Jersey, and grew up in Farmington, Connecticut, spending summers on the Rhode Island coast.The eldest child and only daughter of an advertising executive and an architect, she attended local schools and at fifteen entered The Ethel Walker School, a girl’s boarding school in Simsbury, Connecticut.

After graduation from Smith College, she joined VISTA (Vo

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