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A Single Stone

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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  797 ratings  ·  148 reviews
Every girl dreams of being part of the line—the chosen seven who tunnel deep into the mountain to find the harvest. No work is more important.

Jena is the leader of the line—strong, respected, reliable. And—as all girls must be—she is small; years of training have seen to that. It is not always easy but it is the way of things. And so a girl must wrap her limbs,
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Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 2nd 2016 by Walker Books Ltd (first published May 1st 2015)
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Meg McKinlay Hi Cassandra. A Single Stone will be published in the US this March, in hardback and ebook formats. It's currently only available in Australia and the…moreHi Cassandra. A Single Stone will be published in the US this March, in hardback and ebook formats. It's currently only available in Australia and the UK.(less)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  797 ratings  ·  148 reviews


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Trisha
Reread for spec fic talk. Just as disturbing.

This is deliberate, clever, writing, which reflects the themes and the style of novel. I like a book I can't slot easily into a genre or category. A book that defies classification is well worth it.

The cool, silent rocks that rule Jena's world is reflected back in every precise and deft sentence. The village's survival is extremely clearly depicted, through dispassionate tones. It's very effective.

McKinlay never overplays her
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Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
I enjoyed the concept, a quick and entertaining read but sadly, not for me. I felt the emphasis on emaciated bodies and malnourished young women should have been addressed, especially given the intended age of readers.

Review to come.
Jessica
What first drew me to A Single Stone was the fact that this is essentially a younger version of the YA and Adult dystopian novels that I love. I was so excited to see how Meg McKinlay would bring Jena's sheltered world to life, and how she would address the society as a whole. I won't lie, I had pretty high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, it failed to reach quite as high as my expectations were set.

To start with the positives, I can say that Jena's society is fairly well laid out
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Dea
While this had an interesting premise, I thought the execution was thin, thin, thin. (Pun intended.) I never fully got a sense of any of the characters or setting, and the plot was a bit weak. I didn’t even feel a claustrophobic atmosphere, which disappointed me.

I think perhaps a sparse story/writing was the author’s intent, but that just personally rarely works for me. I needed the story and the characters to be more fleshed out, because as it is, this felt rushed. I actually think
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Dania
Mar 30, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book wasn't my cup of tea. The concept was good, and the writing was quite beautiful. However, something was missing. Then, I noticed there hadn't been any real dialogue whatsoever. Only some sentences here and there. I couldn't connect to any character, and by 20% I had lost any real interest.
Lily
This book was phenomenally good; deliberate, layered and thought-provoking but in a deceptively quiet and intelligent way. I actually cannot express how much I loved this story, because it is AMAZING (and one of my favourite reads this year), but I will do my best!

A Single Stone is set in a small village enclosed on all sides by rock, cut off from the outside world following an earthquake which destroyed the only pathway out through the surrounding mountains. It is a brutal landscape
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Rosanne Hawke
Meg McKinley, A Single Stone. 2015
So interesting to see how a group of people can be over protected and controlled. Not unlike a cult. Jena is an important girl, bred to be slim so she can work in the mines. The whole community relies on her but she discovers a horrifying secret.
Beautifully written; some may call it a slow burner but events do unfold and we grow to love the characters.
I enjoyed the flashbacks in different font which gave Jena’s backstory. Also the introduction
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Liam
Not bad, same problem as a lot of kids' fiction where the entire plot and everything is resolved in <20 pages, but not a bad quick read.
Sherri
For all of Jena’s young life, her village has lived at the mercy of the mountain that surrounds them. The Mothers have instilled in all of them a reverential worship of the rocks that have surrounded and trapped them to a life of hardship. All things are “if the rock allows it.”

The winters are so severe that it’s every family for itself and not everyone survives the deathly cold of the deep snow drifts that bury the valley. Jena is lucky because she is the leader of the line--the gro
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Jaina Rose
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: blogged
This review is also available on my blog, Read Till Dawn.

Yikes. Just, yikes. This book has some serious grit in it. We're talking dystopian, cult-like, surgically-alter-your-daughters-to-make-them-thinner grit.

I know, when I say that your thoughts immediately leap to eating disorders and low self-esteem. But in Jena's world, the "Mothers" who run the village encourage girls to be as small as possible so they can crawl deep into the heart of the mountain that surrounds them and ha
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Kristen
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile
I read the first chapter of this book to a bunch of classes at the beginning of the school year and have wanted to read it ever since. I finally did, and it was worth the wait. Great story, plot, character development. Wonderful, subtle world-building. McKinlay is able to reveal so much without overtly stating things. I never felt like someone was dumping information on me, rather it was a peeling back of the layers, with each new reveal making more clear.

Long ago, Jena's village was
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John Naylor
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the isolationism of this book. The mystery of a small community who are struggling to survive. The secrets in that community that could tear it apart. The minimal dialogue as there is something unspeakable that holds the society together.

Then there is the theme of exploitation. How prepubescent girls are used for dangerous tasks and how puberty robs them of their function in this society. The elders keep secrets and also endanger the community in ways that they don't realis
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Cindy
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my geez-a-loo! Wow! Wow! Wow! I cannot yet fully process how amazing this book was. As I was reading it, I kept thinking "Students will analyze this book in colleges in the future". It is so rich, so well-written. I truly could not put it down. I read a lot of amazing books. However, this one is special. As far as I am concerned, this book is the definition of a page-turner. Yet every word is evocative, purposeful, and elegant. It is a masterpiece. I am so impressed by the tapestry Meg McKinl ...more
Andrew
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sort-of dystopian spec fic, but not in a overly complicated / technobabbly way. Beautifully evocative prose, exploring an original premise. Loved it

Sorry - not feeling overly loquacious tonight... might post further thoughts later, but in many ways, this felt like a close-to-perfect novel. An effortless yet thought-provoking pleasure to read.
Betty
This didn't do it for me at all.
Reminded me of "Holes".
Clare Matthews
Great YA fiction. thought-provoking and gripping.
Chelsea
I'm always amazed at how little time I have to read since I've had a baby. I wouldn't change being a mother, but it's been an interesting transition. My feelings regarding babies and birth are also much stronger than they were before I had my own child. I get an empty feeling in my stomach anytime I hear or read about miscarriages or stillborns, which is why I was surprised to encounter this topic in a young adult book.

There were many elements in this book that made me a little uncomfortable, i
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Gaby Meares
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an original young adult novel and hard to categorize. Although the setting could be described as dystopian, I hesitate to label it as such as I don't want to put off any prospective readers. Jena is a leader in her community. She is committed to their way of life without question - until one incident starts a chain reaction that makes her question everything she holds dear.
The story is well paced, the characters believable, and the plot an original.
I highly recommend this book to
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Nadine
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very unusual book - chosen for our older readers (upper elementary) but I'd put it more towards YA. What do we do when we make assumptions about how the world is and how it will be. What do we do with dissenters and free thinkers. How do we bind ourselves to beliefs.
Michael Earp
Feb 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written, quiet adventure that takes you spelunking into questions of gender and power. Wonderful.
Abbey
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely beautiful! Definitely one to make you think
Anne Marie
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-dystopian
This would be a great book to use for G7 Companion book or G8 Literary Essay. A lot under the surface.
Miss Jenny
Jun 11, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excerpt from a review that appears on my website: Miss Jenny's Classroom

Let me start by writing that I do like the concept of the book. The idea behind it is very intriguing and interesting but the book just doesn't cut it. There are moments when you are transfixed on the story and the characters only to become disengaged on the next page.

At the beginning the story is painfully slow. The large paragraphs of descriptions of the girls as they make their way through the mount
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Marsha
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Trapped behind a massive rockfall that killed tunnelers, a weird, bleak and unforgiving kind of worship has been set up, one in which the community both worships and fears the towering mountain that shelters them, shields them from the outside world, gives them life-sustaining mica and occasionally takes the lives of the girls who tunnel through it.

This novel hinges on the author’s ability to make us part of its landscape and Ms. McKinlay succeeds marvelously. The author places us de
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Laura Gardner
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
⭐⭐⭐⭐💫/5 for A SINGLE STONE, a genre-busting #mglit book that was recommended to me by @theloudlibrarylady
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Jena is one of seven girls from her small mountain village who is tasked with tunneling through small spaces to harvest mica, the fuel that gets the village through the winter. Their village is cut off from all others and things are different there. Girl babies, especially small ones, are prized and only girls are allowed to mine for mica. When Jena discovers dark truths abou
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Heather
"A Single Stone" was recommended to me by a Yr 8 student and it turned out to be a very good story. The book was set in a village cut off from the outside world by a ring of mountains. Life is hard and to survive the bitter winters, mica is harvested from deep within the mountains by tunnellers, premenstrual girls bound from birth and often surgically altered to make them thinner so they can squeeze into the tight crevices and cracks.

It was a clever premise and well executed. McKinla
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Madeline {Plan to Happy}
{Many thanks to the publisher for sending me an eARC free of charge.}

If I could have, I would have read Meg McKinlay's A Single Stone in one sitting. It made me feel claustrophobic, which was exactly the point!

In A Single Stone, McKinlay tells the story of Jena, who lives in a village that was cut off by a rock slide generations ago. Without access to other fuel, their village relies on the smallest and most lithe young girls to venture into the tunnels of the mountain in
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Linda
I'm late reading, but thanks to Candlewick Press, I was happy to read this wonderful book out in the U.S. in March, but from Australia where it won several awards. I enjoyed every bit of this mysterious, edge-of-seat dystopian story. There is this village that has a history of being governed by the "Seven Mothers" who survived a terrible mountain landslide that blocked them all in. Severe winters and little sun make survival dependent on the heat given off by mica. But the only way mica is foun ...more
Priya Sridhar
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Single Stone is a novel of delightful contradictions. It has a dystopic tone but shows a society without modern technology. It has a female protagonist that questions authority yet benefits from it. And most importantly, it delivers a huge impact within a short span of pages.

Jena has a place of privilege. She leads seven girls into the mountains to mine mica, a necessary fuel. As her isolated village survives hard winters by burning the mica, protocol and tradition hold that only g
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Meg McKinlay is a children's writer and poet living in Fremantle, Western Australia

She has published seventeen books for young people, ranging from picture books through to young adult novels, and a collection of poetry for adults. Her most recent publications are the middle grade novel Catch A Falling Star and picture book Let Me Sleep, Sheep!.

A former academic, swimming teacher, Japane
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“Alive. That was the first thing.
A daughter. That was the second.
They knew this without being told, without searching the newborn's features for some telltale sign. If the child had been a boy, the Mothers would have emerged empty-handed. They would have filed quietly from the house, leaving the family to their disappointment.
A boy was simply another mouth to feed, another body to keep warm during the winter. A boy might wield an axe or trap a bird. He might mend a roof or skin a rabbit.
Such things were useful; there was no denying it. But a daughter? A daughter could do those too, and much more besides.”
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“They watched as the bird disappeared, until the only sign it had been there at all was the quivering of branches, a handful of leaves falling quietly to the forest floor around them.
There was no need for either to say what they were thinking. They had done a wrong thing, a right thing.
They would tell no one ever.”
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