A long, long time ago I decided I was going to get married.

A few days before the wedding I took a drive with my fiance.

I still remember the direction we were driving: north.
I don't remember what we were talking about,
in fact I think there was a lull in the conversation.
I remember looking over at a duck pond.

Then something hit me.

Not a thought.
Not an emotion.

A fist.

The punch came out of nowhere
and connected with my left cheek and nose.
Blood sprayed everywhere.
In horror I looked over at the man I was going to marry.

He laughed.

Almost five years and a divorce later I felt ashamed.
And stupid.
And ugly.

It took me a long time to recover.
In many ways I still am . . . and will be for a long time.
Maybe that's one of the reasons I've
followed Stephanie Nielson's story with interest.
I've long admired her as a blogger and mother,
longed to be part of a family like hers.

But it's her courage I envy.

Physically and emotionally she'll spend the rest of her life recovering
from the plane crash that burned over 80 percent of her body.

But she's not letting that stop her from living.

Really living.

review...The Stone Traveler by Kathi Oram Peterson

The Stone Traveler
Kathi Oram Peterson
LDS Fiction,YA Fantasy
August 2010

Sixteen-year-old Tag can’t believe he’s in this much trouble. He’s not actually a member of the gang known as the Primes—all he did was spray paint some graffiti that caught their attention. In all honesty, ever since his dad and brother left, Tag just wants to be alone. And it’s certainly not his fault that the Primes nearly beat up his goofy cousin, Ethan. But his mom is furious about these gang-related activities and insists that Tag spend the whole summer at his grandpa’s lakeside cabin, which is not Tag’s idea of a good time. So he does what any self-respecting teenager would do: run away. But he doesn’t get far before he encounters three
strange men carrying an even stranger object—a stone that glows with radiant light as bright as a thousand sparklers.

Tag doesn’t steal the stone—not exactly. He feels like he is supposed to take it. But he doesn’t expect the stone to transport him through space and time to a place he’s never seen before—a place that looks an awful lot like the ancient lands described in the Book of Mormon. And he definitely doesn’t expect to join Sabirah, the entrancing daughter of Samuel the Lamanite, on a quest to rescue her father and brother from the evil King Jacob. And he absolutely doesn’t expect to be captured by Jacob’s minions and prepared as a sacrifice to the evil idol of the city. But just as Tag faces his death, a terrible storm begins to break, and the ground cracks into jagged pieces. And he’s not sure which event will impact his life more: his captor’s knife coming at his body, the violent tempest sweeping the land . . . or the men who later appear, glowing even more brightly than the traveler’s stone.

My review:

Beneath his tough guy, gang member exterior—dyed black hair with black eyeliner and fingernails to match—Tag Quincy is a modern-day teen battling feelings of guilt and shame. He believes he doesn’t fit in anywhere, and his sense of worthlessness leads him to make choices that impact him in negative ways. Landing in trouble he is exiled to his grandfather’s Idaho cabin for the summer. A strange turn of events ultimately causes him to consider his life in a new light and helps him realize how much he loves his family.

At the first of the book, Tag’s voice doesn’t resonate with me—words and phrases he uses seem unnatural for a sixteen-year-old. However I was drawn into the book by the Kathi’s vivid descriptions and her talent for keeping up a lively stream of action as her characters face daunting trials and obstacles.

Tag becomes acquainted with a girl from another time—Sabirah—who is fighting for what she believes in. He joins her on a mission to piece her family back together. The author weaves historical detail from the Book of Mormon together with page turning adventure in this time travel saga, and also touches on some powerful emotions. As Tag endeavors to help those he comes in contact with, he learns that he is of value. He finds genuine joy in his relationships and discovers the importance of his life. It is here the author really shines. As in her other works, Kathi demonstrates her ability to portray her characters vulnerabilities in a heart-rending manner. In the final chapters of the book I felt Tag’s voice begin to ring true and I was touched by his transformation.

Though targeted for young adults, this book is suitable for all ages. My twelve-year-old also enjoyed it and remarked that it is on her to-read-again list.


Kathi is holding a Stone Traveler contest! Click here for details on how to win fabulous prizes including a Kindle!!!

Click here for my review of Kathi's last book, An Angel on Main Street, and an interview I did with her. Find out if she likes dogs or cats, chocolate or vanilla!

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