Book Review: The Many Lives of John Stone by Linda Buckley-Archer

The Many Lives of John StoneThe Many Lives of John Stone
Author:  Linda Buckley-Archer
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Released: October 20th 2015
Review Source: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

An English teen questions all she knows about aging when she encounters a set of journals that date from the present back to the reign of King Louis XIV in this blend of contemporary and historical fiction from the author of the acclaimed Gideon trilogy.

Stella Park (Spark for short) has found summer work cataloging historical archives in John Stone’s remote and beautiful house in Suffolk, England. She wasn’t quite sure what to expect, and her uncertainty about living at Stowney House only increases upon arriving: what kind of people live in the twenty-first century without using electricity, telephones, or even a washing machine? Additionally, the notebooks she’s organizing span centuries—they begin in the court of Louis XIV in Versailles—but are written in the same hand. Something strange is going on for sure, and Spark’s questions are piling up. Who exactly is John Stone? What connection does he have to these notebooks? And more importantly, why did he hire her in the first place?

It is extremely rare that it takes me this long to read a book. I’m the type of reader that picks up a book and if I get sucked into the story I can stay up until the wee hours to finish it because I just need to know what happens. I’m sad to say that was not the case with The Many Lives of John Stone. Try as I might I just couldn’t connect with the story at all.

It’s hard to say where I stand with this book. At times I found myself engrossed by the diaries entries at French court, but other times I would find myself feeling frustrated because I didn’t feel like the story was moving along. I wanted to find a common ground with The Many Lives of John Stone, but I just couldn’t push through the flaws it first brought up. I also had a hard time with the third person storytelling at times. I mean, I do know who’s talking that I don’t need you to write out his or their names in every single sentence. I don’t know I guess it just bugged me.

I think it might actually be targeted to the wrong audience. I love a good 500+ book, but I with where teens are now a days it’ll be a book they push away only because it didn’t hold their attention early on. I’ve already passed along The Many Lives of John Stone to a friend and she seems to be enjoying. A couple of the same issues with the start, but says the story progresses as it goes on. The Many Lives of John Stone may not have been for me, but everyone has different taste. Pick it up and decide for yourself. 

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