Tuesday 20 June 2017

A Single Bead - Stephanie Engelman

A Single Bead
Stephanie Engelman
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819890542
eISBN 9780819890573

This book took me completely by surprise. It is a wonderfully written story. I really did not know anything about the book other than that it was on a recommended list. The list highlighted 30 Catholic YA books in 30 days.  I first say this list posted by Susan Peek, she posted a list of Catholic Teen Fiction a day for June, I believe that the list originally comes from Theresa Linden. Of the 30 books in the list I have already read and reviewed over half. And have picked up a few more. But to be honest I was drawn to this book. All I had put together was that it was about a rosary in some way, shape or form.

This is a story that deals with faith, family, loss and mental health. That is a lot to pack into 208 pages but Engelman does it and does it well. I found that the writing especially around an extended family was very intriguing. I also really appreciated the parts of the story when one parent is not Catholic, but supportive of the family's faith and traditions. The book begins at a memorial service for the matriarch of the family. She had passed away the year before in a plane crash, and the family had gathered on the anniversary in the field the plan went down in. Katelyn Marie Roberts, who is 16, is struggling with the event, and the impact the last year has had on her family. She wanders off to the edge of the woods when the family decides to pray the rosary. She finds a small bead; it is a rosary bead from her grandma's rosary. She knows this because it has her initials on it.  And so begins the adventure. Soon Katelyn and her cousin Evelyn are trying to track down the beads.

And that is where it gets really interesting. They start hearing stories of miracles. Each person who found a bead or the person who they gave it to has had a miracle happen. A young girl healed from cancer, a man freed from addiction, a girl saved from a car accident. In each case a woman came and helped the person. But when Katelyn's mother finds out what they are doing and why, her depression gets worse, soon she needs to be hospitalised. This makes Katelyn desperate to find the bead with her mother's initials on it so she can experience a miracle again. But as in most of our lives things do not always go as planned.

This book is very well written. Before I had finished it I searched to see if the author had other books available. Unfortunately not yet! The weaving of faith, hope, hardships and family in this story makes the book hard to put down. I look forward to reading it with my oldest soon and my youngest when she is a little older. A wonderful faith filled Young Adult Story.

Books by Stephanie Engelman:
A Single Bead


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