Allison's Book Bag

Stone Ridge by Nick Hupton

Posted on: May 1, 2015

Nick Hupton gets teens. His background as a high school teacher shows through in how well the dynamics between Zach, his friends, and his parents are drawn in Stone Ridge. Hupton also knows how to create an easy read. His desire to reach reluctant readers is evident with his straightforward style. Unfortunately, when Hupton starts trying to pull all the plot pieces together, I feel less satisfied.

It should come as no surprise that Zach and his parents don’t understand each other. Since when do teens and adults ever see eye to eye? When it comes to Stone Ridge, Hupton actually made me feel sympathetic for both sides, which is a commendable feat. Zach is being haunted by an evil man named Victor. He wants the hauntings to stop and feels the only way is by returning to Pine Ridge where he first encountered Victor. On the other hand, Zach’s dad know how life-threatening that first encounter had been. For that reason, he tries to investigate into Victor on his own and to keep Zach out of it. Moreover, he wants Zach to concentrate on high school and sports and not worry about his missing brother or the mysterious rocks. Part of me wants to yell at Zach to just let the grown-ups sort out the bad guys. The other part of me knows that Zach is right when he says Victor seems intent on hunting him down and so Zach doesn’t really have a choice but to get involved. Characterization is my favorite part of Stone Ridge.

As an avid reader and a special education teacher, I sometimes find myself conflicted over literary style. When my mind isn’t tired, I think nothing of reading flowery prose or obtuse sentences. I also appreciate lengthy and layered novels. My resource students on the other hand often have limited vocabulary, attention spans, and life experiences. Except for my most motivated students, they aren’t going to wade through lengthy exposition or description. Hupton knows how to create action and tension. He also relies more on telling than showing when it comes to crafting scenes. As a special education teacher, I need books like his that might turn my students into readers. Even myself, I enjoy quick reads when my mind is tired or my life is overly busy. So, Hupton’s style works.

Rocks with powers. A man come back from the dead. And forces which draw Zach, his friends, and even his dad into a face off against Victor. There’s a lot happening in Stone Ridge. This makes for lots of adventure. However, it also means there’s a lot of pieces to pull together. To be honest, I never really understood why Victor couldn’t just steal the rock from Zach instead of trying to bully him into handing it over. After all, Victor is apparently capable of creating burning smells and making trails appear out of nowhere and even in sending Zach back in time. You’d think someone with that amount of power would be invincible. Conclusions are a challenge to write. There are any number of ways they can fail. And then they don’t convince. For me, Hupton’s conclusion feels confusing and contrived.

Stone Ridge is the exciting sequel to The Ridge. When I reviewed the latter, I expressed a desire to see what lay ahead for Nick Hupton. I still feel that sentiment. Then and now, Hupton is a writer with a promising future.

My rating? Read it: Borrow from your library or a friend. It’s worth your time.

How would you rate this book?

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