By: Marianna Heusler
Cleanliness (See “About” for scale): Slightly Tainted (4+ Curse Words and/or Euphemisms. Other content: bullying, car accident, dementia, hemophilia, family trouble, mention of dead body, magic, lying, murder, and death.)
One Stone Left Unturned was a story of mystery, history, sadness, and magic. The chapters alternated viewpoints between historical past and the present. I liked how each chapter title told you which time it was in so there was no confusion. The past viewpoint followed Tsar Nicholas Romanov (also known as Nicholas the Bloody) and his family as they fled into exile. The present viewpoint followed Augusta (a modern-day teen) as she coped with bullying, an emotionally-abusive mother, a grandmother with dementia, and more. The topic seemed like such an odd one to me, but it was really good!
I enjoyed the actual historical things that were scattered throughout the story. A large majority of the scenes with the Tsar were taken from history. The author took his real life and filled in the gaps with fiction.
The story of the Tsar and his family and the story of Augusta and her family were such different stories, but yet similar in certain ways. The Tsar’s exile was compared to the modern exile of bullying. I really liked that. Of course the magical stone was the main connecting point of the two stories. There were a few coincidences (especially between Augusta and the Tsar’s daughter, Tatiana) that I wasn’t too fond of, though. I thought that Augusta having to write a paper about the Russian royal family at the same time as she found the stone might have been a little far-fetched.
Although this book is presented as a middle-grade novel, I think it falls more under the young adult category. It dealt with some really tough subjects such as an awful mother, mental illness, and even murder. These topics were done well, but they were also very intense.
I would consider One Stone Left Unturned a mystery/thriller/historical fiction. It was such an interesting read! Everything about the end reminded me of Jumanji, and it was awesome! You’ll only understand if you read it. 😉