Many Stones

Many Stones

Carolyn Coman

A father and daughter confront each other and their own wounds in a land of loss and reconciliation.

Berry Morgan’s father hasn’t been around much since the divorce, until the day he shows up at school to tell her that her sister Laura was brutally murdered.

And then, for days afterward, he set up camp at the house—practically moved back in with Mom and me, as if we were still the perfect family, as if he hadn’t checked out years before. All of a sudden he’s there in our living room, pouring drinks from a big bottle of bourbon, taking calls, making decisions, running the show the way he always does.

A year and a half later he arranges a trip to South Africa—with Berry reluctantly in tow—to attend a memorial service at the school in Cape Town where Laura had volunteered. Berry’s father has planned some other activities as well: a business meeting in Johannesburg, a guided tour of Soweto, and a visit to Krueger National Park.

In this intense and compelling story, a father and daughter confront each other and their own wounds in a land pulsing with loss. Berry and her father’s painful journey forces them to look beyond their own grieving and bear witness to a country’s tortured search for peace and reconciliation


  • Ages: 14–17
  • Grades: 9–12
  • Pages: 160

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Recent Reviews

7 Coman has deftly woven together the themes of death, grieving, and reconciliation through the characters and setting of this emotionally elegant novel.

—School Library Journal

7 In plain words, as hard as stones, this small, riveting book connects the anguish in one family with the struggle of a country to come to terms with its savage past.


7 It’s an uplifting tale: harsh, complex, but lit at the end by a promise of reconciliation.

—Kirkus Reviews

You read this small book in one breathless rush to the end, then go back and back again and find more to think about each time.

—New York Times Book Review

There is gripping writing here, from the lightning-quick portraits of passing players to the descriptions of South Africa to the convincingly clipped conversations between daughter and father. And most important, the protagonist’s emotional complexities seem uncannily true to life.

—Publishers Weekly

Coman etches with telling clarity Berry’s stormy ambivalence, delicately and deliberately picking out the authentic adolescent hypervigilance.

—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

A deeply moving story. Recommended.

—Financial Times (London)

Honors for Many Stones

  • Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book
  • National Book Award Finalist
  • ALA Best Books for Young Adults
  • Top Choice List —Children's Literature
  • CCBC Choices
  • Editors' Choice Top of the List —Booklist
  • Lasting Connections —Book Links
  • SLJ Best Books
  • Books for the Teen Age —NYPL
  • Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist
  • Editor's Hardcover Fiction Choice List —KLIATT
  • Trudi Birger Prize Honor Book
  • Tayshas High School Reading List
    —Texas Library Association