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One Stupid Thing
by Stewart Lewis
Review

To receive the email of an author reaching out to me through the ‘contact’ page of Fiction Books always gives me a bit of a buzz. However, to then have that author make a return journey to the site, to share his latest book, is very humbling. Last time Stewart gently talked me out of my comfort zone and into his romcom world, this time he has tempted me to cross the boundaries into the unknown territory of YA fiction, a place I have seldom visited. Let’s see how my journey went!

ONE STUPID THING

Cover image of the book 'One Stupid Thing' by author Stewart LewisIt was just one stupid thing that happened…

Summer on Nantucket island. Three high school friends drinking warm beer on a rooftop. Everything is cool, until a seemingly innocent game takes a sinister turn, and the course of their lives are changed forever.

For a year, they keep it a secret, until the following summer when they meet a mysterious girl with her own dark past who may have the answers they are looking for.

A story about friendship, mistakes, and the quest for redemption, One Stupid Thing follows Jamie, Sophia, Trevor and Violet as they contend with the consequences of their choices, navigate the drama in their individual lives and try to uncover what really happened on that fateful night.

One Stupid Thing follows four teens as they navigate the mystery surrounding a tragic, deadly accident that leaves them wondering: who is really to blame?

Cover image of the book 'One Stupid Thing' by author Stewart Lewis

STEWART LEWIS

Image of author Stewart LewisStewart Lewis is a six-time published author and singer-songwriter who is based out of Nashville, TN and Nantucket, MA.

His novels have been translated into five languages and his songs have been used in TV and film worldwide.

Stewart’s essays have also appeared in several anthologies.

His favourite things are; his French bulldog Oliver, travelling, good food and good friends.

Catch up with Stewart’s latest news at his website

Connect with Stewart on Facebook

Follow Stewart on Twitter

“I am grateful for the island of Nantucket, which has always felt like home to me. Its awe-inspiring beauty, colorful people, and way of casting a spell. I’ve always wanted to set a book there, and I hope I’ve done it justice”

Cover image of the book 'One Stupid Thing' by author Stewart Lewis

FIRST LINES

PROLOGUENANTUCKET ISLAND

“The three of them stood together on the widow’s walk, a small lookout platform accessed from the attic. The mist crept around the rooftops of the houses, and though they couldn’t see it, the ocean raged in the distance. It was chilly for late August, but they were still dressed for summer. Laughter drifted up from the Beechman’s party downstairs, but it sounded forced, almost maniacal.”

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CHAPTER ONETEN MONTHS LATERJAMIE

“As he walked around the bend to the more private part of the beach, he could just make out a girl in the distance. She was sitting on a bench in the middle of a long stretch of faded wooden stairs that meandered down from the cliff walk. He didn’t want to come back to the island and had been happy when his parents told him they were going to stay in Connecticut, but his aunt Gia was renting a cottage in Sconset, and they insisted he go and stay with her for the summer. Of Course, his parents didn’t know what had happened at the end of last summer….”

Cover image of the book 'One Stupid Thing' by author Stewart Lewis

MEMORABLE LINES

“There are moments in time that seem small and insignificant but in fact change everything…”

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“His father made truckloads of money, but all the money in the world couldn’t buy someone a heart, or a moral compass”

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“That was the thing – adults thought they knew everything, but a lot of times they had no idea”

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“It’s as if Lester and his money was a disease, and now it was spreading into her whole family”

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“What you see of people on the outside is only the beginning”

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“Tracks weren’t straight, and life was a crooked game”

Cover image of the book 'One Stupid Thing' by author Stewart Lewis

REVIEW

“It was just one stupid thing that happened…”

Ahead of my review, I do have to come clean and admit that YA fiction is not a genre I tend to stray into too often. It is a long time ago since I qualified for reading inclusion in this age group, and I am in no doubt that the expectations and attitudes of Stewart’s modern day target audience, have advanced in leaps and bounds since then, so much so that often, to me as a reader, the lines seem very blurred between YA and adult fiction. This story is targeted at a 14-18 year readership and from my amateur eye, it seems to be pitch perfect.

The story gets going from the very first page, no preamble or scene setting, for readers keen to engage immediately. The storyline moves along at a good pace and with the constantly shifting sands of emphasis, towards an ending which although not quite as replete and satisfying as it might have been, is full of future hopes and latent potential for its cast of characters.

Told in clearly marked, seamlessly alternating chapters and narrated crisply from multiple viewpoints, this well developed, multi layered storyline is sympathetically told, with real heart and a little humour, by an author who is a consummate storyteller, totally in tune with his audience and knows exactly how to engage with them.

Some lovely, visually descriptive narrative and dialogue, transported me to beautiful Nantucket Island, with featured place names I could check in on and plot the action for myself. Now – if only I could drag myself away from the virtual golden sands and surf!

From an angst inducing accident, with tragic consequences at its core, this storyline rapidly evolves into a compelling and intriguing mystery thriller, which has many more sinister and deadly implications for this trio of guilt ridden teenagers and the individual demons they each choose to battle, alone and divided. A new friend they make one year later, who reunites them as a reluctant group, unwittingly opens a whole new can of worms, unleashing the potential to threaten the safety and the very lives of them all, with the information she has in her possession. Manipulating and using a little knowledge, based on some very thin evidence, may be a dangerous thing, but is it a risk worth taking, if exposing the truth can exonerate them from the crimes they are no longer certain they are responsible for and help them to uncover a glimmer of hope and redemption from all the tragedy events have caused?

As if shouldering the burden of their real or imagined guilt, which has torn their friendships apart, isn’t enough, each of the group of four has family and personal issues which are slowly eating away at them, destroying their confidence, swiping at their self-worth, and undermining the bedrock foundations of their fragile hold on any semblance of ‘normal’ family life. This quickly evolves into a secondary parallel story, which exposes and highlights the underlying multi-faceted flood of emotions and insecurities, which influence the aspirations and outlooks of such a dysfunctional, emotionally disturbed group of young people, explores how the actions and behaviour of strangers can help to rebuild and heal the rifts between them and ease their troubled minds, whilst helping them discover a renewed and rewarding sense of self-worth, thus making them comfortable in their own skins and assured of their individuality and identity.

Stewart has developed a cast of well defined and relatable characters, who grew exponentially in stature and maturity during the course of that one fateful year. I kept having to remind myself that they were all still only your typical teenagers, complete with all their regular emotional baggage and hang-ups, aside from the extra pressure and stress events in the recent past had placed on them. From that perspective they were not particularly easy for me to connect with, however that’s purely an age issue and I was still able to detect their vulnerabilities and their searching for a sense of belonging and purpose. Once they had collectively decided to put their past unspoken differences aside, their characters developed some real depth and meaning, with some good strong dynamics and synergy growing between them, which you just knew would transcend that teenage phase in their lives and keep them firm friends on into adulthood.

There were also a few poignant moments of teenage naivety and humour, which Stewart played to perfection, although to be fair, I really need to know which six year old precocious child genius he knows, who he used to model the character of Bryce. I’m still trying to work out whether he would be the perfect child protegee to live with, or the devil child from hell (no disrespect intended Stewart, if this was indeed a family member or a friend’s child). Whichever, he certainly gives Trevor a run for his money and I believe, helped him get his thoughts and feelings into some kind of perspective. Bryce added a nice touch of grounded humanity to the story!

“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.”

—Oscar Wilde

Image of author Stewart Lewis

A PDF of this book, was kindly gifted to me by its author, Stewart Lewis, with no expectation or request for review

Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article which promotes this book or its author.

I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a well deserved 4 out of 5 stars!

 

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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8 comments
  • Didn’t we all make stupid mistakes when we were young and naive? I actually quite miss those times when I was fearless and naive and thought I could conquer the world….these days I would consider, and consider and reconsider all the pros and cons if I want to do something new…
    I really hope the story ends FINE for the four teens!
    Have a great long Easter weekend ahead, Yvonne!

    • Hi Angie,

      I know that my childhood misdemeanours were much longer ago than your own, but yes, I too did some very stupid things, which seemed really cool to me at the time. However, looking back now, with sensible middle-age fast receding into the past, I can see just how foolish and foolhardy they were!

      These days I am much more sober and introspective about things before I take action. Although I do have to add that a ‘mistake’ is all relevant to the times, and action which I call foolish from all those years ago, is nothing to what young people do today without blinking an eye at, yet leaves me gasping in horror!

      Author Stewart Lewis, really knows how to engage with his audience and writes between several different genres, all with consummate ease!

      Thanks for stopping by, I hope that you too, have a lovely Easter 🙂

    • Hi There!

      Thank you, as ever, for your support and encouragement, always appreciated and valued!

      I do like it when an author uses ‘real’ places, as the locations for their story. I like to be able to check out those new to me places and track the action. There is definitely something to be said for being an armchair traveller, as well as an armchair reader 🙂

  • I had no idea this was YA fiction until you mentioned it, but that never stops me from reading (and enjoying) that genre. It sounds like a very good story. How did it compare to his earlier book you read? You know I really liked that one, so maybe this needs to go on my list, as well.

    • Hi Kelly

      This one is completely different to ‘Happily Whatever After’, more of a mystery and non of the humour. Stewart is good at adapting his style to suit his audience though, which means he can write well across multiple genres, but you definitely can’t compare the two books.

      To be honest (and I think this is probably an age thing!), for me, the lines between adult and YA fiction are so blurred these days, that unless the difference was pointed out to me, I often don’t think I would notice.

      I remember the days when our local library was physically divided between the adult and children’s sections and children weren’t allowed in the adult side at all until I was about 15, from what I can recall. Which is why I ended up by ‘borrowing’ mum and dad’s books after they had read them, when I became bored with reading the children’s titles, which weren’t challenging enough for me.

      I think you would enjoy this story as much as the last, but I’ll let you decide 🙂

  • I didn’t have good experiences with YA fiction in the past, even as a teenager I read adult fiction, but this one seems very good. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it and also, how nice is to be contacted by the author.
    I hope you’ve had a lovely weekend. xx

    • If you check out the conversation Kelly and I were having, you’ll see that I was pretty much the same as yourself. Once I had got past that initial early reader stage, I was pretty much into adult books, with the only possible exception being my collection of Enid Blyton books, which I read over and over.

      However, from the limited experience I have with the genre these days, it seems as though YA fiction has advanced in leaps and bounds, until the the lines between that and adult fiction are almost indistinguishably blurred.

      I actually enjoyed this one much more than I thought I would and Stewart has a keen eye for writing across multiple genres, as his last book was an adult rom/com.

      It is always good when an author touches base with me directly, although I am quite choosy about which books I will accept for review.

      Our weekend has been okay thanks and I hope yours has been too. Nothing out of the ordinary, just trying to get hold of materials to finish a project in the garden , but nowhere seems to have stock of even the basic goods – nightmare! 🙂

Written by Yvonne

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