Review: Stillwater Rising by Steena Holmes

Stillwater Rising by Steena Holmes
Series: Stillwater Bay (# 1)
Release Date: November. 11, 2014
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 264
Source: Book provided by NetGalley for review



After losing her son in an elementary school shooting that devastates the tight-knit community of Stillwater Bay, Jennifer Crowne finds herself unable to settle back into her role of perfect stay-at-home mom and committee organizer. Meanwhile, her best friend, Mayor Charlotte Stone, struggles to keep the town together, and Charlotte’s husband, the school principal, may not be the hero everyone thinks him to be.

As they try to heal from this irrevocable trauma, Jenn and Charlotte find themselves at a crossroads—within the town and within their friendship. For Jenn, broken and grieving, there is no going back, and she demands that the school be closed so that she can bury the past. Yet Charlotte is equally desperate to hold the town together, fighting the school closure and helping the shooter’s mother regain her place in the community. Jenn and Charlotte’s relationship is put to the ultimate test as each weighs her own interests against the bonds of their friendship.


Review:  Although the community of Stillwater Bay is fictional, it could very well represent all of the locations throughout our country that have experienced the devastating effects of a school shooting.

Get your tissues ready for Steena Holmes’ Stillwater Rising, which takes place in the aftermath of a community tragedy. The story focuses on the lives of two friends and the roller coaster ride that ensues. With their friendship hanging in the balance, one woman is trying to deal with her grief while the other is trying to look out for the best interests of the town. That creates a collision course involving other grieving parents, as well as the mother of the shooter.

From start to finish, the author has captured a full gamut of emotions within the pages of this story. Anyone who has experienced such a tragedy in real life will no doubt be able to identify with the characters.

The true gem, though, lies in the real reason behind why the boy took a gun to school in the first place. While on the surface it appears that he fits the stereotypical mold, it turns out there is much more to the story. The author very skillfully weaves this information into the storyline, guaranteeing that you will never see this plot twist coming.

This was a riveting piece of work that perhaps hit a bit too close to home. With a conclusion that left me gasping for air, this is one of those stories that you will remember for a long time to come.