Stone and Spark by Sibella Giorello

Stone and Spark by Sibella Giorello
Stone and Spark : Book 1 The Raleigh Harmon Mystery Series by Sibella Giorello
Publisher: Running Girl Productions
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: Full Length (276 pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by: Honeysuckle

BoM LASR YA copy

During the worst week of her life, Raleigh Harmon discovers her destiny.

Her best friend is a smart-mouthed genius girl named Drew Levinson. But suddenly Drew is gone. Nowhere to be found. Everyone insists Drew ran away. But Raleigh suspects something worse.

Armed with her encyclopedic knowledge of city criminal codes, one rock hammer, and a stubborn streak that’s as wide as the Chesapeake Bay, Raleigh searches for clues.

Did Drew secretly meet somebody?
Did her loony parents finally push her over the edge?
Or is Raleigh’s hunch dead-on: Drew didn’t choose to leave….

The first book in the best-selling Raleigh Harmon mystery series, “Stone and Spark” introduces the girl who will grow up to become a forensic geologist and FBI agent—provided she survives her high school years.

Library Journal hailed this series as a top-ten read with “crisp writing, fast-paced action, and beautiful descriptions….” Don’t miss it.

In a world where her mom is just one step away from a mental ward and high school is as unforgiving as ever, 15 year old Raleigh Harmon depends on the consistency of her best friend, Drew. But Drew’s gone missing and following the clues will set Raleigh on a path that will take her so much farther outside the city limits of Richmond, Virginia than she could ever anticipate. This is the story of how it all began.

The Raleigh Harmon books have been in circulation for nearly a decade and the author, Sibella Giorello, has found a new way to entice readers by taking them back to the beginning. Back to Raleigh’s high school years and to the first time her geological knowledge is truly put to the test. Where failure means losing someone she cares about very deeply.

Told from the first person POV of Raleigh, this book took me back to the frustrating days of being a teenager when it seemed that adults caused just as much aggravation and stress as they accused teens of creating. Ms. Giorello has a very talented voice for putting into words exactly how a teen version of Raleigh would perceive her parents, teachers and other authority figures.

This book made me feel for Raleigh as she sincerely worried about the welfare of her friend. I hated that she had so much outside interference from people who could have made the search easier had they only considered that she might know her friend’s habits and patterns. The good news is she also has a teacher who cares. It was interesting to watch the process they go through to un-earth (no pun intended) the clues and solve the mystery.

Raleigh is very quick witted and doesn’t mind unleashing that wit on her peers or adults who treat her like she’s “naive”. She really hates that word! I enjoyed watching her interaction with her father and learning their story. He’s a pretty amazing man for how he watches out for Raleigh, while dealing with her mother with such care and compassion.

Along the way, and quite unexpectedly for Raleigh, there’s potential for a sweet romance. As someone who prefers romance over straight suspense, that made this clever read that much more enjoyable. I hope I see more of DeMott in the next book.

This book is both entertaining and educational. I liked how the author has Raleigh use what she knows, recall the lessons she’s both learned in school as well as in her father’s courtroom to methodically work through the clues. Drew was very fortunate to have a friend like Raleigh and I’m very glad I chose to read this series. Young readers who enjoy action and heroines who use their brains will surely appreciate these books.


  1. Thank you for a lovely review–and for “getting” all that there is Raleigh Harmon. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book.

  2. This was a riveting, awesome book that grabbed me from the first word to the very end! I’m not even close to being YA age, but it was excellent–I highly recommend it!

  3. Joanna Stricker says:

    Loved this book, and I too am no where near a teen age. However I do read teen books for research and this one lost me in the story and characters right from the beginning! I’ve been recommending to young and old alike ever since.

  4. I have read (actually listened to on audiobook) the adult Raleigh series along with my pre-teen and teen daughters. Our youngst daughter was the first to read the young Raleigh series and couldn’t put it down. Unlike audiobooks, reading print means that one has to wait one’s turn for a chance to find out the back story… Worth the wait though! As always, Sibella delivers an engaging read about someone average girls could relate to, but offers hope and truth for Raleigh’s otherwise hopeless circumstances. In doing so, Sibella has created in Raleigh someone to whom girls can look up to and be mentored by. I am thrilled that this book is featured here and its top ranking has my fullest endorsement!

    • Andrea, how wonderful to listen to audio books with your daughters–nothing like building memories with books. Honored that Raleigh was part of that. Thanks for letting me know.

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