A Single Bead
Publication Date: January 1, 2015
On the anniversary of the plane crash that took the life of her beloved grandmother and threw her own mother into a deep depression, 16-year-old Katelyn Marie Roberts discovers a single bead from her grandmothers rosary-a rosary lost in the crash. A chance encounter with a stranger, who tells Katelyn that a similar bead saved her friends life, launches Katelyn and her family on a mysterious journey filled with glimmers of hope, mystical events and unexplained graces.
This is a beautiful young adult novel that centers around a family in need and a special rosary that affects the lives around them. This engaging story touches on very real and difficult issues such as loss and depression while focusing on the power of prayer and the importance of family.
I was intrigued with the main character, Katelyn, and how she was influenced not only by the crisis of faith in her own personal family but also by the very strong beliefs held by her large, extended family. The journey that Katelyn is thrown into surrounding her grandmother’s rosary is mysterious, thought-provoking, and moving. What a joyful message for anyone, that our prayers can be so powerful and life-changing. A Single Bead would make a wonderful Easter or Confirmation gift.
A Single Bead, by Stephanie Engelman, is not only well written: it tells a good story and taps into the heart of the reader.
It's good fiction that has Catholic themes. If you're not Catholic, you'll still enjoy it. If you are Catholic, you'll "get" it.
The storyline explores death and prayer, but in a completely natural way. It also considers how adults don't have it all together, how families, though imperfect, can pull together through hardship, and ways to pray and not be a total dork about it.
This book, while being unabashedly Catholic and Christian, is not unabashedly boring. It explores grief and depression and faces the burden of both. It's also a perspective that feels very real: the teens in this book aren't goody-two-shoes who pray all day, and there's even a scene where there's a "speed rosary" prayed. (That made me laugh.)
The characters have their flaws and foibles, just like real people. As someone who's been hanging around teens for the last few years (though not living with them, tis true), it struck me as very spot on.