Troubador The Journal

Released: 28/02/2018

ISBN: 9781788039642

Format: Paperback

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The Journal


What do you do when you lose the only thing that you truly care for? 

Ethan Willis is a confused 18 year old who struggles with the uncertainties of life and has just embarked on a quest to find his elder sister, Charlotte, who disappeared whilst travelling in South East Asia. Ethan admires and idolises his sister for her spontaneity, individualism and worldly understanding. His quest to locate her throws him into the backpacking world and, following what could be his sister’s ghost, he is taken on a journey through the countryside of Cambodia, into the remotest parts of Laos and finally to the party islands of Thailand. 

When Ethan finds his sister’s journal by chance, he traces her footsteps. The travel journal, along with flashbacks to their childhood, reveals Charlotte’s nature and her relationship with Ethan, taking the young man on an existential journey as he is led to address many of his questions about meaning, truth and beauty.

With the help of a Elodie, a fragile and complex girl with whom he has developed a meaningful relationship, and his own growing sense of self-esteem, Ethan begins to question his relationship with his sister and why she disappeared. When he finally learns of a place in which he might be able to locate his sister, will he be ready to find her?

Praise for 'The Journal':
"The Journal by R.D. Stevens is a heartwarming story that explores themes of family, adventure, and the quest for meaning. Meet eighteen-year-old Ethan Willis, who sets out on a journey to locate the sister who’s been gone for years, travelling across South East Asia. Follow the protagonist as he travels through the unfamiliar, yet exciting landscapes of Cambodia, Laos, and the Islands of Thailand. He locates a journal left by his sister that poignantly documents her philosophy on life, her relationships, and her personal journey, so the young Ethan feels both connected and left with many questions as he reads it. When this journey ends, will he ever be the same again and will he be able to locate his sister?

The writing is highly descriptive and the author does an excellent job in leading readers into the psychology of the young protagonist. Young readers can relate to many of the experiences described in this story. I enjoyed the relationship between Ethan and his sister, but what greatly surprised me was the author’s treatment of setting. It comes out vividly through the narrative and readers will feel thrust into an exciting world where South East Asia comes out in striking colors. Whether describing a back road in Cambodia or capturing the party spirit of the Thai, R.D. Stevens makes the reader feel as though they are part of the ambiance. The pacing is great and the reader is spurred on by curiosity to discover what happens next, looking forward to an inevitable encounter between two siblings, yet uncertain if it could ever happen. The Journal is a compelling read with memorable characters, a great setting, and a gripping plot. 5 STARS" Reader's Favorite

"there are bright moments of beautiful description throughout and observations that are merely allowed to sit for the reader to interpret"

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Readers' Favorite

There's nothing worse than freedom when you have no place to be." This book touched me to the core. Charlotte's habit of writing aphorisms and Ethan's dealing with modes, kindred spirits thinking deep thoughts, so beautiful it hurts. I couldn't put it down and kept highlighting.

Enter Southeast Asia, very well described sights, sounds, smells and a bit of history. I could just picture myself covered in red-orange dust, on a mission to find out what happened to Charlotte.

by Linda Druijff

Wow this is really a beautiful story. I don't typically like stories about traveling but this was about so much more than that. Nice job.

by Nina Hannah

I was kindly sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

When I first received this book I was excited to read it as the blurb sounded very interesting.

Although it took me two attempts to finish this book, I did enjoy reading it, albeit some parts more than others.

You’re thrown into the world of backpacking, learning all about the highs and lows of the experience.

I was left with a lot of unanswered questions at the end of this book. I know this style of ending will appeal to some readers as they like to form their own conclusion but, I prefer reading books with a conclusive ending. The fact that this book ended with a huge cliffhanger really disappointed me as I don’t believe there will be a sequel (however, if there is going to be a sequel then all will be forgiven).

It’s full of philosophical poems which are incredibly thought-provoking.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in backpacking around South East Asia.
Or anyone who enjoys a book that makes you think and question things!

by Laura Sarjeant

R. D.  Stevens

R. D. STEVENS grew up in Kent, England and, after studying for his Philosophy degree, escaped and travelled the world for two years. He worked in the charity sector briefly before training as a teacher and completing his MA in Religious Education. He currently works as Head of Philosophy at a school in London. 'The Journal' is his debut novel.

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