All the Things

A blog by Holly Papa.

Independence Rock by Debra Terry Hulet

by | Sep 30, 2011 | Blog | 4 comments

I met Debra Terry Hulet this summer during an author event at our nearby Kuna, Idaho library. She has an amazing story and if you ever get a chance, you need to go meet her! Her debut novel, Independence Rock, is somewhat unusual in Mormon Fiction because it deals with touchy subjects that are often glossed over in feel-good, faith-promoting literature. The protaganist, Katie McBride has an abusive, alcoholic mother and an absent father. Kudos to Debra for starting out with such a tough situation!

Although Katie’s ancestors were Mormon, Katie is not. So, when she is offered the chance to go on a handcart trek instead of be locked up in juvenile detention, Katie embarks on a difficult journey towards healing and understanding. I was excited to receive a review copy of Debra’s book, and I must say once I started reading it, I devoured it. Katie’s handcart trek is interwoven with the handcart trek of her ancestor, Katherine, whose journal Katie finds under the floorboards in her bedroom the night before she leaves. As Katie reads journal entries along the way, Katie and Katherine draw closer to one another despite the divide of years. When Katie faces a crisis she can’t see past, Katherine is able to help Katie in a very unusual way.

This is a great read for all youth, and it would especially be a great prep-book for youth groups planning on a handcart trek adventure. It’s made me want to go check out Independence Rock for myself. A big thank you goes to Debra for a great book and visit. I look forward to seeing more of Debra’s books in the future.

Want more handcart resources? Check out for some awesome mini handcarts. If you want to plan a trek, or learn more about handcart treks, check out Don’t forget to check out 17 Miracles, this wonderful (tear-jerker) movie is about handcart pioneers and the many miracles they witnessed along the road to Zion.


  1. Susan (Bloggin' 'bout Books)

    Sounds interesting. I don’t always love Mormon fiction, but this one sounds like a departure from the usual ooey-gooey storyline. I might just have to pick it up. Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. hollybookscoops

    Hi Susan,

    Thanks for checking out my post! I just checked out your site, and I can’t believe we never connected at BYU (I was there when you were)- I think we would definitely have been good friends. I think one of my favorite things about this book is that Katie is so different from the typical LDS teenager, and yet, so eerily similar to the ones who have a chip on their shoulder, and never want to look you in the eye. I hope you enjoy it!

  3. Cindy

    Sounds like one I’d like to read when things slow down a bit.

  4. Tara O'Neil

    I love your blog! I don’t know how you both find time to do it. This book looks like a good book, I’m excited to read it.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.