Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: March 3, 2015
ARC from Edelweiss
"Bone Gap marks Laura Ruby as one of fiction's most original voices. She is capable of moving you to tears, terrifying you on deep and dreamlike levels, and making your heart shout with happiness. This book is magic realism at its most magical."
—E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars
Bone Gap is the story of Roza, a beautiful girl who is taken from a quiet midwestern town and imprisoned by a mysterious man, and Finn, the only witness, who cannot forgive himself for being unable to identify her kidnapper. As we follow them through their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures, acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.
While reading this book and especially while nearing the end of it, I kept thinking at the back of my mind how incredibly difficult reviewing this book will be. After finishing with it and putting it down, I have been trying to get my thoughts together and think about this book, but honestly, I still have no idea what I am supposed to write. But I will try and hopefully make you want to pick up this book as well.
Bone Gap is a small town surrounded by corn fields. Though is looks like an ordinary town, the people living there and the things taken place within the town limits make it anything but ordinary. The story begins from when Roza, a mysterious, beautiful girl disappears from the O'Sullivan house. Though the younger son of the family, Finn, insists that Roza was taken from a mysterious man whose face he cannot describe, the people at Bone Gap do not wonder about Roza's disappearance for long. It would not be the first time someone has left the O'Sullivan boys behind, and it would not be the first time Finn, who everyone knows as Moonface or Sidetrack, would be making up stories that don't make any sense.
But what happened to Roza is not as simple as everyone believes it to be, and it leads to a chain of events that not only reveals more about Roza and Finn, but also the other people of Bone Gap and the town itself. The chapters in this novel change between different characters and through them we get to experience different point of views, different experiences and different opinions.
Bone Gap was definitely a very new, unique reading experience for me. For some reason it reminded me a little of the reading experience I had while reading Hundred Years of Solitude – I guess the structure of the novel and the hidden magic behind the ordinary seeming world led me to make that connection. I would definitely say that Bone Gap is a much more “challenging” reading experience than some other YA contemporary/fantasy releases, just because of its structure and the language used in it. Throughout this novel there were points in which I had no idea what was going on and points I just had to put the book down for a while to really think about what is happening. With many YA releases I just fly through from page one to the last page on one sitting – with Bone Gap I was not able to do that.
Laura Ruby is a completely new author for me, but after reading Bone Gap I definitely want to read more from her simply because of the wonderful world building and the breathtaking way she uses the English language with. I love how little glimpses of the fantastical and the magical were added to this book and the way I was made to question the events that took place – did they actually happen, or where the magical elements just part of someone's imagination.
What I especially loved about Bone Gap was the way Ruby writes about women and girls. Her female characters, though occasionally in situations in which they are controlled by men, understand their value and their uniqueness, and are ready to fight for their rights and freedom. Especially Roza and Petey were interesting characters to read about, the other being regarded as beautiful by everyone and the other seen as “interesting” looking and somewhat repulsive. The process these characters go through to understand themselves and the world around them is extremely well constructed and I was delighted to see such characterisation of women in a YA novel.
If you have a feeling like my review is lacking in detail, that is just because I do not want to give too much away from this wonderful novel. The events of this novel and the set of wonderful characters in a very unique, intriguing setting are definitely worth reading about and I hope that this rambling review has made you curious to meet Finn, Roza and the other people of Bone Gap.
I love multiple point p.o.v's since they give a much broader spectrum and also the chance to get a peak inside the heads of the other characters, not just Finn. Can I please give a shout out to Finn for being such an amazing person. I liked how all the cast had such intelligence and self awareness to them, even in the face of personal issues.
The different plot points were tied together nicely. It's hard to blend things like magical horses and kidnappings into a (semi) believable tale with out coming off as cheesy but I think this was done extraordinarily well. The more and more I see of this "magical realism" theme, the more books I want to find with that premise. It's alluring to have some magic threaded through events that are mostly rooted in reality (well...a fictional reality).
I can't say much more with out giving anything away so i leave you with this. Make sure you can devote the time and attention to this book while reading since not only will you need to but it deserves it.