Bone Gap

I first heard about Bone Gap, written by Laura Ruby, on the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast as part of their round-up of National Book Award winners and I planned to write a post recommending from just about the minute I started it. So the fact that it just this week won the 2016 Printz Award for excellence in literature for young adults this week  makes this a very timely review (a rarity for me!).

Bone Gap tells the story of Finn, a teenage boy who lives with his older brother in a tiny, Midwestern farm town. Finn has a reputation as being a bit slow or spacey, and things have only gotten worse since the disappearance of Roza, a young woman who was living with them. Finn was the only witness to her kidnapping, but he hasn’t been able to describe the kidnapper and everyone in town (including his brother) has been looking at him askance ever since. Aaaand that’s about all I want to say.

I went in to this book knowing that it included elements of magic realism, and I’m going to tell you that much because I think our readers here more likely to pick this up if it’s got a bit of magic to it (Biblio-therapy readers are a fanciful lot). However, I also read the book summary on the inside of the cover and it gave me some details that I wish I hadn’t known. This story and its magic and its central mystery unfold so slowly and naturally that I think part of the joy of reading this is letting the story take you along at it’s own pace.

So, don’t read any online reviews, just trust me on this. Bone Gap is sweet and mysterious and sometimes dark and scary and sometimes small-town claustrophobic, and just all around interesting. It’s a book that cast a spell on me.

Kinsey’s Three Word Review: Magical small-town mystery

You might also like: I almost hate to make recommendations here, since anything I suggest is going to telegraph the ultimate tone of Bone Gap. But I can’t stop myself from telling people what to read, so, Alice Hoffman and Francesca Lia Block are two authors that do magic realism well. I like them both, although Hoffman’s books tend to tip towards middle-aged women and Block’s really speak to angsty 14-year-olds. Another option is Please Ignore Vera Dietz, by A.S. King, a book with an element of magic that splits the difference and would appeal to a wide range of folks.

3 comments on “Bone Gap

  1. Anna says:

    Oh, man, I just finished this, and it was so good! I immediately handed it off to Rebecca to read it, and at first she kind of shrugged and said that it sounded too generic. I had to assure her that the blurb had to keep it generic to avoid spoiling the coolest reveals, but that I also couldn’t even give her a teaser.

    • Kinsey says:

      I’m so glad you liked it! I knew the reveal about Finn going in, and I still liked the book but couldn’t but help but think what it would have been like to be figuring that out along with Finn and Petey.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Oh man, I just finished it and it is awesome!

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