Bone Gap by Laura Ruby / ★★★★★
One sentence summary: Finn O’Sullivan lives in the strange town of Bone Gap, Illinois and is a witness to the kidnapping of the beautiful Polish girl, Roza, but nobody quite believes him.
He was tired of everyone believing they knew everything there was to know about him, as if a person never grew, a person never changed, a person was born a weird and dreamy little kid with too-red lips and stayed that way forever just to keep things simple for everyone else.
Genre: Magical Realism/Young Adult
I had very high expectations going into this book and, beautifully, it lived up to all of those expectations. This is definitely one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. I enjoyed every word of it, and more than that, it was one of those reads that really made me feel like I’d learned something, like a part of my worldview had been just slightly altered.
Not only has it been a while since I’ve read something like this, but it’s been a while since I’ve read a book with a plot twist that really got me. One I didn’t see coming but made complete and total sense once I realized it. I actually put down the book and said “OH” out loud. It can be fun to predict a plot twist, but I do love when a book bests me. And this book was full of all sorts of twists and turns. Bone Gap is made of magical realism, a surreal sense of fantasy, a definite sense of creepiness, a dash of mythology, and a good dose of reality. I never knew where the plot was going, found myself very confused at times, but I decided to trust that the book would take me to the right place. Bone Gap was fascinatingly original, twisting in all different directions from usual tropes and cliches.
This book weaves the past and the present together wonderfully and smoothly, taking the reader back and forth without ever slowing or speeding the pace. It took me from the strangest fantastical scene to one of cold hard reality and it worked. It creeped me out, it stressed me out, it charmed me, it made me ache, and it made me laugh. I can understand why someone might be put off by the strangeness of this book, but I loved it. It shed great light on beauty and love and the terrible way people and society perceive these things and what they do with them.
I loved the characters in this book. Like, warm and tenderly. It took a bit to get to know them and warm up to them, and I wasn’t always sure what to trust about them, but wow. I loved how the story wove them all together and revealed their truths.
We have Finn, who saw Roza get kidnapped, but no one quite believes him because he can’t remember the kidnapper’s face- and Finn might have let her go. Sean, Finn’s older brother who loves Roza and gives everything up for everyone. Roza, the headstrong Polish girl with the beautiful face, and Petey, the headstrong beekeeping girl with the ugly face.
I particularly love what Ruby did with her female characters. I found so much truth in Roza and Petey’s stories. I loved their personalities and I loved the way their hearts were revealed to us. I loved the juxtaposition between them. They made such an impression on me, and their stories really hit certain nerves within me.
I didn’t expect to love the romance so much, but as I grew to know the characters better, the sweeter the romance became. And as I came to know the harsher parts of these characters’ stories, it only made the romance more sweet and heartbreaking.
The writing was beautiful. Sometimes I’ll read a whole book and not a single quote will stand out for me to use in my review, but I had jotted down so many from Bone Gap it was hard to decide which to use. The writing was fluid and smooth and it just flowed from page to page. She made a small town in Illinois feel like such a lonely place, such a creepy place, and such a lovely place at once.
Was I satisfied?
Yes. This book made a really profound impression on me, and it was a fantastic story from start to finish. It was one of those books I didn’t want to end because I didn’t want to leave the characters, but I had to know how it would finish. I loved this book.