FICTION

Bone Gap

368p. HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray. Mar. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062317605; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780062317636.
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Gr 10 Up—It is a rare book that sits comfortably on the shelf with the works of Twain, McCullers, Conroy, Stephen King, and D'Aulaires' Greek Myths-rarer still that a novel combines elements of these authors together. Bone Gap does just this, to superb effect. We start with a boy named Finn and his brother, Sean. Sean is the classic hero: strong, silent, great at everything he does. Finn is a pretty boy whose otherworldly goofiness has earned him the nicknames Spaceman, Sidetrack, and Moonface. Along comes Rosza, a beautiful and damaged young woman, fleeing from some unknown evil. When she disappears, only Finn witnesses her abduction and he is unable to describe her captor. He is also unsure whether she left by force or choice. The author defies readers' expectations at every turn. In this world, the evidence of one's senses counts for little; appearances, even less. Heroism isn't born of muscle, competence, and desire, but of the ability to look beyond the surface and embrace otherworldliness and kindred spirits. Sex happens, but almost incidentally. Evil happens, embodied in a timeless, nameless horror that survives on the mere idea of beauty. A powerful novel.—Nina Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, ME
Finn has always been considered a little strange, and now that Roza has disappeared, his small town of Bone Gap holds him responsible. Finn alleges that she was kidnapped, but he cannot offer up a useful description of the abductor. Roza had appeared under mysterious circumstances a year before, and was taken in by Finn and his older brother, Sean, who subsequently developed a crush on her—and now wonders if perhaps her departure was a voluntary rejection of him. But Roza has been taken by a dangerous stranger and imprisoned in a series of bizarre supernatural dwellings from which she cannot escape—unless she agrees to marry the kidnapper. As Finn tries to puzzle out how to find Roza, he develops his own romantic interest in the strongly independent Priscilla (Petey, for short), despite what the town may think. Kidnapped young women are not a new trope in YA fiction, but such books often read like mysteries or thrillers, while this one reads more like a fable, with the matter-of-fact inclusion of magical realism. Finn does find Roza, he does fall in love with Petey, and everybody—for the most part—does live happily ever after, but afterward the reader is left to ponder the strange events, quirky characters, and resonant themes. jonathan hunt
Roza has disappeared; Finn alleges that she was kidnapped, but he cannot offer up a useful description of the abductor. The kidnapped-young-women trope isn't new, but such books often read like mysteries or thrillers, while this one reads more like a fable, with the matter-of-fact inclusion of magical realism. Readers will be left pondering the strange events, quirky characters, and resonant themes.

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