Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Published by Harper Collins on March 3rd 2015
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Social Issues, Women's Issues, Young Adult
Source: ARC from Publisher
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I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?
Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.
As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—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.
We all know that “issue” books exist. Some of us love to read them, and some of us do not. Usually, these issue books take up a good part of the contemporary market. But what of the other genres? Where are the fantasy issue books? Where are the sci-fi issue books? Have you ever actually read a book about vampires fighting The Man for vampire rights?
Did you answer “no” to all of the above? Well throw off your girdles, girls, because Bone Gap by Laura Ruby is one genre-bending issue book that will have people talking in 2015.
On its surface, Bone Gap is a solid contemporary story about the issues that many women face on a day-to-day basis, especially women of foreign or mixed ethnicity. Although I am as white – fair skinned, light hair, blue eyes – as a Caucasian female can get, I can only imagine how difficult it would be for a dark-skinned or foreign woman to transplant herself from her home country to rural Midwest America and try to get by. Add the fact that, in Bone Gap, the female character’s looks cause her to be identified by society as “exotically” beautiful… She’s just “asking” for trouble, right? Right?! …WRONG. While I agree that this is not the way that it should be, Bone Gap dares to address such the problem that beautiful women face in our society today. Wel,, really the problems that ALL of us face.
But more on that later…
First, let’s talk about Bone Gap‘s main male character, Finn. Finn is a most delightful character. He is odd, yes, but he is a young man that readers can get behind. I compare the way I feel about Finn to the way that I felt about Noah in I’ll Give You the Sun (minus the fact that Finn is not homosexual like Noah). They are both unique and creative minds. They are both innocent, yet not unaffected by the sadness in their world. In a book about the many dangers that women face, I am very grateful that the male lead is a keeper.
Bone Gap and I’ll Give You the Sun are actually quite familiar, since both books are interwoven with magical realism. Where Bone Gap differs is that it takes the magical elements to much darker places – almost to Stephen King-esque levels. In Bone Gap, the boogeyman is real and evil takes a horrifying form. Even though Bone Gap deals with many of the same issues that we have seen before in “standard” contemporary fiction, where it stands apart is that it reaches into the deepest, darkest nature of humanity, dares to blur our preconceived notions about good and evil and dances the line between real and unreal. The fact that Bone Gap dares to becomes more than just “contemporary fiction” – while still keeping its most troubling (and important) story elements ingrained in reality – is what I love most about the book.
That moment that you no longer know what is real and what is not real is a very WOAH moment.
Wait for it…
It’s not that the following items “didn’t work” in the book, rather it’s that these items will likely divide the readers of Bone Gap…
Bone Gap is, at its core, a very feminist book.
Roza is a character that very few, yet at the same time all woman, can identify with. She is drop dead beautiful (that’s the “very few” part I was just talking about) and the various men that she meets tent to treat her more like an object than an actual person (and that’s the “all woman” part). BUT… I did find it a bit of a stretch that the only people who ever treat Roza decently are Finn and Sean. We learn a lot about Roza’s past, and it really does come across as though all the men she meets in her travels really do treat her like their own little play thing.
Ugh, poor Roza…
Ugh, pardon me as I suspend my disbelief for just a bit.
Let me put this straight: I do believe that all women face the same concerns that Roza has had to deal with in her life, but I do not believe that all men are such extreme jerks as those within Bone Gap. I just don’t. BUT… for the sake of the story, the extremes that Roza must face do fit within the “magical-realism” nature of the story.
It is just that: extreme.
These extreme feminist issues are at the very core of the story in Bone Gap. If you have problems with – or strongly dislike – the topics of sexual harassment and assault, you may want to think twice about this book. But if feminist issues are of even the slightest bit of interest to you, Bone Gap is a MUST READ.
Want my opinion? Bone Gap is a very important book that I believe all people should read.
Bone Gap is a book that is so chilling, so surreal, so unlike most other stories…
ABSOLUTELY, WITHOUT ANY DOUBT, one of my favorite reads this year.
It’ll be one to watch for – and to talk about – in 2015.
I implore you, add Bone Gap to your wish list. Pronto.