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 gapsâgaps 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 werenât surprised. After all, it wasnât the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean OâSullivan 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. Thatâs just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?
Finn knows thatâs 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 Gapâtheir melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futuresâacclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgivenessâa 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 offÂ your girdles, girls, because Bone GapÂ 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 faceÂ on a day-to-day basis, especially women of foreign or mixed ethnicity.Â AlthoughÂ I am as white – fair skinned, light hair, blue eyes – as a Caucasian femaleÂ 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, theÂ female character’sÂ looks causeÂ her to be identified by society as “exotically”Â 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 Â face.
But more on that later…
First, let’sÂ 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 FinnÂ 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 placesÂ –Â almost toÂ Stephen King-esque levels. In Bone Gap, the boogeyman is real and evil takes aÂ horrifying form. Even thoughÂ Bone Gap deals withÂ manyÂ of the same issues that we have seen before in “standard” contemporary fiction, where it stands apartÂ is that it reaches into the deepest, darkest nature of humanity, dares to blur our preconceived notions aboutÂ good and evil and dances the lineÂ between real and unreal. The fact that Bone Gap dares to becomes more than just “contemporary fiction”Â –Â while still keeping its most troubling (and important) story elementsÂ ingrained in realityÂ –Â is what I love most about theÂ book.
ThatÂ moment that you no longer know what is real and what is not real is a very WOAHÂ moment.
Wait for it…
It’s notÂ that the following items “didn’t work” in the book, rather it’s thatÂ these itemsÂ 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 allÂ woman, can identify with. She is drop deadÂ 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 aÂ bit of a stretch that the only people whoÂ ever treat RozaÂ decently areÂ Finn and Sean. We learn a lot about Roza’s past, and it reallyÂ doesÂ 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 myÂ disbelief for just a bit.
Let meÂ putÂ this straight:Â I do believe that all women face theÂ same concerns that Roza has hadÂ to deal withÂ in her life, but I do notÂ believe that all men are such extreme jerks as those within Bone Gap. I just don’t. BUT…Â for the sake of the story, the extremes that Roza must face do fit within the “magical-realism” nature of the story.
ItÂ 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 – theÂ topics of sexual harassmentÂ andÂ assault, you may want to think twice about this book. But if feminist issues are of even theÂ slightestÂ bit of interest to you, Bone Gap is a MUST READ.
WantÂ my opinion?Â Bone Gap isÂ 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.