Bone Gap by Laura Ruby (2015)
YA Fiction | Magical Realism | Mystery
“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.”
pooled ink Review:
This is the type of book I’m surprised an agent would eagerly attach themselves to and a publisher would enthusiastically bankroll, but it’s also the type of book that I’m unsurprised has been met with such praise from its readers. The entire story is such an eerie mystery, an enthralling enigma of voice and color. This book is undeniably strange yet oddly lulling and you can’t help but want to know.
It’s a story about love and perception. Each shift in the plot further explores how we perceive those we love, and how we perceive our own selves. Told via different viewpoints and set chillingly on a kidnapping plot involving the seen, the unseen, and the soft whispers of the corn that always seem a bit alive alive, we follow Finn as he hunts for Roza, the girl everyone loved.
For the most part this was a contemporary fiction but throughout the story there are woven threads of the impossible. Every detail, both earthbound and fantastical, is sewn seamlessly and will keep you captivated as you try and sort out what exactly is the truth.
This idea of perception is perfectly explored in the backdrop of the tiny town called Bone Gap. People come, people go, choices are made, and consequences follow, but no matter who a person is or what may have happened, everyone will see it how they see it regardless of what may be true. Finn never looks people in the eye, he’s a weird kid…but what if there were more to it? Roza is a beautiful girl who people can’t help but love…but what if there were more to her? Sean is a superhero admired by all…but what if he was a bit broken too? And Petey, well everyone knows all about her…but what if it wasn’t all true? This book dives into what we choose to see. Some people see, but they don’t see. Sometimes people struggle to even accurately see themselves. But finding that person who doesn’t just see you, but sees you, well, that’s worth everything in this mortal life.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was an interesting choice, definitely not something one sees often on the shelves. It’s unique, creepy, impossible, and infuriatingly insightful. I will say that there were some parts/elements that were left vague/a bit confusing or weren’t very well explained but I got the overall story/point/feeling and still enjoyed it.
The jumps between perspectives were executed beautifully, each chapter working to further the tale, each character trying to explain what they couldn’t quite understand. This was an absolutely refreshing read after seeing so many mind-numbing copycats on the shelves these days and I’d recommend it to anyone with patience and curiosity aplenty. It’s not action-packed, it’s not salivating with drama, but it will sing you a lullaby that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck yet will pull you along just the same. Also, you’ll forever think twice before dashing into a cornfield or befriending a scarecrow.
A unique and eerie mystery about a girl who goes missing and a town who can’t quite see it, Bone Gap’s pages rustle with the strange, the frightening, the impossible, and a piercing depth that will have you held prisoner amongst the corn until you finally see.
Purchase here: Bone Gap
Similar Recommended Reads: The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
Meet Laura Ruby!
Raised in the wilds of suburban New Jersey, Laura Ruby now lives in Chicago with her family. Currently, she is working on several thousand projects, drinking way too much coffee, and searching for new tunes for her iPod.