“You can slip into the gap and never find your way out.
Or maybe you don’t want to find your way out.”
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.
So, my first thought when I reached page 6 of this book was ‘Why didn’t I pick this up sooner?’ And that feeling stayed with me through the entire novel. A melancholy mystery, both thrilling and sticky as molasses, Bone Gap is as good a novel as I have ever read. I’ll admit that it was hard at times, when I was halfway through the book and I still couldn’t describe it to anyone who asked me what it was about better than ‘A girl went missing and there’s bees.’ And yet I still give this book 5 out of 5 stars for the way it wrapped around me like a warm blanket and made me feel like I was drowning in honey. In a good way- a great way.
One of the most confusing books I’ve ever read, Bone Gap is the kind of book that doesn’t release any of the answers to your many questions until far, far into the novel. If you’re a reader who likes to have a piece every few pages, you’re out of luck. All through the novel you’re left with question after question, building and building until you can hardly stand the anticipation and the wondering. Finn is a peculiar sort, Petey is wild and open, Sean is dark and brooding (also my favorite), Roza is beautiful and earthy, and you never know more than that when you’re reading. The plot has a sort of melancholy feel about it, and the music playing in my head was the theme of shows like Eureka and Granite Flats. Slow lazy, with the feeling that you don’t really know what’s lurking beneath the surface of the sleepy little town you find yourself in. Bone Gap is like that, delightfully creepy, nerve-wracking in the best sort of way because the danger could come from any direction, from any of these happy town people working away at their respective jobs.
Anyway, if I’m being honest with you all, I’ll tell you that you probably will have no clue what’s going on for most of the book. If you’re like me, you won’t care, and you’ll adore it for the rich, vibrant writing and the promise of a thrilling conclusion. Peppered with POV changes and flashbacks, this novel made me swoon with all the detailed history, the well-placed humor just when you think you’re going to drown in the honey molasses melancholy that surrounds the characters.
When there’s finally an answer to your questions, when you finally understand what the heck is going on, you still feel a little confused. I wish it had happened slower, but then if it was slower, it wouldn’t have been as (for lack of a better word) magical. Because it was magical, the way every tiny detail you’ve been learning about the town and its residents twine together and finally, finally you can see the whole story woven out like a tapestry and you understand. That final moment of clarity (which I’m still getting more glimpses of) make you truly aware of just how amazing this book is. So go read it. Now.
I love pretty much everyone in this book, and the way their relationships grow and change. Take, for instance, Finn and Petey (Priscilla). At the start of the book, Finn and Petey are the outcasts- strange, avoided, pitied. But as they grow into themselves and start to see each other (and others) for who they really are, they change. And the town changes with them, changing opinions and acting on them almost as one entity (a hivemind, if you will). Finn learns about himself with the help of Petey, and his determination and intensity is hard to balance- but Laura Ruby destroys it. She makes Finn into someone relatable even with the corn whispering to him, she makes Petey wild and fierce and lovable even with her insecurities and inner demons (figuratively, of course). No one gets annoying in this book (except the Rude boys) which is a miracle in itself. It seems like at some point in most books the main character becomes so frustrating and irritating that you can’t help shaking the book as if you can knock some sense into them, but not Bone Gap. There was never a moment when I wanted to skip over dialogue or inner feelings, and I’m so, so happy about that.
Even the villain in this story is so amazingly crafted- a mystery inside an enigma, blurred to the point of terrifying normalcy, never quite in view but always there, invading homes and lives and worlds. He crosses the line between fantasy and reality, jumps between worlds to enter your waking nightmares. And that’s all I’m going to say about him, because any more would make it less fun for you.
Sean and Roza, though. The most beautifully understated love story of all time. I ached for their POVs, because when they happened, it was such a soft, easy love story to fall into. Told in bits and pieces marked by the pain of separation and loss, their story winds into something beautiful, almost as if they didn’t know they were falling in love and you get to watch this new discovery of feelings. But Sean- how can I describe him? You’ll just have to go read the book. He’s so quietly heroic, and everyone sees him as the hero, but when you catch glimpses of the sadness in him, you can’t help but feel heartbroken. And you can never hate him for not going to find Roza because you can just feel that even living is almost too much for him,, let alone facing that despair of not finding her day after day after day. Roza, for her part, is wonderfully brave and bold, fresh like the dew and beautiful as the dawn, opening the world of Sean and Finn and then ripping that away when she’s stolen. A powerful sense of loss followers her story, but never so much that she gives up. She always keeps going, always looks for a way out, never forgets her home even when it seems impossible to get back. I could write 1000 more words about how much I love them, but I think you all should just pick up Bone Gap and find out for yourselves.
WHAT TO WATCH (SPOILERS):
There was some material inappropriate for younger teens- Finn is very clearly a teenage boy, and he thinks like one. He also acts like one. Petey is a teenage girl, and they do end up having sex, though it is not graphically described at all, only brushed over enough that you know it happened. One of the characters also ends up being gay, but that’s only commented on near the end of the book briefly. Other than that, there’s also a touch of the unknown- could be magic, could be imagination, or it could be another world entirely. But that’s all.
I feel like I shouldn’t talk about this book any more, lest I give something away. All I can emphasize is how much I loved . It easily jumps to the top of my favorite books so far this year, and that’s saying something. I’ve read a lot of books so far. 10 of 5 stars, okay? Bone Gap is what every person should read to understand what the YA genre is about- it’s raw, it’s real, it’s magic in a place where magic doesn’t seem to exist, with unforgettable characters that reach in and grab your heart before you can put up any walls. It’s seeing the same world from different eyes, and that’s something we should all be aware of. We all belong to this world, and we shouldn’t step on anyone else because they see it differently than we do. Maybe the way they see it is going to save someone someday.
Questions? Comments? Books you’d like me to review? Post a comment below and I’ll be sure to check it out!