by Laura Ruby
–review by Bronto Incognito
Scarecrows weren’t meant to scare the crows, they were meant to scare the corn. It was enough to give a person nightmares. Otherwise, why would so many horror movies have cornfields in them?
Book-a-likes: I don’t really know on this one. I’m going with Fog Magic by Julia L. Sauer. The one from the 1940’s where the girl visits an entire town that disappears when the fog does? That’s about as close as I can get to this one.
Or maybe The Nest by Kenneth Oppel.
Before starting it I’d heard good things about Bone Gap, but didn’t really know much about it. On the surface it’s a story about a boy named Finn who lives with his older brother, Sean. For a while this mysterious Polish girl named Roza lived with them, and she and Sean were quickly falling in love with each other. And then Roza was kidnapped.
Only problem is, Finn is the only one who saw the kidnapping and no one believes him. He’s always been a little off, never seems to look people in the eye, and despite having witnessed a supposed crime he can’t give any kind of description as to what the man looked like. The best he can do is describe the way he moved.
Which really isn’t that helpful.
Now I wish I could give you a better kind of description as to what this book is like. It’s almost magical realism, but not quite. Don’t let that quote above fool you. Most of this book is presented pretty straightforward. At least from Finn’s perspective. And the magic that he sees could easily be explained away as the magic of wild nights and first loves and girls that make your stomach do flip-flops. But from Roza’s perspective…
She’s being held by the mysterious, indescribable man of Finn’s nightmares, but things are…weird. First she’s held in a common suburban house, kind of like the book Room by Emma Donoghue (NOT a young adult novel). But then he moves her and moves her again, and nothing seems to make sense or seem possible in a real world. So the whole time you’re left with one big pulsing question:
WHAT THE HECK IS REALLY GOING ON???
Which is partly why this book feels like The Nest. Well, that and the insect theme. And like in The Nest I don’t want to give too much away, so I won’t. But I will say that the writing has that beautiful lyrical wistfulness that you often only find in adult novels as they wax poetic about the joys and heartbreaks of youth. There are so many great lines in this book, it’s hard to choose just one. I love how both Roza and Petey have the same problem for different reasons. One is pretty and the other ugly and people (boys in particular) never see them for who they truly are. All they see is the benefits or disadvantages provided by the girls’ looks.
There will be boys who will tell you you’re beautiful, but only a few will see you.
I feel like this is a book that I’ll have to sit with for a while, stew over it, and figure out just what I think it’s trying to say. Because I get a lot of it, but I’m not naive enough to think I’ve got all of it. This story is far too layered and complex for that.
So if anyone else out there has read this book and wants to share their thoughts on it, please do! I need people to discuss this one with!!!
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