Goodreads: Bone Gap
Published: March 3, 2015
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.
Bone Gap is a beautifully unique story that brings readers to a small town with a dark mystery. The only problem: no one even believes in the mystery except Finn. He knows his brother’s girlfriend Roza was kidnapped by a mysterious man who moves like the corn, but no one will believe him. Finn already has a reputation in town for being odd, so the story follows him on his journey to convince others of the truth–or risk finding Roza himself.
The opening of the story is a little slow, and it will take readers time to become situated in the world of Bone Gap. Not everything magical about it is fully explained by the end of the novel (as usual with magic realism), so readers will have to content to simply go along for the ride. Additionally, though many interesting things happen, the story is not really about the plot; it’s more about the characters finding themselves and redefining their relationships with each other.
The one part of the book I struggled with is Roza herself. No one will stop emphasizing just how beautiful she is, the most beautiful girl in the world. Anyone would do anything for this amazingly beautiful girl. At times, I wanted to scream, “Ok, I get it!” Oddly enough, however, a large point of the book is that physical beauty pales in comparison to inner beauty. So, to emphasize that Roza is the most amazing person to ever live, the author makes sure readers know she is kind, intelligent, courageous, and perceptive, too. She is also good at cooking and gardening. I’m not sure if she has any flaws at all, beyond potentially being occasionally naive. Her perfection was overdone, and this was a place where the story bordered on fairy tale in a way I wasn’t sure it meant to. Roza comes across almost as a myth, the perfect fairy tale princess.
I loved the rest of the characters with less reservation, however, and getting to know them is one of the joys of the book. Finn and Sean have a complicated relationship, but they are also brothers and always prioritize that part of their identities. Finn’s love interest is fantastic, as well, even if she pulls some cliche YA moves to cause a bit of romantic drama. Small town characters pepper the rest of the novel.
I didn’t know what to expect when I first started reading Bone Gap. I’m not sure the jacket summary really gets across the quiet magic that imbues the story. I do know, however, that this will probably make my list of best books I read this year. Highly recommended.