Title: Bone Gap
Author: Laura Ruby
Genre/Themes: Young Adult, Magical Realism, love, loss, magic, mystery, regret, forgiveness
Blurb from Goodreads
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.
Bone Gap is such a strange little book. It’s a mix of fable and mystery with tales of folklore that all combine to make a bit of a mess. There were times reading the book that I almost loved it but mostly it just didn’t quite work for me.
And I don’t think the problem is with the magical realism genre as earlier this year I read one of the most subversive types of magical realism in Helen Oyeyemi’s Gingerbread and I adored that.
I think for me my major problem is with the first section of the book set during the month of May (milk moon). The pacing was all off and I felt like it took too long for the book to get going. The narrative lacked cohesion in those early parts and it made for a book that I kept waiting for something to bring these disparate elements together. I didn’t find the prose to be that lyrical or poetic enough for me to simply be moved by the magic of words alone.
I did however enjoy the chapters from Roza’s perspective but Finn’s early chapters just lacked both a clarity of plot and depth of character and felt awkward and clumsy to read.
I just needed more.
And the more turned out to be the character of Petey.
Once the author started to have some chapters from Petey’s PoV everything came together in a far more pleasing manner. I began to care more about all the characters because through Petey’s eyes Bone Gap truly came alive for me; I cared more about the quirky mysteriousness of the townspeople’s existence, started to understand their motivations and properly empathised with all of their individual stories.
And only after that did the real plot finally reveal itself and the book became quite a fascinating exploration of what it is we see when we dearly love someone.
So this was a book of both hits and misses.
It had a brilliant premise and mixed fable in nicely with reality.
But the characters were a little too underdeveloped for my personal preference and the book suffered with pacing issues as the plot took too long to get going.
I’m thinking somewhere between 2.5 and 3 stars.