books

Bone Gap

—Winner of the 2016 Michael L. Printz Award for
   Excellence in Young Adult Literature
—National Book Award Finalist

Bone Gap

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.

Read the Epic Reads interview with Laura about Bone Gap


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Balzer + Bray (March 2015), 368 pages, ISBN: 978-0062317605


Praise

 "Ruby's enigmatic novel weaves together the brutal realism of small-town cruelties and sexual violence with the best kind of dreamlike folk magic, inflecting the hard parts with fairy tale softness...and shimmering, hopeful mysticism. With rich characters, captivating world building, and a stunning secret at its heart, Bone Gap is utterly bewitching."
   —Booklist (STARRED REVIEW)

 "Told from the viewpoints of multiple Bone Gap citizens, this inventive modern fable combines elements of folklore, mythology, romance and feminism....Both Roza and Finn's love interest, Priscilla, develop over the course of the magically real journey into strong women to be reckoned with.... Cleverly conceived and lusciously written."
   —Kirkus Reviews (STARRED REVIEW)

 "Ruby raises incisive questions about feminine beauty, identity, and power...in a story full of subtle magic that is not compelled to provide concrete explanations. A haunting and inventive work that subverts expectations at every turn."
   —Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW)

 "One part magical realism and two parts fantasy, Bone Gap is a story of whispering corn, buzzing bees, and glimpses of magic in parallel universes...Like in so many classic small-town stories, the town of Bone Gap becomes an integral character. Its collective judgment influences each main character; its magic is both the question and the answer to this very complex, emotional puzzle...The real magic in Bone Gap is the discovery of love, an idea many stories misrepresent but Bone Gap explores with the utmost honesty and truth." 5Q/5P
   —Voya (STARRED REVIEW)

"It is a rare book that sits comfortably on the shelf with the works of Twain, McCullers, Conroy, Stephen King, and D'Aulaires' Greek Myths—rarer still that a novel combines elements of these authors together. Bone Gap does just this, to superb effect. We start with a boy named Finn and his brother, Sean. Sean is the classic hero: strong, silent, great at everything he does. Finn is a pretty boy whose otherworldly goofiness has earned him the nicknames Spaceman, Sidetrack, and Moonface. Along comes Roza, a beautiful and damaged young woman, fleeing from some unknown evil. When she disappears, only Finn witnesses her abduction and he is unable to describe her captor. He is also unsure whether she left by force or choice. The author defies readers' expectations at every turn. In this world, the evidence of one's senses counts for little; appearances, even less. Heroism isn't born of muscle, competence, and desire, but of the ability to look beyond the surface and embrace otherworldliness and kindred spirits. Sex happens, but almost incidentally. Evil happens, embodied in a timeless, nameless horror that survives on the mere idea of beauty. Ruby's novel deserves to be read and reread. It is powerful, beautiful, extraordinary."
   —Nina Sachs, School Library Journal

"...romantic where it matters, empowering where it counts and beautiful in its telling."
   —The Booksmugglers

"It's atmospheric; it's mesmerizingly rhythmic; at times scary, at times romantic, at times so real that the characters' experiences will feel like your own memories...it's emotionally satisfying...It's a book with a twist....And as much as I just want to sit here and keep gushing, Bone Gap is one that is best experienced for oneself."
   —Leila Roy, Kirkus, "What's in a Face"

"Bone Gap marks Laura Ruby as one of fiction's most original voices. She is capable of moving you to tears, terrifying you on deep and dream-like levels, and making your heart shout with happiness. This book is magic realism at its most magical."
   —E. Lockhart, author of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and We Were Liars

"Bone Gap is an imaginative corkscrew of a mystery about a town full of surreal and sinister secrets. Laura Ruby blends a fairy-tale atmosphere with the heart-stopping grip of a thriller in this exquisite world you can't—and won't want to—escape."
   —Nova Ren Suma, author of Imaginary Girls, Seventeen & Gone, and The Walls Around Us

"Bone Gap bewitches with indelibly real characters, beautiful prose, and fearless refusal to bow to convention. A thoroughly unforgettable experience."
   —Franny Billingsley, author of The Folk Keeper and Chime

"A novel that carries you away from its first word into a world that is beautiful, unsettling, magical and powerfully real all at once. Once you've been to Bone Gap, you won't forget it."
   —Courtney Summers, author of Some Girls Are and This Is Not A Test

"With lyrical and often stunning prose, Laura Ruby delivers a magical love story and chilling thriller with a cast of characters both surprising and endearing. Bone Gap will haunt you."
   —Steve Brezenoff, Author of Brooklyn, Burning and GIRL in Real Life

"Laura Ruby's Bone Gap is a novel that defies genre — part mystery, part romance, part fantasy, part realistic fiction, it has a little bit of everything. Ruby's masterful storytelling weaves all of these together to create a tale that is so much more than the sum of its parts. Her characters are the most memorable and sympathetic we've read in quite some time and they stayed with us long after finishing the story. This book is different than anything we have ever read. We can, without a doubt, say this is truly an original story and that we loved this book!"
   —Marcus Mayer and Katherine Warde, Addendum Bookstore, Minneapolis, MN

LAURA'S BOOKS FOR TEENS:
Bone Gap
Bad Apple
Play Me
Good Girls