Friday, December 4, 2015

Guest review: Magical realism

Reviewed by Anush B., reference librarian

In the small town of Bone Gap, Illinois, two brothers--Sean and Finn--take in a beautiful, mysterious Polish girl named Roza. Then, just as the brothers grow close to Roza, she is abducted, with only Finn as witness. Finn, nicknamed Spaceman and Sidetrack by the Rude boys, blames himself for not remembering what the abductor looked like. It seems to him like the whole town, including his brother, believes that Roza left them. But he alone is sure that Roza was abducted and did not just leave them, and it is up to him to find her if he ever hopes to get her back.

Bone Gap is a young adult novel that will appeal to older readers because of its beautiful, intricately nuanced story and lyrical writing. This is a book that will surprise its readers with its emotion and complexity. There's a bit of magical realism that enhances the story rather than taking center stage. What makes the story so beautiful is author Laura Ruby's masterful character development that makes us fall in love with the town of Bone Gap and all its wonderful, flawed inhabitants. There is, of course, beautiful, spacey Finn, who is wise beyond his years despite everyone's perception of him--or maybe because of it. There's his older brother, Sean, who is dependable and quiet. There's Petey, whom everyone considers strange and unattractive, and who spends most of her time with her bees. Then there's Roza, whose extraordinary beauty makes it difficult for her to find the thing she wants most (love and family), and makes her the victim of those who just want to possess her beauty with no regard for her as a person. This is a wonderful book about love, family, and acceptance that will capture readers' hearts, and I highly recommend it.

Bone Gap was longlisted for the National Book Award, Young People's Literature.

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