Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Laura Ruby
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Finn and his older brother, Sean, live in Bone Gap, a quiet town where everyone knows each other. When Roza, a young woman fleeing from some unknown horror, arrives Finn and Sean invite her to live in an apartment attached to their home. But only months later, Roza disappears. Finn tries to figure out what happened to Roza while Sean urges Finn to forget her, throwing himself in his work to escape his own heartbreak. But Finn refuses and becomes closer to Priscilla “Petey” Willis. As Finn and Petey’s feelings for each other deepen, Finn discovers he has a disorder that prevents him from recognizing faces, even his own. Roza, in the meantime, has been captured by a terrifying man who is desperate for her to love him. Finn realizes that the man he saw Roza leave with is a man caught between this world and another. Finn breaches the line between the two worlds and finds Roza despite his disorder. Roza escapes the man only after cutting her own beautiful face, a face that had enticed the man as the embodiment of beauty.
Laura Ruby’s novel is imaginative and achingly poignant. Her perusal of heroism, perceptions, and beauty is poetic and unique. Bone Gap is magical realism at its peak, and Ruby’s writing deftly blends elements of the real world and a liminal, magical world as she crafts the story surrounding Finn, Roza, Sean, and Petey. The story is told from both Finn and Roza’s points of view, with Petey occasionally taking a turn allowing the reader to completely delve in both the real and magical worlds. Despite the switching of viewpoints and numerous flashbacks, the story seamlessly develops and the reader is able to easily follow what is going on. There are scenes of psychological violence, sex, and language. However, most of these elements add to the story instead of merely being there to entertain or shock. Overall, Ruby’s Bone Gap is a fascinating look at some timeless themes in a very accessible story for teens.
*Contains moderate language and moderate sexual content. Also contains psychological violence and abuse.