Title: Bone Gap
Author: Laura Ruby
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: March 3rd 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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
When I saw a review for this book on WordPress, a five-star glowing review, I had to read this book. I picked up a copy and started it the very next day. Bone Gap fast became a favourite of mine and it was the book that kick started my interest in magical realism as a sub genre. It’s hard to properly define Bone Gap as it’s magical realism, fantasy, and a modern day fairytale with a very dark side all at the same time. The writing is beautiful and moving, the story is wonderfully written and unforgettable, and the characters themselves are real and flawed but you won’t be able to help falling in love with them.
Bone Gap is told over the course of four months and through multiple POVs, I felt it was more about the character development of Finn, Roza, Sean and Petey than it was the actual story. Finn has always been different, it’s something his brother and the town accept as part and parcel of who he is. When Roza disappears everyone assumes she left as mysteriously as she arrived but Finn is the only one who knows the truth; that she was kidnapped by a man who moves like the corn. However with no other description he can offer no one believes his story.
Roza’s story was my favourite part of this book. When she first appeared in Sean and Finn’s barn one night she was wounded and terrified but she slowly opened up to both brothers; then, one day, she disappears without a trace. She is trapped in a home with no escape and no company save the man who asks her the same question every day; are you in love with me yet? Later, as the man attempts to gain her love, Roza finds herself in a castle dressed in elaborate gowns and crowns, and finally a small cottage in Poland so much like her home with her grandmother. Roza is in no place she can escape from, she is trapped with no hope but she doesn’t give up, and she doesn’t give in either.
As the months pass Finn also refuses to give up hope, to give up searching, and when the man who took Roza returns to Bone Gap again Finn only becomes more desperate to find his friend.
Finn has always been a strange kid, it’s something the people of Bone Gap know and gossip about calling him moonface, spaceman, sidetrack. He is something of a daydreamer and he sees the magic of Bone Gap when no one else does. Unlike everyone else Finn doesn’t give up on Roza, he loves her and he is determined to find her and bring her home, to help fix his brother and their relationship.
Roza is a beautiful girl and when she was younger she loved that beauty and the attention it gave her. However as she grows up she wants more and she starts to realise the relationships she built on her beauty are not what she wants. She leaves her home to attend school in America and even when she is lost, alone and hurting she is still strong, standing by what she believes in. Somewhere along the way, before she ends up hiding in Finn and Sean’s barn, she became broken but in the brothers she found two people beauty to who she really is.
Even when she is trapped with the man Roza is still strong. She doesn’t give up on her chance to escape; constantly trying to find a way free, a way back to Sean and Finn, a way back to Poland and her grandmother. Later as she slowly loses hope of escaping she still refuses to give in to the man who took her.
Bone Gap has two very strong female characters; Roza who is beautiful and broken and Petey who will never be called beautiful but who is sharp, determined and so much more than anyone else in Bone Gap. I loved Petey’s rage at the world, at how it will never be fair and at the injustice of the gap that exists between men and women.
The relationships that made up this book were all wonderful to read. In Sean Roza found someone who finally saw so much more than just her beauty; someone who listened to her opinions and made her feel safe. Sean loved Roza but when she disappeared and when Finn couldn’t describe the man he saw take her Sean believe she left willingly like everyone else. Sean has been shouldered with a lot of responsibility and he put his life on hold to look after Finn when their mother left them to remarry. With Roza’s disappearance he seems to give up; he can no longer even look at Finn believing his brother did nothing as the woman he loved disappeared and Finn, in turn, cannot stand that Sean refuses to look for Roza. The friendship between Roza and Finn was not romantic but it was still love. She sees him in a way the people of Bone Gap, and even his own brother, don’t.
Bone Gap is a small town where else is in everyone else’s business; where you know the life story of the local sheriff and the headmistress of your school, where the playground bullies are still bullies even now they’re older, and where everyone thinks they know everything about everyone and gossip is how news is spread. But Bone Gap is also magical; it’s a place where the corn talks and hides the gaps in the world, and where a midnight ride can take you to places you never knew existed and places you need to go even when you don’t realise it. Bone Gap is home to people who have been tending animals since before it was a town, and home to people who fled through the corn seeking only safety for a short while.
The magic of Bone Gap is never fully explained but I don’t think it ever needed to be. For me the mystery was part of the magic and it just made me enjoy this story that little bit more.
I don’t think my review can fully do justice to how much I adored this book. It was one of my favourite reads last year and re-reading again has only made me love it even more. Bone Gap is magical realism at it’s very best; a fairytale with a dark side you wouldn’t expect and a story with so many amazing characters you will love even after the last page.
What did you think of Bone Gap? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.