My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Although it took a while to really get going, I enjoyed this book very much. I am not usually someone who reads a lot of the magic realism/fantasy genres, but this is a book that slowly draws you in, and before you even realise it, you care about the characters and what they are going through. Finn and his brother, Sean, live on a farm in Bone Gap. Both are haunted by the sudden departure of Roza, a Polish girl they took in and cared for when she was hurt and frightened. Finn saw the man she left with, but no-one has ever been able to find out where she went or why.
Finn is obsessed with finding Roza, but he is also held back because no-one believes him when he starts seeing the man who took her back around town. He turns his mind to other things, and starts a sweet romance with Priscilla (Petey) Willis, daughter of the local beekeeper, Melissa. Strange things start happening. Finn hears the corn fields whispering to him, a magnificent black horse turns up in his barn, and he starts seeing the mysterious man everywhere.
At the same time, we see Roza in the clutches of her abductor – a prisoner who is kept in comfort, but also in solitude. She is the classic princess in the tower – without the tower. She is waiting for someone to rescue her – unless she rescues herself first.
I can’t say too much more about the story for fear of giving spoilers, but I CAN say that Laura Ruby has skillfully created a town that is both harsh and embracing, populated with characters who are, for the most part, happy in their part of the world and don’t want to rock the boat.
Petey is by far my favourite character in this book. She is feisty and vulnerable and hardened by years of mistreatment by her peers. And she is smart – probably too smart for Bone Gap – and Finn loves her for it.
The last 100 pages of this book flew by for me, and they are by far the most magical and other-worldly of the book. Bone Gap is definitely an interesting place to visit.
For ages 14 and up.