My rating: 3 of 5 stars
First Published: March 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Magical Realism, Mystery, Romance, Kidnapping, Beauty
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.
Somehow I forgot that this is a magical realism book before I started it.
I remembered halfway through, but before that, I couldn’t for the life of me understand why this contemporary story had so many weird and unrealistic elements.
I kept trying to find realism everywhere I looked, but of course that wasn’t the way to go. So when I finally remembered that such elements were to be expected, I stopped trying so hard and began to enjoy the story as it is.
Talking corn? Awesome! Creepy castle? Bwah, what else is new? Guy who can see the dead? Gimme more!
But even if I’m now fully aware of its magical realism, I still have to say this: This story is a level of weird that I haven’t been faced with in a long time. Surprisingly enough, it is actually self-aware of its strangeness, meaning that the characters usually discuss it.
And eventually go along with it, as did I.
This isn’t the most eventful story you’ll read all year. It is captivating enough to pull you in and keep your interest alive, but if at some point you realize that you care zero for Finn and Roza, you’ll fall into boredom, as it is character-driven.
The world matters, of course, but it is rather hard to wrap one’s mind around it, and the story is more lethargic than not. Fortunately the writing and atmosphere are great, especially fitting for a magical realism tale.
The revelation concerning Finn genuinely took me by surprise. Perhaps I should have seen it coming, but I focused too much on figuring out how the corn and animals could actually talk to worry about Finn being unable to identify the kidnapper. Where are your priorities, Lola?
Roza’s growing strength made me feel proud of her: her development is true, gradual and welcomed. It takes her time to realize that beauty can either be a weakness or a weapon, but she fights hard, even when it’s easier to simply give up.
A curious reading experience. I can’t say I understood everything that happened (can anyone?), but meeting these heroes and heroines was pleasant enough and I enjoyed being befuddled by the craziness to some extent.
Follow me on: