The Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Publisher: Faber and Faber
When Roza goes missing, everyone in Bone Gap is happy to assume she has run away. Who would want to stay in this town anyway? But Finn knows better. He saw the man who took Roza — the man who moves like cornstalks in the wind — but no one believes him. Life returns to normal, or as normal as it ever was for Finn and his brother Sean, but Finn is haunted by Roza’s disappearance. Why is no one willing to search for her? And why is Petey Willis, the beekeeper’s strange daughter, the only one who believes him? As Finn realises that the world around him is not so normal, the gaps in the town widen and things begin to slip through.
The Bone Gap is a book that just won’t let go of your brain. It is equal parts magical realism and the story of a boy who just wants to get away. It has strong-willed women, complicated family relationships, a tiny town where ‘nothing’ happens, and a sense of horror that just feels so realistic.
There’s a lot about this book that I loved, but the female characters really stuck out for me. Roza and Petey are both ordinary and fierce — there are no damsels in distress here. I think that most women can relate to one or the other, or even both, and that’s a powerful thing. Roza’s backstory is so heartbreakingly ordinary in our society and the way Petey is treated by her peers and the adults around her is infuriating. But almost every girl has probably experienced this on some level. Laura Ruby takes those experiences and put it into two strong and unique women that we can admire.
Ruby manages to blend two different stories – the realistic struggle to deal with living in a less than ideal family situation in a tiny town when all one wants to do is run combines with the strange happenings since Roza’s disappearance. Her skill in weaving past and present, realistic and magical shows her true talent as a writer.
This is a marvelous, unexpected, and refresing book — it should not be missed.