Tuesday 27 December 2016

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Review: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Bone Gap by Laura RubyBone Gap by Laura Ruby (proof) - 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.
From Goodreads.

I thought Bone Gap by Laura Ruby sounded incredible when I first heard about it earlier in the year when it was published in the US, so I was really excited to discover that it was going to be published over here, too. It's completely captivating!

Bone Gap is such an intriguing story. It's told for the most part from the perspective of Finn and Roza, though occasionally we'll get chapters from Petey, the girl Finn is interested in, and Sean, Finn's older brother. We, the readers, know that Roza has been abducted, and you can't help but be frustrated that no-one is looking, and terrified of what will end up happening to her. Finn is the only one who knows the truth, but no-one will believe him, and what can he do? He's forever on the look out for the man who took her, but he just can't find him. He is carrying so much guilt over not being able to do anything now, over not doing more at the time, and so much fear of what will happen - or has happened - to Roza.

Roza is being kept by a man with strange powers, a man who can change where Roza is kept while she sleeps. She's in a house one day, and the next a castle. She has no idea where she is, and her attempts to escape always fail - it seems the man has thought of everything. He comes to see her each day to ask her the same question; "Do you love me yet?" He is obsessed with her beauty, a beauty she has come to hate. Roza remembers a time before - before she was kidnapped, before she was in Bone Gap, back when she was at university in the US, and back when she was home in Poland, and the way she was treated by boys because of how she looked.

There is a strong feminist theme that runs throughout Bone Gap on how women are seen. Roza attracted attention the attention from guys because she was very beautiful, but these guys felt they were entitled to her because she was so beautiful, or that her beauty made her think she was better than them when she decided to end things. The abuse she received is disgusting and terrifying, and she came to see her beauty as a curse, trying to make herself as unattractive as possible, to become invisible, so she doesn't attract the attention of men. It isn't until she arrives in Bone Gap, broken and bruised, that she experiences kindness from guys, when Sean and Finn help her and give her the keys to their apartment so she has somewhere to stay to rest and recover where she can lock the door. She is initially scared of them, more so of Sean, but it doesn't take long for her to realise their kindness and care is genuine, and they won't hurt her. It's something she's never known before, and slowly, slowly, she starts to fall for Sean, who sees beyond her beauty to the person inside.

There's also Petey, who has larger than normal features. The people of Bone Gap think her ugly, and rumours have spread that she is so desperate for attention that she'll have sex with anyone. This is not helped by the fact that her body has changed and become desirable to men, even if her face isn't. Because of how she's treated, she's become quite fierce, strong, and angry. She's always ready to defend herself as become accustomed to verbal abuse, and the hurtful, disgusting, cutting things people say to her are just awful. Underneath her fierceness, however, she is vulnerable; what people say hurts, she doesn't have a great opinion of herself, and when things start happening with Finn - who is extremely good looking - she's so hopeful but also waiting for things to go wrong; to discover he's using her, or not really interested. But Finn is genuinely interested in her; he doesn't see an ugly girl, he sees a pretty girl, someone he has feelings for.

There's another aspect of the story I really want to talk about, but it's kind of spoilery, so don't read ahead if you're planning on reading Bone Gap and don't want it spoilt for you.

Despite how much I enjoyed Bone Gap, I did feel like there was something missing. Magical realism stories never explain the fantastical elements of the story. There are no answers to "How?" or "Why?", but there are no questions, because the way it's written just has you accepting that these things just happen. There's an enchantment to the storytelling that sweeps you along with it. But that was missing from Bone Gap. I did think "How?" and "Why?" and although I knew I wouldn't get any answers, I was still a little annoyed that I wasn't told. I was totally captivated by the story, but I wasn't lost in the storytelling.

But it's just a small gripe in what is a really wonderful story, that will leave you on the edge of your seat, with no idea how it will end. It will break and warm your heart several times over,

Thank you to Faber & Faber for the proof.

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Published: 29th December 2016
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Laura Ruby's Website


  1. This sounds fabulous - adding it straight to the wishlist :) Thanks for sharing!

    1. Oooh, awesome! I hope you enjoy it when you read it. It's such a great story!