Rummanah Aasi
 When I went to the Annual ALA Conference in San Francisco this past summer, librarians were clamoring about Laura Ruby's Bone Gap and The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle. I had not heard of these titles at the time, but their buzz piqued my interest. Both titles have a great deal of magical realism, which is why I'm reviewing them together.

Description: 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.

Review: Bone Gap is a genre defying novel that incorporates a little bit of everything into the story giving it a fable-like quality. The book examines complex themes of feminine beauty, love, loss, abandonment, power, and family duty against the backdrop of a small Illinois farming town that's a gateway to a mysterious world called Bone Gap. Mysterious things happen in Bone Gap without any explanation and the townspeople accept it without any question.
  Finn is the only witness to the kidnapping of a beautiful immigrant girl named Roza, however; his vague description of the man who took her leaves just about everyone in the small town of Bone Gap question his reliability and his involvement. The book has a ambiguous atmosphere as we really don't really know what is going on, however, our confusion slowly ebbs away through a complex interweaving of chapters, mostly told from Finn and Roza's points of view. The author slowly reveals Rosa's story from Rosa's caretaker warning Rosa about leaving her country and being too ambitious to the lecherous men who are trying to possess her and that of Finn's fragile relationship with his brother and his own insecurities. Magic is subtle in the book, and the fantasy world isn't well built, but I think readers will be more captivated by the characters and book's theme to be okay with the minor flaw. Overall Bone Gap made me think and it stayed with me quite sometime I finished it. While I don't see teens flocking to this title on their own, but with booktalking it and giving it to readers who like books that make them think, Bone Gap will do well.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is a small sex scene, allusions to sex, crude humor, attempted rape, language, and disturbing images. Recommended for Grade 9 and up.

If you like this book try: The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle, Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma, The Nest by Kenneth Oppel

Description: The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara's life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara's family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items - but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear. But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?

Review: The Accident Season is a story of friendship, family, and long-buried secrets. The last week of October is called the "accident season" where Cara's family are prone to disaster ranging from sprains, broken bones, and other injury-inducing accidents. We don't know why or how the accident season started. Another mystery is a strange discovery that involves Cara's family's photos where a girl Cara vaguely remembers keeps appearing. While trying to solve these mysteries, Cara is also trying to be a regular teen, grappling her confusing romantic feelings for Sam, her ex-stepbrother.
  Though I was able to figure out the twist and how the two mysteries combine early on, the book's strongest aspect are its characters. I liked spending time with Cara and her family and thought the concept of the accident season was quite clever. The book's pacing does falter a bit with lull moments of day to day details of Cara's life and its slow start. I found myself a bit bored with the book. Overall it was an okay read, but it was not as weird as I was hoping it to be.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There is language, allusion to sex which may or may not be consensual, allusion to sex abuse. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn
5 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    These both sound fantastic in terms of characters Rummanah, and that's always what makes or breaks a book for me. I have to want to be involved in the characters' lives and not just intrigued by the plot in order to really love a book, so I'm glad these are largely character-driven. I'm particularly curious about the Bone Gap, I really want to know what happens to Rosa!

  2. Yea, I'm not even sure I CAN booktalk Bone Gap. It was OK, and you're right, it does stick with you, but I think it's quite a niche book -- doesn't have wide appeal to teans, Just my opinion.... Haven't read the other one. Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. I need to check out the Bone Gap. I agree about the Accident Season, I liked it well enough, but I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much if I'd read it vs. listening. The audiobook was excellent.

  4. I have an ARC of Bone Gap that I still need to read because I've heard good things about it even though I haven't seen a ton of reviews. The Accident Season sounds intriguing so it's too bad you were a bit bored by it. I'd still like to give it a try though only because I want to know more about the accident season.

  5. Kindlemom Says:

    I love that things slowly were revealed through both POVs. It sounds mysterious for sure and unique which I really like. Great review for this!

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