Roza shows up in Sean and Finn O’Sullivan’s barn covered in mud and averse to touch. A year later, she disappears from the town of Bone Gap, and Finn is the only one who witnesses it. He is determined to find her, but the rest of the townsfolk are not so convinced. Finn, known to everyone else as Spaceman or Moonface, cannot describe the face of the man who he insists kidnapped her. People—like Finn’s mother—are known to slip through the cracks in Bone Gap, and nobody believes Roza is an exception.

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby masterfully blends a coming of age tale with magical realism and subtle references to Greek mythology. The characters, all of whom are unique and well developed, struggle with college applications and with Hades himself, and both struggles are equally captivating. Magical realism can easily smother a narrative, but Ruby keeps the novel grounded while weaving in elements of fantasy and folklore. The references to mythology, specifically the story of Hades and Persephone, help develop a subtle but confident feminist voice for the novel, making clear statements on beauty standards and the role of women within society. These elements complement the rural America landscape. Bone Gap is not just a place that the people happen to be; it’s as much a character as it is a setting. Ruby’s small-town imagery—crows, whispering cornfields, The Dog That Sleeps In The Lane—helps bring the story to life.

Bone Gap has natural, well developed romantic arcs, but doesn’t rely on them to keep the audience invested; the themes of family, community, and what it means to be an outsider alone sustain the reader. Despite the fantastical elements, Bone Gap is very raw and very real, and a must-read for fans of young adult fiction and those who are hesitant of the magical realism genre.

Review by: Magnolia Katz

Magnolia is entering her senior year of high school and is a volunteer of Teen’Scape

—Amanda Charles, Librarian III, Central Library