Friday, January 22, 2016

"Bone Gap" Book Review

I'm taking a January class (i.e. J-term) called "Writing for Young Adults," and we're reading a YA novel a week.

Best. Class. Ever.


On a scale of "burn it in a Nazi-style book burning along with Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey" to "erect monuments in its honor as we encase it in glass in the Museum of Congress," I put it at "weird as fuck, not quite a must-read, but very good."

Get it here on Amazon.

This one was weird. I mean really weird. But I think that about every magical realism book I read, because magical realism is weird. That's not Laura Ruby, that's just me.

But it's also a very good book, even with the whole damsel-in-distress plotline.

The main character, Finn, saw the town's favorite person, Roza, get kidnapped, but nobody believes him (mostly because he can't recall the man's face, also because she supposedly went willingly). So Finn's ostracized from the town, while Roza's dealing with her kidnapper, who's transporting her to completely different worlds and doing other weird magic stuff. There's also a magic horse, whispering corn, and bees.

Roza's a bit stereotypical. She's a Polish girl with choppy English who grew up in a tiny town with no name, where she dated all the guys, none of whom appreciated her or treated her with respect, because she's sooooooooooo beautiful. That's also the reason she got kidnapped: her looks. All the men in her life, even the security guard at the airport, only want her for her looks, and most of the women in her life hate her for the same reason. Until she comes to the town of Bone Gap and meets Finn and his older brother Sean (the latter of which falls in love with Rosa; Finn dates the beekeeper and sees Roza as more of a sister).

And the bad guy's creepy. Really friggin' creepy. Expect nothing less from a guy named Scare Crow.


Finn and his older EMT brother Sean live alone in their house because their dad's dead and their mom ran off with an orthodontist who doesn't want kids, and they argue because Finn's the only person in town who actually believes Roza was kidnapped, and Sean thinks she just left (specifically left him, because they had a thing going).

But then we see Roza in this weird suburban house that's locked down tighter than a vault. Every day her kidnapper stops by to give her food and asks "Do you love me yet?" At least he's not hurting her, just driving her insane. She tries to escape, but when she gets out she's hunted down by a wolf-dog-beast, blacks out, and wakes up in a castle. She's the queen and her kidnapper's the king, and keeps asking her, "Do you love me yet?"

Finn's still hated in the town, but he gets a horse. It just shows up in his barn one day. He rides it to the teen beekeeper's house, Priscilla (a.k.a. Petey), who, like Roza, has some rotten experiences with men (hmm, I'm sensing a theme here). Mostly her problem is she has a gorgeous body, but an ugly face. Finn doesn't mind, and they start dating.

Weird stuff happens.
Weird stuff happens.
Finn and Petey ride the horse and it literally takes them to a different world before riding back (right around here is where I'm wondering what kind of drugs Laura Ruby's been taking).
More weird stuff happens.
We learn that Roza's kidnapper is her weird biology teacher.
Weird stuff happens...

And then Petey figures out why Finn can't remember the kidnapper's face, or really anyone's. He has prosopagnosia: he's face blind (which is a real thing). If you're face blind, you don't recognize people by their faces. You can't even describe the face of your wife of fifty years, or your kids, or your siblings. They're recognized by their bodies, their hair, clothes, the way they move, voices, etc.

Meanwhile, Roza's been taken to an exact replica of her home village, and learns that her kidnapper/bio teacher is the lord of the dead. Yeah. Friggin' Hades. So when she snaps and threatens to kill herself, that doesn't exactly work on him.

Finn also gets a lead from a long-time Bone Gap resident and, thanks to the horse, figures out how to slip into the other world (which is the land of the dead) to rescue Roza. Scare Crow/Hades/bio teacher stops them from leaving, because he still wants pretty Roza. So Roza takes a piece of a broken mirror and cuts up her face like the Joker. Scare Crow lets them go.

By the time they get back to Bone Gap, Petey's told everyone (including the cops who completely dismissed Finn's story because he couldn't describe the kidnapper to their liking) about his face blindness, welcome back Roza, apologize to Finn, and no more weird shit happens.

The end!


I want suggestions! Any good books/movies/TV shows/whatever!
Get Bone Gap on Amazon for cheap here.

Thanks for reading! :)