In 2015, Laura Ruby released a novel titled “Bone Gap”, her most illustrious novel to date. “Bone Gap” was named a National Book Award Finalist and won the Printz Award for Best YA Book of 2015.

The story features a young women, Roza, who vanishes from the remote and rural town of Bone Gap. The whole town accepts her disappearance, assuming she left on her own, except for a teenager named Finn, who saw what really happened.

For about half of the novel, we get to experience life in the sleepy town of Bone Gap, Illinois, as we follow Finn O’Sullivan. We watch his struggle to find Roza, though, his older brother, Sean, doesn’t believe Finn’s tale about Roza’s disappearance, just like the rest of the town. In fact, majority of the townspeople see Finn as a spaced out, weird kid, often referring to him as “Moonface”.

While Finn deals with his conflicts back in Bone Gap, readers also get to see what goes on in Roza’s life after she goes missing. With every chapter that is lead by Roza, we learn more about both her past and her present predicament.

The themes for this novel are insecurity, love, and self-sacrifice. We watch as the characters struggle with internal conflict while they learn to love themselves as much as they love the people around them. Character’s mend old relationships and make new ones, and they learn the important lesson that their worth doesn’t come from how others perceive them.

While reading “Bone Gap”, I was entranced by the magical realism of the story; how a dull little town could open a door to a place of otherworldly wonder. It gave me a similar feeling of wide-eyed reverence, like when I was a child hearing bedtime fables.

Most of the characters are well rounded, each with personal struggles and growth that breathed life into each page; even the animals had their own distinct traits.

The novel supplied a good balance of emotions for readers to experience, so there wasn’t a dull moment. Humor mixed with gloom and fear mixed with bewilderment, a recipe for the perfect tone of this novel.  

My only criticism is the lack of explanation for the magical situations. None of the characters tried to make sense of what they encountered which seemed like an unrealistic approach for the characters to have, especially since the characters seemed to have questioned just about everything else.

Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed the story. It was a light read with just enough suspense to keep me hooked. I loved reading about each character, their perks and their flaws, like hearing about small town gossip.

So, if you’re in the mood for relatable story with a sprinkle of magic, I highly suggest visiting the rural, sleepy town of Bone Gap.