Bone Gap by Laura Ruby is one of my favorite reads of 2015. It crosses genres, American Gothic, horror and fairy tale wrapped into an interesting tale that unfolds beautifully. Roza is a beautiful woman who mysteriously arrives in Bone Gap and leaves just as mysteriously. Finn saw her taken, but cannot describe the man who took her. He cannot recall his face, only how he moves, which is like a corn stalk. Most of the town thinks Finn is a bit spacey and some blame him for letting Roza go. Finn’s older brother, Sean is in love with Roza but cannot bring himself to look for her. The relationship between the two brother is interesting. Bone Gap is a story about fascinating characters and the gaps of reality. As one character states, you have to find the gaps to find out what happened. Finn falls in love with a girl that most would describe as homely but he does not see her that way. The girl is a keeper of bees. Ruby is a master of magical realism, weaving what can be real and fantasy into a seamless story that is a joy to unwrap. From start to finish, I was enraptured with this characters and the setting. The corn stalks have a lot of meaning and I love the thought that the scarecrow is not to scare the crows, but the corn. I highly recommend this one. It is worthy of a finalist for the National Book Award.
Some ideas for discussing with teens:
Discuss Finn’s relationship with his brother Sean.
Discuss Roza and the town’s reaction to her missing.
Discuss Finn’s relationship with Priscilla/Petey. How did it change when Petey realized Finn is face blind?
Discuss the “gaps.” And what it means when Finn says, “Yeah, but I’m the one who’s here.” (pg 283)
Discuss when Petey says there should be a ceremony to mark the occasion of her heartbreak. (pg. 302)
Have the teens describe someone who has had the biggest impact on their lives using only adverbs like in the book.
Discuss how magical realism is different from the other books that they read.
Discuss this moment with the crows, “the birds helping her with this one small task, and telling her with their shining wings and knowing laughter that the truly impossible ones where yet to come.” (pg. 312)
Why do you think the Rude brothers defended Petey’s honor?
Discuss the final paragraph on page 345.