E veryone 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.
As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.
The opening is a fuzzy transition on whether Bone Gap is a mythical place or a contemporary town. Perhaps both. Perhaps neither. Its all a matter of perspective. And we get many of those since Bone Gap is told from the third-person of different inhabitants of the rural town filled with corn, chickens, horses, and, most famously of all, gaps. But the prominent voice of the novel comes from Finn O’Sullivan, the boy fraught with guilt for letting Roza slip through the cracks and be taken by a man he cannot remember. And Roza, the polish beauty who’s past fails to fade from the future she fights to make for herself in America, who is kidnapped and struggles to break free from her captor to return to Finn and Sean. Even the perspectives from Petey and Finn’s own brother, Sean help to unwind the mystery that is brewing in the small town of Bone Gap.
The stories are absolutely heartbreaking. The self-sacrifice these characters go through, the attempt at finding love in a small town that spreads gossip like wildfire, and piecing together the puzzle of what happened to Finn, Roza, Sean, Petey, and pretty much everyone living in Bone Gap. I don’t think I loved a place or characters more than I had the ones in this book. Everyone burst with life, main characters, secondary characters, even the town itself felt like a character that I grew to admire and enjoy. For those who enjoy deep and dysfunctional characters, this is one of those books to pick up, because Bone Gap is chock full of them. The twists and turns along the way, the elaborate set up of diverse characters in a rural town in mid-eastern America, and the beauty in the depth and hidden magic of this novel.
Final Summation: Another favorite this year. Though I came to love Bone Gap, getting into it was difficult, but proud of myself for sticking through because I would have missed out in a beautifully written novel. Bone Gap takes time to soak in, to fully understand what it going on. But once you do, you fall within the gap and cannot find your way out. And I was happy to stay. Not only is it descriptively gorgeous, but it is haunting and the magical realism sprinkled about the pages was nothing short of gripping.