The beginning of the novel was slow-paced, and it took place in a very small town. I knew this wasn't going to be a fast book, but I didn't quite realize exactly how sluggish this was going to be. The writing sort of had a To Kill A Mockingbird tone to it. Even so, never did it occur to me to stop reading. Sure the pacing was slow and I wasn't quite invested yet, but the book had that feel to it; the feel that keeps you reading despite any disinterest you may think you're feeling toward the novel. It turns out there's a word for that feeling: Magic Realism. It's the genre of the novel, and I wish I knew this phrase earlier, because it would have saved me countless time in other reviews where I struggled - and probably failed - to describe the exact feeling that Magic Realism evokes in its readers. Either way, despite the fact that I rarely delve into this genre, every time I do, the book always turns out to be something special. Bone Gap was no exception.
Of course, the romance in the novel didn't hurt either. There were two sets of romances in the novel, and thankfully no love triangles, even though the first few pages/chapters led me to believe there would be one. The two romances took place between Sean & Roza and Petey & Finn, and I adored both of their stories. Sean's romance was slower paced and Petey's was glorious, immature, and true. Clearly I like the latter more because Petey is the main character and we get more details from his story, but I admire Roza and Sean's slow burn (if you can call it that) as well. Both romances made me want to cry, but it's been so long since I read the book I can't remember if I did or not. And the romance isn't even the best part of the novel.
Even though Petey would be officially considered the protagonist of the novel, in my eyes, Roza is the most important character. Yes Petey as well as many other characters went through a lot of development and personal growth, but Roza had so much more to deal with. Her problems were huge compared to everyone else, not least because she was kidnapped for nefarious purposes by a guy who'd lost his mind. The conditions Roza faced in her life made me want to barf, and it's shocking to realize that there are actually people like this in our world. Thankfully I haven't encountered any such cruel people, but that doesn't mean there aren't people like that out there, and it's a terrible and humbling thing to think about. Roza's feminist character in the novel was perfection, and I love how she got over her fear of such men. She was a strong female character from the very start, but by the end she was a force to be reckoned with. I personally loved her decision regarding her and Sean at the end of the book - she impersonated the practical side of romance and it was refreshing.
My only question is, is there such a thing as "face blindness" or is that only in the book? It was an interesting twist in the novel, and while it fit perfectly into the story and helped certain characters come into themselves, I'm curious as to whether there is such a condition in our world as well. Anyways, whether it is research or imagination, the author did a great job not only with that condition but with the plot of the whole novel. It was otherworldly in a way that made it hard to believe the world of Bone Gap is ours as well, and it was a bit of an eye opener. I like books that make me think, and this one had that down to a science.
I don't think there's anyone in the world I wouldn't recommend this to. Everyone can learn something from this book, and everyone should learn something from this book. The author weaves an intriguing setting, a wonderful cast of characters, and some truly horrendous people and situations to form this beautiful piece of work, and I am so happy I went out of my normal reading zone and took a chance on this one - it was worth it.
Book Synopsis: Everyone 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.