I was seriously afraid that I’d be wasting my time on yet another damsel in distress story where the awkward boy gets to find himself and be the hero, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that Bone Gap played with all those expectations and tropes in an unexpected way. This was shortlisted for the National Book Award, so I was hoping it’d be good. It was!
Bone Gap is a strange town with some serious secrets. Finn and Sean are two young men/boys just trying to survive after their mother left them for an orthodontist when a mysterious young woman, Roza, shows up in their barn one morning. The small town isn’t sure what to make of her because she’s a stranger and won’t divulge her backstory, but she eventually wins everyone over. Everyone loves her, but no one more than Finn and Sean. Unfortunately their lives are turned upside down when Finn witnesses a man kidnapping her. Because he can’t remember the man’s face, the town (including Sean) doesn’t believe his story. What saves this novel from being a regular old damsel in distress book is that we get Roza’s perspective. She’s in a tight spot, but she’s not some helpless beautiful creature who becomes more of a prize than an actual human being.
As someone who used to live in a small town, I loved all the seriously on-point commentary about small town life. That kind of setting really worked for this book. Ruby developed some strange and lovely characters that felt like real people by the end. The writing was beautiful and his book really has everything: romance, adventure, magic, family issues, illness, etc. Definitely one worth putting on your TBRs!