When I was growing up, my favorite author was Sharon Creech. I’d read anything of hers I could get my hands on, from the award-winning Walk Two Moons to the companion Chasing Redbird to my all-time favorite (and the book I’ve carried around from house to house, dorm room to dorm room, for probably 20 years) Bloomability.
Creech writes middle grade books, but I read them well into my late teens and early 20s (and I know I wasn’t alone). She creates these vivid, palpable universes with wise, intelligent protagonists and just the right amount of atmosphere, making them books that, while designed for a younger reader, can truly be enjoyed by everybody.
Laura Ruby is, in my opinion, the Sharon Creech for this generation.
Bone Gap is intended for a slightly older audience than Creech’s work – young adult readers as opposed to middle grade, but even adults are fawning over it and the little corner of reality that Ruby has chosen to explore: a town surrounded by corn and infiltrated by “gaps” that, whether magically or metaphorically, have a habit of inviting people to slip through, trapping them and refusing to release them from their grasp.
Bone Gap, like my favorite Sharon Creech books, flies in the face of the expected. With tinges of magic throughout the story and a dark fairytale throughline that leads the reader places he or she never would have expected, Bone Gap sits comfortably between contemporary and fantasy. Actually, one of the most poignant surprises of Bone Gap comes from its more realistic side.
Bone Gap is not only a beautifully atmospheric book, with scarecrows that scare, not crows, but corn, and a mysterious horse that appears out of nowhere, but it also so effortlessly weaves together deep, complex characters and surprises that are at once unexpected and inevitable that it has earned its place on my list of rare books that, once finished, make me want to turn immediately back to page one and start again.