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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Bone Gap
by Laura Ruby

Book list *Starred Review* For all appearances, Bone Gap is a sluggish farming town that most people want to escape, a place with gaps just wide enough for people to slip away . . . leaving only their stories behind. That's what folks assumed happened when Roza disappeared from the state fair, but 17-year-old Finn knows better. He's the only one who sees her leave, but his description of her abductor that he moves like a shivering cornstalk doesn't help the police, and the people of Bone Gap resentfully believe that Finn helped the beloved girl disappear because she wanted to. She arrived just as enigmatically as she left: she appeared one night in Finn and Sean's barn, beaten and cagey and unwilling to see a doctor, but the brothers didn't leer at her like most men, so she stuck around. Even though the people of Bone Gap are suspicious of outsiders, they were quickly taken by the beautiful Polish girl with an uncanny feel for dirt and plants and livestock, but none so much as Finn's brother, Sean, who seems to lose a piece of himself when she disappears. Her departure drives a wedge between the brothers Finn feels like Sean isn't doing enough to look for her, and Sean thinks Finn is hiding something about the night she left. Most of Bone Gap sides with Sean, and Finn, who has always been strange, feels like more of an outsider than ever. Finn keeps searching, however, and odd-looking Petey, the fiery daughter of the local beekeeper, is the only who believes him. She's just as much of an outsider as Finn, especially after ugly, untrue rumors about Petey and a boy at a party spread in that pernicious small-town way. But in spite of the rumors, Finn is deeply drawn to her and her wide-set, bee-like eyes. Even after the strange way Finn stares at her, Petey still thinks he's beautiful. Their endearing romance is free of sticky sweetness, and together they discover that there's more to their town and Finn than meets the eye. It's the gaps in Bone Gap that give it its name, but there are no cliffs or ravines there. Rather, there are gaps in the world. In the space of things. Those gaps in the town are loose enough that a person can fall clear through to the other side of reality, and that's precisely where the cornstalk man took Roza. At first, he keeps her in a normal suburban house, but after she attempts an escape, she wakes up in a cavernous castle and later, a too-perfect re-creation of her village in Poland, all while the sinister cornstalk man waits for her, the most beautiful woman he's ever seen, to fall in love with him. Roza's history is full of such men. As a young girl in Poland, she was constantly pursued, but she soon realized that those men merely wanted to possess her, sometimes violently, for her beauty and nothing more. Her capture is a twisted version of a fairy tale, the kind that prizes a princess for her ethereal beauty and rescues her from a lifetime toiling in the soil. But Roza loves toiling in the soil, and when Finn plumbs the depths of the underworld to rescue her, he does so not as a brawny hero but as someone who believes in Roza's strength and independence. Ruby weaves powerful themes throughout her stunning novel: beauty as both a gift and a burden; the difference between love and possession; the tensions between what lies on the surface and what moves beneath; the rumbling threat of sexual violence; the brutal reality of small-town cruelties. She imbues all of it with captivating, snowballing magic realism, which has the dual effect of making the hard parts of the story more palatable to read while subtly emphasizing how purely wicked and dehumanizing assault can be. But in Ruby's refined and delicately crafty hand, reality and fantasy don't fall neatly into place. She compellingly muddles the two together right through to the end. Even then, after she reveals many secrets, magic still seems to linger in the real parts of Bone Gap, and the magical elements retain their frightening reality. Wonder, beauty, imperfection, cruelty, love, and pain are all inextricably linked but bewitchingly so.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 10 Up-It is a rare book that sits comfortably on the shelf with the works of Twain, McCullers, Conroy, Stephen King, and D'Aulaires' Greek Myths--rarer still that a novel combines elements of these authors together. Bone Gap does just this, to superb effect. We start with a boy named Finn and his brother, Sean. Sean is the classic hero: strong, silent, great at everything he does. Finn is a pretty boy whose otherworldly goofiness has earned him the nicknames Spaceman, Sidetrack, and Moonface. Along comes Rosza, a beautiful and damaged young woman, fleeing from some unknown evil. When she disappears, only Finn witnesses her abduction and he is unable to describe her captor. He is also unsure whether she left by force or choice. The author defies readers' expectations at every turn. In this world, the evidence of one's senses counts for little; appearances, even less. Heroism isn't born of muscle, competence, and desire, but of the ability to look beyond the surface and embrace otherworldliness and kindred spirits. Sex happens, but almost incidentally. Evil happens, embodied in a timeless, nameless horror that survives on the mere idea of beauty. A powerful novel.-Nina Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, ME (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog A Hungry Lion; or, A Dwindling Assortment of Animals.
by Lucy Ruth Cummins

School Library Journal K-Gr 3-With its macabre humor and delightfully scribbly illustrations, this tale is sure to delight a wide audience of children. Using a metafiction style, the author starts the book with "Once upon a time, there was a hungry lion, a penguin, a turtle, a brown mouse, those two rabbits, etc.," but must stop and repeatedly revise the list as the bevy of animals slowly dwindle to one smugly grinning lion and "that turtle." With several surprises, and some truly extraordinary full-page illustrations, this story winds itself to a laugh-out-loud ending that will tickle the unconventional funny bone. VERDICT Highly recommended for any library, sure to be a favorite read-aloud.-Jasmine L. Precopio, Fox Chapel Area School District, Pittsburgh, PA © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly It's all very peaceable kingdom at the beginning of this ostensibly placid story. The ingenuous narrator introduces a self-possessed lion (marvelously drawn in rough pencil, charcoal, and a vigorous application of markers) and 13 cute animals, including "a pig, a slightly bigger pig, a woolly sheep, a koala, and also a hen." Though described as "hungry," the lion does not seem particularly threatening, but as the animals start euphemistically "dwindling," questions arise. Still, the narrator soldiers on, struggling to keep up as Cummins, an S&S art director making her debut as author-artist, keeps readers guessing-it's fitting that a book with as many "Once upon a time" beginnings as this one has more then one potential ending, some happier than others. Cummins's dizzy meta-tale has just enough wink and cheek to assure readers that it's all in good fun, and her visual style-sketchbook playful, slyly spiking sweet-seeming scenes with moments of menace and fear-should leave them hungering (in a nice way) for her next book. Ages 4-8. Agent: Emily Van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Meet one hungry lion and its menagerie of animal friends. Or are they friends? One by one, these animals disappear, while the lion remains hungry. Perhaps the lion is to blame, but could there be another explanation for these rapidly disappearing critters? Cummins' enjoyably repetitive text and droll illustrations give each animal a personality, despite their pending departure, from the stand-out sauciness of the lion to the affable nature of the ever-present turtle. The stark backgrounds play this up and allow each character to stand out. Of course, it's the brazen lion that drives the story: he gets in the reader's face, taking up the whole page with his loud red mane and cunning eyes, and seems curiously reserved throughout the ordeal. What's revealed is that the other animals have been preparing a birthday cake for the lion pretty great, right? Well, Cummins has a hilariously dark twist (two, actually) still to come. When this devilish book ends, there will, indeed, be only one animal left standing.--Dittmeier, Amy Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Leonardo Da Vinci
by Walter Isaacson

Rebecca Caudill Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Wait Till Helen Comes Home
by Mary Downing Hahn

School Library Journal : Gr 4-7 Ghost story fans have a spooky treat in store with Hahn's eerie new novel. Molly, the 12-year-old narrator, and her brother Michael dislike their bratty 5-year-old stepsister Heather and resent the family move to an isolated converted church in the country. The adjourning graveyard frightens Molly, but Heather seems drawn to it. Molly discovers that the ghost of a child (Helen) who died in a fire a century ago wants to lure Heather to her doom. Molly determines to save her stepsister. In so doing, she learns that Heather's strange behavior stems from her feelings of guilt at having accidentally caused her mother's death by playing near a stove and starting a fire. Eventually, Molly wrests Heather from Helen's arms as the ghost attempts to drown them. The girls discover the skeletons of Helen's parents, and their burial finally puts to rest Helen's spirit. This is a powerful, convincing, and frightening tale. The details of everyday life quickly give way to terror. The pace never slackens. Characterization is strong, and descriptive passages set a mood of suspense. There should be a heavy demand from readers who are not ``faint at heart.'' Judy Greenfield, Rye Free Reading Room, N.Y.

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