Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Bone Gap

Ruby, Laura (Author)
HarperCollins 2015. 356 pages
First published: 2015
ISBN: 9780062317605 (hardcover)
9780062317629 (paperback)
9780062317636 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Magic Realism

Text Elements:

characterization, conflict, dialogue, point of view, setting

Awards

National Book Award Finalist – 2015
Michael L. Printz Award – 2016

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Roza, the most beautiful girl in the small town of Bone Gap, disappears—kidnapped, with her housemate Finn O’Sullivan as the only witness, by “a man who looked like everyone and no one at all.” No one believes Finn’s story and the townspeople believe the Polish girl “left the same mysterious way she had come.” Only Finn keeps looking, even when it means unearthing the secrets of Bone Gap, a surreal little town that “seems to be cursed somehow, big losses salted with tiny tragedies almost too insulting to bear.” Finn’s search is interleaved with chapters in which we discover that Roza is being held by a deranged man who is convinced she will learn to love him eventually—though the novel is more Bluebeard than Beauty and the Beast.

The book explores the objectification of women—that is, their reduction to the status of objects, valued only for superficial reasons—and is generally character-driven, the third-person omniscient narrative embodying each individual’s underlying complexity: Roza has a green thumb that seems almost magical; Finn is known as “Spaceman” (“nuttier than a honey-cluster,” according to his fellow Bone-Gapians), but is determined and loyal; his brother Sean, who loved Roza, had to give up his dream of becoming a doctor to look after his brother. Secondary and background characters are likewise thoughtfully elaborated.

The fantastic answer to Finn’s search—there are, as it turns out “gaps in the world,” and if he finds the breach, he’ll have found the way to Roza—alludes figuratively to the tenuous ties that bind us to each other, and to the superficial perceptions that imprison us.

  •  

    In groups, discuss and then do some research on magic realism to add to your knowledge. Predict how the author will include elements of the genre.

  •  

    The way characters are perceived by themselves and others plays an important role in how this tale unfolds. Discuss how Finn and Petey are seen by others. Contrast this with how they see themselves and how the reader sees them. Consider how this influences events in the story.

  •  

    Parallels have been drawn between Roza’s captivity and Beauty and the Beast. Make a Venn diagram or other graphic organizer to compare the two stories.

  •  

    There are many mysteries and unexplained events in this book (the appearance of the horse, Finn’s nighttime rides, gaps and voices in the cornfields, etc.). Choose an unexplained event or situation and propose an explanation. Present and defend your ideas within a group of peers.

  •  

    In small groups, discuss what you believe life in a small, isolated, rural town must be like. What are the benefits and downsides to living there?

  •  While you read, decide if Finn is a reliable or unreliable narrator.
  •  Write a news article, summarizing the events Finn and Roza experienced in Bone Gap. Be sure to include all the fundamental features of a news article, including an image and a pull-quote.
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To solve problems
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Personal Development
  • Social Sciences