Monday, January 30, 2017

BONE JACK by Sara Crowe

Edited 1/31/17 to change from British cover to American!


Bone Jack by Sara Crowe (February 7, 2017, Philomel, 256 pages, for ages 10 and up)

Synopsis (from the publisher): 
Times have been tough for Ash lately, and all he wants is for everything to go back to the way it used to be. Back before drought ruined the land and disease killed off the livestock. Before Ash’s father went off to war and returned carrying psychological scars. Before his best friend, Mark, started acting strangely.

As Ash trains for his town’s annual Stag Chase—a race rooted in violent, ancient lore—he’s certain that if he can win and make his father proud, life will return to normal. But the line between reality and illusion is rapidly blurring, and the past has a way of threatening the present.

When a run in the mountains brings Ash face-to-face with Bone Jack—a figure that guards the boundary between the living world and the dead—everything changes once more. As dark energies take root and the world as he knows it is upended, it’s up to Ash to restore things to their proper order and literally run for his life.

Why I recommend it: 
Dark, haunting, and atmospheric, this reminded me a little of The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (my favorite fantasy of all time). It works for ages 10 and up, though the violence might frighten younger readers. Ash is a believable, likable character, and the reader will sympathize with his desire for life to return to normal. I especially loved the way the author deftly wove in the fantasy elements so that the line between reality and fantasy gradually dissolves. Brilliant. And the cover is simply stunning.

Favorite lines:  
          "He looked the way Ash remembered: tall, broad-shouldered, tough as teak. He was dressed in civilian clothes and his dark hair was starting to grow out of the regulation army cut, but he still looked like a soldier through and through.
         Captain Robert Tyler, home from war.
         Then Dad walked out onto the lawn and it all started to fall apart."

About the author (from the publisher): Sara Crowe was born in Cornwall and raised all over England by her restless parents. She taught cinema and photography studies until 2012, when she and her partner bought a van and spent the next eighteen months traveling around the British Isles. She currently lives in a tumbledown cottage in Lincolnshire. Bone Jack is her first novel.

Find her on Twitter: @dark_fell


For other Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts, see Shannon Messenger's blog

18 comments:

  1. There are so many themes in this book that a teen can identify with, especially having a parent return from war with deep scars. Interesting fantasy. Great cover!

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    1. Yes, Patricia, Ash's father's PTSD is one of the most important themes in this book.

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  2. Ooh, I think I have to find this for my husband; he loves Susan Cooper's writing. Thanks for spotlighting it!

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    1. Hope he enjoys it. Of course, he may not think the two are similar at all! I'd be interested in hearing his reaction.

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    1. It's one of the most unusual books I've read in the past few months, Andrea.

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  4. I really liked The Dark Is Rising, so hopefully I'll like this too. And I think we're all wishing for different times too right now.

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  5. Such an interesting story line. Your favorite line showed off the superb writing skills of the author. Thanks for sharing. I've added this to my 2017 list of books to read,

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    1. And it was hard to choose one favorite quote, Greg. There are so many beautifully-written lines.

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  6. Another good book for my TBR list. Thanks for telling me about it.

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  7. This sounds really interesting. I like the premise.

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  8. Oooooh, interesting! And you're right: the cover is awesome.

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    1. Kim, I actually realized I had the British cover on there, so just changed it.

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  9. I haven't heard of this one before. It definitely sounds unique. Thanks for sharing. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. It's fantastic, Jess. Thanks for stopping by.

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YAY for comments! I read and appreciate each one and I always try to answer. All opinions welcome. Let's have a conversation.