Bone Gap is a young adult novel first published way back in 2015, and yet it’s still a popular favorite with teens and adults to this day.
The reason why is obvious: Bone Gap is a thrilling novel that follows a heartbreaking tale in a small farming town in Illinois – but not everything is as it seems.
In this novel, the stories of the people of Bone Gap are told – Roza, who mysteriously vanishes from the town one night, Finn, who witnessed her kidnapping but cannot remember any details about the kidnapper, Petey, the beekeeper’s daughter with a sting of her own, and Sean, Finn’s older brother and the sweetheart of Roza.
Bone Gap is a novel that toes the line between the genres of mystery and fantasy, with a thrilling plot and plenty of twists and turns to keep any reader invested in the story.
It also is not afraid to tackle some tougher topics such as assault, violence, murder, kidnapping, and more. This is what makes Bone Gap such a mature young adult novel that is popular with older readers too.
If you loved reading Bone Gap and this was just the book for you, then try adding books such as The Devouring Gray, No One Else Can Have You, The Art Of Disappearing, and A Song For Ella Grey to your reading list!
Themes In Bone Gap
One of the key themes in Bone Gap is love.
There are a lot of romantic relationships in the book, including the relationship between Sean and Roza, Petey and Finn.
However, the book also dives in deeper to explore other kinds of love, such as the brotherly relationship between Finn and Sean.
The most interesting way the novel tackles this theme is through Roza’s kidnapper.
Although the kidnapper claims to love Roza, their violent actions and obsessive behavior paints a different kind of picture to serve as a contrast between the actual love between Roza and Sean.
Another prevalent theme in Bone Gap is loss.
Roza has been kidnapped and many characters mourn her loss – especially her sweetheart, Sean. However, it’s not just the loss of Roza the characters lament.
Sean and Finn have also lost their mother after she abandoned them many years ago, Roza misses her home country of Poland, and Finn has to deal with losing the respect of the town after they call him a liar for claiming to have witnessed Roza’s kidnapping.
Alongside the theme of loss is the theme of forgiveness.
This novel is rife with personal conflicts. A lot of the characters have been hurt and carry their own emotional wounds, but the story aims to resolve this by the end.
One important act of forgiveness comes on the side of Finn, who forgives the town after he has been insulted and disbelieved throughout the entire novel.
Although the novel begins realistically and leans more heavily on the mystery genre, its fantasy elements soon become clear later on in the story.
Magic plays a key role in the climax of the story and adds another layer of mystery and complexity to the story.
Books Like Bone Gap
A Song For Ella Grey By David Almond
One common thing said about Bone Gap is that the story shares a lot of similarities with the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone. As a result, a book to try and read next is A Song For Ella Grey.
This young adult novel puts a modern spin on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice while keeping the magical elements intact.
It’s a story of love and loss as the main character, Claire, watches her best friend Ella Grey fall in love with Orpheus and is taken from the world. Now, it’s down to Claire to rescue her from death.
Where to buy the book: A Song For Ella Grey by David Almond.
- A Song For Ella Grey shares the same sources of inspiration for Bone Gap.
- It’s a touching story about romance, love, and loss.
- It also features plenty of magical and fantasy elements.
- If you know the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, then the plot is pretty predictable.
Themes: Magic, Loss, Love
No One Else Can Have You By Kathleen Hale
Another great young adult novel to check out is No One Else Can Have You.
This novel takes place in a friendly, little US town – until a teenage girl is murdered. To solve her murder, her best friend Kippy takes matters into her own hand after the local police prove themselves to be useless.
It’s a murder mystery in a similar vein to the disappearance of Roza in Bone Gap, but No One Else Can Have You doesn’t have nearly as many mystical or magical elements.
It’s a firmly realistic murder mystery that also explores the themes of love and obsession.
Where to buy the book: No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale.
- No One Else Can Have You is praised for its quirkiness and comedy.
- It features an intricate plot finished with a thrilling climax.
- The comedy is a stark contrast to the humor (or lack of) in Bone Gap, which results in a completely different tone.
Themes: Loss, Mystery, Identity, Love
The Devouring Gray By Christine Lynn Herman
The Devouring Gray is a thrilling fantasy young adult novel that touches on themes of mystery and loss – making it a great companion book to read alongside Bone Gap (If you liked this, also check out Books Like In Other Lands and other similar titles).
The story follows three characters as they endure individual losses while trying to save the world. The stakes are higher here than in Bone Gap, as our protagonists must band together to fight the beast imprisoned in the Gray.
Clearly, The Devouring Gray leans heavily on its fantasy elements but there’s also plenty of mystery to grip the reader.
Where to buy the book: The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman.
- The Devouring Gray is a fantasy mystery young adult novel that is gripping and thrilling.
- Like Bone Gap, we follow a team of characters who are each fleshed out and interesting.
- There is a sequel, so the story feels slightly unfinished and plotlines go unresolved.
Themes: Magic, Loss, Mystery
The Art Of Disappearing By Elena Perez
If it’s the magical elements of Bone Gap that you loved best, then a great recommendation for you is The Art Of Disappearing.
This novel follows a teenager called Delia who dreams about a classmate’s demise before it actually happens.
Her new-found psychic abilities cause Delia to have an identity crisis but she is forced to step up when someone she loves goes missing – and it’s up to Delia to save them.
So, The Art Of Disappearing is filled with mystery and thrills, merging the genre with elements of fantasy for a classic magical realism story.
Where to buy the book: The Art Of Disappearing by Elena Perez
- This novel is a thrilling mystery involving murder and kidnapping.
- There are also plenty of magical elements to suit those who prefer the fantasy genre (If you like fantasy, check out Books Like Name Of The Wind and other similar titles).
- Teens and young adults are sure to identify with the main character’s struggles.
- The Art Of Disappearing is now over a decade old, so finding copies can be a struggle.
Themes: Magic, Loss, Mystery, Identity
So, that’s it – those were 4 books that are like Bone Gap in many various ways.
Bone Gap is a really interesting young adult novel as it combines both realism and fantasy to create a thrilling mystery.
Its characters are rich and fleshed out, the town of Bone Gap is eerily unsettling, and the twists and turns help make the story gripping.
It dips its toes into a lot of genres to create something really unique – and that kind of magic is difficult to replicate.
Because of this, finding books that share a lot in common with Bone Gap is a tough task – but we were able to find quite a few great options with page-turning stories of their own.
Although some aren’t as fantastical as Bone Gap and others focus less on the relationships between characters and more on narrative events, each still has enough in common with Bone Gap to serve as a satisfying next read.
So, check out the books above and who knows – you may just find your new favorite novel!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Do The Bees Symbolize In Bone Gap?
One recurring motif in Bone Gap is the presence of bees, which are closely tied to Petey. They represent feminine life as well as growth and survival, key themes in a book involving a kidnapping.
Is Bone Gap Magical Realism?
Bone Gap is considered to be a magical realism book, as it relies heavily on a realistic setting and characters with only a few noticeable magical and fantasy elements.
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