Bones & All

21570066by Camille DeAngelis
YA Fiction/Horror
4 of 5 Stars

Let me start by saying this book is out of my reading comfort zone! When I first heard about the concept it sounded so unique I just had to try it. Maren is your average teenage girl growing up in 1990s America–with the slight complication of eating anyone who cares about her, bones and all. She doesn’t want to be a monster, but she can’t stop herself either. When Maren’s mother abandons her after her sixteenth birthday, she decides to find her absent father to see if there’s anyone else like her.

Maren’s narration of past and present events and her own feelings of guilt and disgust suck you in, despite the number of cringe-worthy scenes. The whole book is a series of that moment in a horror movie when you’re yelling at the TV “Don’t go in there! Don’tdon’tdon’t–Noooo you DID!” You keep watching through your fingers because it’s too fascinating to look away.

DeAngelis doesn’t rely on gory detail. She just uses the exact phrase to get your skin to crawl, the right detail that conjures up everything else from your own imagination. Her writing is superb. What kept me thinking about the story long after I turned the last page wasn’t Maren’s character arc, but the different themes woven throughout this story. The jacket cover and the author’s note make no effort to hide that some of these themes were intentional, but I found myself more intrigued by her portrayal of feminism and female sexuality than her views on eating meat (she is vegan).

It’s hard to say more without including plot spoilers. This is a fast read and worth checking out!

If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, Bones & All is available on Goodreads and its parent company Amazon. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!

Similar reads:

  • Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion – In a post-zombie apocalypse America, zombie “R” meets Juliet and wants to prove he’s more than a brain-eating monster. In some ways, more gory than Bones & All, but R’s narration is just as gripping.
  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – This author writes gritty and uncomfortable YA that uses the same precision when it comes to putting teenage feelings and circumstances on paper. Her style is simple but powerful. See my review here.
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan – Another version of zombie-apocalypse America (closest thing to cannibals, right?) with a suspenseful narrative from the protagonist as she navigates her limited, dark world. See my review here.
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – The most well-known suspense novel at the moment, but if you haven’t discovered it yet and you loved the dark twists in Bones & All, you will enjoy this!
  • Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma – This has a similar level of near-supernatural elements that aren’t fully explained. It’s not as dark or uncomfortable, but there is the same level of haunting prose. See my review here.
  • Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke – Three points of view (hero, liar, villain) tell you a creepy tale from a small mountain town. See my review here.

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