This is one of the first truly enjoyable books I have read this year. I mean, I have read books that I liked, but I simply devoured Bones & All. Yep. I went there. Not entirely intentionally, but the pun has been made, and it shall remain.
The prose is just stunningly beautiful. We follow Maren, a sixteen year old cannibal, as she tries to find a place for herself in the world. The observations she makes, the way DeAngelis pulls you into the world of Bones & All (even though it isn’t that different from our own) and the melancholy of being a person who doesn’t quite fit in. The prose sings. It isn’t always a happy song.
This is, after all, a book about a cannibal. And while I wouldn’t recommend it for much younger than 16 and up, I have come to terms with the fact that beneath the story of a girl who eats people is that fundamental search for self. And that is a story that can be related to in one’s teen years, as well as in the older years. My initial thought was that this was in no way suitable for young adults, because it was so tense and creepy and sad, but a lot of the world is like that. So I amended my opinion to recommend this book to the older young adults out there.
So, I seem to have loved Bones & All, right? Why did it lose a star? There were some plot points that were a little strange, and I would have enjoyed the story more if they were written differently. The ending was wholly unsatisfying, and Mr. Blue can attest to the fact that I finished the book and went “THIS CAN’T BE IT?!”. Another sad fact of the lost star was that Maren didn’t seem to grow as much as I would have liked her to in a “coming of age” story. It is a very short 304 pages.
Finally, and probably selfishly, when I read the author information at the back and found that Camille DeAngelis is vegan, I felt a little like I had been cheated. I didn’t want to read the book again so soon, as it is quite unsettling. But now I am left wondering… Did I actually read the book that she wrote? Or was Bones & All meant to have some deeper societal meaning about veganism. I mean, I am personally not a vegan or a vegetarian because I can’t afford it. I have looked at a variety of lifestyles such as veganism because of my health problems, and I have no fundamental problems with the lifestyle or the people who live them. What I do have a problem with is being misdirected. And that is how I felt at the end reading the little blurb about Camille DeAngelis‘ choice to be vegan, and her opinions that we need to “take a closer look at the consumption of flesh”.
Bones & All will be released tomorrow, March 10, 2015. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and was definitely left wanting more. I will be seeking out more of the author’s work with an eager eye. If you enjoy coming-of-age stories with a twist, horror, or just a touch of the unusual (I wouldn’t go so far as to say “magical realism”) then I encourage you to take a look for Bones & All.