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Reviewed by:
  • Bone Jack by Sara Crowe
  • April Spisak
Crowe, Sara Bone Jack. Philomel, 2017 [256p]
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-399-17651-7 $16.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-698-40972-9 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 6-9

There’s something otherworldly about Ash’s town. The sheep have all been killed recently in a biohazard containment effort, and the annual Stag Chase, where a fleet-footed boy attempts to elude age-mates dressed as hounds, brings dark magic with it. Ash’s dad has come back from war a shell of his former self, Ash’s best friend saw his own father commit suicide and increasingly tends toward murderous thoughts, and then there’s Bone Jack, whom thirteen-year-old Ash always thought was legendary (he appears to be a combination of several known mythological beings) but who may be real, and who may be influencing this year’s Stag Chase—and Ash is to be the stag. Ash’s fumbling attempts to lighten the darkness for his dad and mom, his best friend, and his town are endearing—he’s not terribly good at anything except running but his intentions are clearly pure. The action scenes around the chase itself are gripping, with lots of high drama and no guaranteed happy outcome. What’s even more memorable, however, is the lingering feeling of loss that shapes so many lives in this British import; plenty of real-life monsters like war, depression, and isolation haunt people as much as ghostly hound boys. [End Page 263]



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p. 263
Launched on MUSE
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