Bones & All
Maren Yearly doesn’t just break hearts, she devours them. Since she was a baby, Maren has had what you might call “an issue” with affection. Anytime someone cares for her too much, she can’t seem to stop herself from eating them. Abandoned by her mother at the age of 16, Maren goes looking for the father she has never known, but finds more than she bargained for along the way.Faced with love, fellow eaters, and enemies for the first time in her life, Maren realizes she isn’t just looking for her father, she is looking for herself. The real question is, will she like the girl she finds?
Bones & All is a new take on an old scary story. Maren eats people. Problematic at best, she doesn’t eat them for fun, revenge, or nutritional value, but because they get just a little too close and friendly with her. The only person to escape her teeth for the sixteen years of her life so far is her mother. Her mom does the best she can, packing the two of them up and moving away every time Maren eats a friend. After sixteen years of moves, fears, and new schools, Maren’s mom leaves her.
In hindsight, it was something Maren could have seen coming, I mean, who doesn’t look at a perfect day of fun after years of sadness and wonder if there might be some catch to it? Now motherless, friendless, and with a wad of cash, Maren has to decide what to do next. Find her long lost father? Track down her mother? Make her own way in the world?With all the hardships Maren must face, she does come across a friend and ally who understands her and her unusual desires. I know you’re thinking, “Oh no! Not another insta-love!” but you’d be wrong! While there is a connection, it’s not your typical YA love, but more of an understanding, platonic friendship love. That’s not to say that in later sequels they won’t fall down that rabbit hole, but for now, it’s supportive, not judging, and easy.
The book itself is not as gory as you’d expect, with more allusions towards eating people than the actual in-depth words of how they are eaten. The plot twists are good, and unexpected when they pop up. It’s a quick read, easily devoured in an afternoon or evening. Maren is really easy to relate to, she reads, wants to be normal, and really does want to be good. She’s real, without being the stereotypical quirky/awkward girl we see these days. All in all, the writing is lovely and flows. The usual tropes aren’t there, and it’s a nice refreshing coming of age novel.
This is a great book for those wanting to step into the horror genre. The blood and guts are kept at a minimum, the story makes you root for Maren and finding who she is, and it gives you that little bit of hunger for the next book.
Guest Post from Camille DeAngelis
“Which book do you hold most dear? What are your most cherished books from childhood, teen years, early adult life?”
I read voraciously as a child, but two books in particular made me want to become a writer:
Anne of Green Gables and Tom’s Midnight Garden. Each in their own way, these novels emphasize a hidden or unseen reality, accessible to anyone who is willing to wander off the well-worn tracks of habit and mundanity. Anne’s monologue about going out into a field under the stars to pray—that nature is, in effect, her cathedral—those lines I carry with me every time I look up at the night sky.
On a more pragmatic note, I want to mention a nonfiction title that made my teen years bearable: it’s Judy Zerafa’s Go For It! The author talks about comparing our insides with everyone else’s outsides, and no wonder we feel insecure—but we have no way of knowing what our peers are actually thinking and feeling, that they likely feel as uncertain as we do. It sounds so obvious as I articulate it now, but it’s not at all self evident as you’re living through that particularly trying chapter of your life.
As for the most formative book of my early adulthood, it’s definitely Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God. I had sneered at this book while reshelving in the New Age section at my after-school bookstore job in high school, but something made me pick it up off the dollar cart at the Strand a few years later. These books helped me to begin tapping into my intuition, truly feeling connected to God-or-whatever-cosmic-entity-we-may-think-of-as-“God” for the first time in my life, and the following lines inspired me to become a vegetarian:
“A [highly evolved being], in fact, would never consume an animal, much less fill the ground, and the plants which the animal eats, with chemicals, then fill the animal itself with chemicals, and then consume it. A HEB would correctly assess such a practice to be suicidal.”
Part of what I love so much about Neale Donald Walsch’s work is that he fervently questions what is happening to him. He writes, “How do I know I’m not making this up?” And “God” answers, “What does it really matter if you’re making this up or not, as long as you’re helping people?”
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Camille DeAngelis is the author of Bones & All (St. Martin’s, 2015), Petty Magic: Being the Memoirs and Confessions of Miss Evelyn Harbinger, Temptress and Troublemaker (Crown, 2010), and Mary Modern (Crown/Shaye Areheart, 2007), as well as a first-edition guidebook, Moon Ireland (Avalon, 2007). She is a graduate of New York University (B.A. in Fine Arts, minor in Irish Studies, 2002) and the National University of Ireland, Galway (M.A. in Writing, 2005). Her fourth novel, tentatively titled Immaculate Heart, will be published by St. Martin’s Press in 2016. She is a board member of the Writers’ Room of Boston.
A longtime vegetarian, she went vegan in April 2011, and in June 2013 became a certified vegan lifestyle coach and educator through Victoria Moran’s Main Street Vegan® Academy. She is also planning to receive her yoga teacher training in 2015.
Originally from New Jersey, Camille now lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.