Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Book Review: Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer

Hello everyone and happy summer! I’ve been super busy lately, but (of course) I made time to read some new books. And I can't wait to share with you Not Even Bones, a dark and action-packed novel by Rebecca Schaeffer.

Dexter meets This Savage Song in this dark fantasy about a girl who sells magical body parts on the black market — until she’s betrayed.

Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” But when her mom brings home a live specimen, Nita decides she wants out — dissecting living people is a step too far.

But when she tries to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold on the black market in his place — because Nita herself is a supernatural being. Now Nita is on the other side of the bars, and there is no line she won’t cross to escape and make sure no one can ever capture her again. 

Nita did a good deed, and it cost her everything. Now she’s going to do a lot of bad deeds to get it all back.

I initially picked up this book for its interesting and unusual synopsis, but its compelling plot soon captured me entirely. Not Even Bones is a fast-paced novel full of action and conflict as the protagonist struggles for freedom while reconciling her conscience with her circumstances and needs. And this novel isn’t just about Nita and her misfortunes (or adventures- depends on how you look at it), it delves deeper into morally gray territory with the underlying theme of morals and their meaning and importance to different individuals. This was unexpected for me at least, but Not Even Bones ended up being a novel that I could really reflect upon and dissect (pun intended) with all the parallelism and connections that gave me those ah-ha moments after I was done reading. 

The world portrayed in this novel, as well as Nita's relationship with this environment, is also complex and unique. The genre is magical realism- Nita’s world resembles our own, just with the addition of supernatural beings. And while at first it might seem like she lives in a dark, unfamiliar world, the black markets, trafficking, and cartels are as much a part of our world today as they are of hers- only, unlike in our society, this underworld is very much present and visible in her life. Nita finds herself in situations that stretch and test her abilities and personality but her grit and determination ultimately push her through. In all, this novel shows us the ugliness underlying the world but also a girl who tries to overcome the darkness yet accept her role in it at the same time.
Overall, Not Even Bones is an unexpected and engaging novel. There are plot twists within plot twists- ones that like a magician’s sleight of hand diverted my attention while the other snuck up on me. The tables are turned multiple times, and the line between enemy and ally is so fluid that the characters you like, hate, and grudgingly admire would be better represented by a messy Venn diagram than anything else. And the ending- oh the story's only just begun...

As a disclaimer, there are some graphic and possibly disturbing scenes of violence in this novel. But overall, if you like stories with humor, action, charm, morally gray characters, and a touch of madness, Not Even Bones is the book for you!

Have a relaxing rest of your summer!


Find Not Even Bones in the Monroe County Library System, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.