Monday, June 8, 2015

YA Review: Bones

Bones by John Wilson

Published: April 1st, 2014 by Orca Currents/Orca Book Publishers
Genre: YA Mystery
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 117
Part of a series? Yes, this is a sequel to the first book, Stolen.
Got via: The library
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Sam and Annabel are visiting Drumheller, Alberta, where the farmland Sam's mother lives on is host to a dinosaur dig. Annabel, an avid learner, is thrilled to have access to paleontologists and spends as much time as she can near the dig, much to Sam's dismay. But when they learn the dig has uncovered scientifically important bones, even Sam's interest is piqued. In fact, the whole town is talking about the dig. When Sam and Annabel learn that Humphrey Battleford, a famous collector of stolen goods, is in the area, they are on high alert to keep the ancient bones safe.

Review: I did a dinosaur Storytime at work and there was this book I wanted called Drumheller Dinosaur Dance. When I searched for it on the library site, this one came up, too, and I was both intrigued and already logged in, so I decided to order it, and I'm glad I did. I was really busy when I read this because it was a month before my semester ends (Edit: Now the end of semester is less than two weeks ago, ahh!), and I had tons of work to do *pause for panic* (Edit: Still panicking!), but the power went out for a whole 10 seconds, and killed my internet for several hours. Since I do my school online, I completely ran out of homework that I could access! So, reading. And that was a really rambly intro that had very little to do with the book.

Anyway. I liked this one a lot. It is the second book of the series, and I have not read the first, but I think it stands fine on its own as well. It quickly catches you up on the events that happened in the last book without rehashing them completely. I wouldn't mind reading the first at all, but it's not necessary to enjoy this one.

I also really enjoyed that it was very Canadian.

Plot Talk: This is set in Drumheller, Albert, and if you don't know anything about Drumheller, that's where the dinosaurs are! Obviously not all the dinosaurs, but a lot have been found in the area, and they have a museum with a very large fossil collection, and statues and stuff, which is super cool. I have a note to add stuff when I have internet, so here's a link to the World's Largest T-Rex which you can climb, and here's some pictures of statues.

Sam and Annabel are visiting Sam's mom who lives on a farm where a dinosaur skeleton has just been found. Fossils are totally valuable and they end up on the lookout when their arch nemesis shows up - the famous "collector" of stolen goods mentioned in the summary.

That's a touch tongue-in-cheek, I'll admit, but the plot is pretty much described in the summary. The book is only 117 pages. However, I don't really have a problem with the length or the plot. I think for a book this length, a straightforward, more simple plot is better. Too much going on can become rushed or convoluted, and Bones avoids that.

Characters: Again, in a book this length, the character also can't be as deep or as fleshed out as they'd be in a longer book, but they're fine. Having a relatively small cast of characters does help with that. They aren't my absolutely all-time dear to my heart characters, but they were solid, and I don't have anything to complain about in that respect.

Both Sam and Annabel were good characters. Annabel is a genius and proud of that, and I adored that. You gotta love a girl who loves learning. She's also funny, possessing a good sense of humour. Sam is a cool dude, too. He almost seems to deal with anxiety - he mentions being one to worry a lot, and how that affects his life, and that's an awesome character trait. I like the idea of mental illness representation, although it would obviously be better if it were explicit.

Sam and Annabel are dating, but it's not a super huge part of the book for readers who aren't so much fans of the whole romance deal. Their relationship is something I really did like, though. It seems somewhat new. As I've not read the first, I don't know how long they've been together, but I'm pretty sure it's only a few month. Sam has some insecure moments, and gets a little jealous of another dude, but they *gasp* talk about it and they quickly get past that with no feelings hurt or needless drama.

Plus this is super cute:
"Your girlfriend is smart," Dr. Bob says with a smile. I blush violently, but I'm happy. Annabel is my girlfriend, and that makes me very lucky.
PG-13 stuff: Nothing to really speak of. No language, not really any violence. This would be good for younger readers, I think.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: A minor typo or two that I noticed a bit more because of the shortness, but only one or two - not nearly enough to make it look sloppy, but I'm an honest girl, so I'm mentioning it. Characterization could be slightly better, but that's just what's gong to happen when you have a short book, and I don't think the length is a bad thing. Not every book needs to be 300 pages.

Um, that's about it besides two little nitpicks - it never says how old they are! My guess is 14-15 because Sam can't drive and it's not mentioned as out of the ordinary. Related to that is - I don't know if I quite believe kids that age know who Deep Purple are!

Mostly those last two are just me being silly - they don't really affect the reading experience, but I have a blog because I like talking about books, right?

Cover comments: Well, it caught my attention on the library website! I think it's quite cool. Not overly busy, but eye-catching. I think kids would like it, and also that it would look good as a neat little paperback. I've read Orca paperbacks before, and they are basically pocket sized, provided you don't have those horrible tiny/fake pockets.

Conclusion: Ultimately, I enjoyed this one. It was a nice, quick read, but not rushed or under developed. I think it would be great for younger readers as I mentioned before, but also for reluctant readers as it's short, but solid. Short books always have drawbacks just as a format, but they have their pros as well. If you're a quick reader like me, you can bang them out fairly quickly (unlike this review which took like three episodes of House Hunters to write, and like two episodes of this random house flipping show to type up and format), but reluctant readers are often drawn to them because they're shorter.

Basically, Bones and I are cool. We can totally be bros. I love mysteries in MG/YA, I love the archeology angle and totally have since I was a kid, and this is a very good, solid book. Solid 3.5 roses out of five, and a strong recommendation.

Please excuse any typos or weird sentences. I'm typing this up and posting this very late Sunday night because I have a little time, and I've been doing math all day, so my brain is a little fried. I wanted to get this up to go up on Monday, though.

Thanks for reading!

Peace and cookies,

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