The Bone Garden
A spooky and adventurous debut illustrated fantasy novel about a girl made of dust and bone and imagination who seeks the truth about the magic that brought her to life.
Featuring illustrations by Matt Saunders!
"This magical story—and the brave girl in its pages—will haunt you in the best way." —Natalie Lloyd, New York Times bestselling author of Over the Moon
“Remember, my dear, you do not really and truly exist.”
Irréelle fears she’s not quite real. Only the finest magical thread tethers her to life—and to Miss Vesper. But for all her efforts to please her cruel creator, the thread is unraveling. Irréelle is forgetful as she gathers bone dust. She is slow returning from the dark passages beneath the cemetery. Worst of all, she is unmindful of her crooked bones.
When Irréelle makes one final, unforgivable mistake by destroying a frightful creature just brought to life, Miss Vesper threatens to imagine her away once and for all. Defying her creator for the very first time, Irréelle flees to the underside of the graveyard and embarks on an adventure to unearth the mysterious magic that breathes bones to life, even if it means she will return to dust and be no more.
With echoes of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, debut author Heather Kassner's The Bone Garden is a gorgeously written story--illustrated by Matt Saunders--humming with magic, mystery, and dark imaginings. Perfect for fans of Holly Black, Jonathan Auxier, and Katherine Arden.
Praise for The Bone Garden
"A gorgeously creepy tale with a timeless feel. With her vulnerability and courage, Irréelle is a heroine you can't help but love." —Elly Blake, New York Times bestselling author of Nightblood
"[Evokes] the dreamy tone and themes of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and The Graveyard Book . . . an impressive new fairy tale that will appeal to fans of Lisa Graff’s subtly magical stories." —Booklist
"The pages of this book are filled with imagination incarnate—in the form of a haunting heroine made from dust, bone, and a heart of gold. A deliciously dark, unique tale!" —MarcyKate Connolly, author of Shadow Weaver.
Formed from bone dust and imagination, Irr elle, 11, works in the tunnels beneath a cemetery for her cold creator, Miss Arden Vesper, to whom she is connected by a magical thread. All Irr elle wants is to be loved and cared for, but Miss Vesper refuses to mend Irr elle's misaligned limbs, using bone dust, which Irr elle extracts from corpses, for her own longevity and "dark creations." After Miss Vesper informs her that she can be easily dispatched, Irr elle escapes to the tunnels, where she finds and rescues her predecessor, Guy. Guided by disembodied Hand, they begin to unearth the truth about Miss Vesper and her quest for "an unmarked grave that is very clearly marked." Up against dirt bats, the graveyard's sadistic night watchman, and Miss Vesper herself, Irr elle, Guy, Hand, and Irr elle's replacement, Lass, must disentangle the secrets of bone magic before Miss Vesper unmakes them all. Kassner's uneven debut seems to be alluding to larger questions about abuse, ability, and self-acceptance, but these themes are left undeveloped, raising troubling, even disempowering messages. Still, the eldritch atmosphere and compelling mystery will likely draw fans of middle grade horror, and Saunders's spooky black-and-white sketches bolster the tale. Ages 10 14.)