The Bone Garden
“Remember, my dear, you do not really and truly exist.”Made of dust and bone and imagination, 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 crafts a gorgeously written story humming with magic, mystery, and dark imaginings.

The Bone Garden Details

TitleThe Bone Garden
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 6th, 2019
PublisherHenry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult

The Bone Garden Review

  • Toni
    January 1, 1970
    What a flight of imagination! A truly original story. Spooky, scary, perfect for a camp cabin or a sleepover story sharing.I loved the protagonist of the Bone Garden, aptly named Irréelle (' Unreal'). Made of bone dust and her creator's magic imagination, Irreelle is courageous, loving, and loyal. The beginning might scare you because it takes place in underground tunnels under a graveyard, and Irreelle is on her mission to collect (extract) bone dust that will permit Miss Vesper, her cruel crea What a flight of imagination! A truly original story. Spooky, scary, perfect for a camp cabin or a sleepover story sharing.I loved the protagonist of the Bone Garden, aptly named Irréelle (' Unreal'). Made of bone dust and her creator's magic imagination, Irreelle is courageous, loving, and loyal. The beginning might scare you because it takes place in underground tunnels under a graveyard, and Irreelle is on her mission to collect (extract) bone dust that will permit Miss Vesper, her cruel creator, continue looking for a clearly marked unmarked grave that holds a secret to her life and magic. All Irréelle wants is to be a real girl, like her neighbours she quietly observes, making sure nobody notices how deformed she is. Nothing ever pleases Miss Vesper who is always quick to remind Irréelle that she doesn't really exist and can be easily replaced. When Irréelle tries to protect herself from a strange creature, brought into life by Miss Vesper's magic, and accidentally breaks it, Miss Vesper wants to destroy her in a painful and cruel way, but, luckily, Irréelle manages to run away and hide in the tunnels she knows so well by now. Here she helps to free Guy who becomes her first friend and together they make their way outside. But if you think the scary part is over, you're mistaken. The adventure only begins. Together, Irréelle, Guy and two other friends they make on their way must solve the mystery of Miss Arden Mae Vesper and help her reunite with the love of her life.Irréelle undergoes a huge transformation from a quiet, obedient, awkward girl, who wants to do everything in her power to please her tormentor, even if deep down she knows it is wrong. Gradually, she begins to question her own motivation, and proves to be a smart, tenacious, perceptive girl 'with a big heart and a will of her own'.The setting is really dark (most of it happens either undergound or in the graveyar), so it might not be suitable for young children, but midlle graders will appreciate the dark Gothic charm of the magic world created by Heather Kessner.Thank you to Edelweiss and Henry Holt and Co. for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
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  • Hannah Greendale
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at page 88. Intriguing idea from a debut author, but comparisions made to Neil Gaiman's work are too great a stretch of the imagination. Tried to push through this one but couldn't get past the clumsy writing.
  • Dannii Elle
    January 1, 1970
    This book is like the love child of Tim Burton, Neil Gaiman, and the Brothers Grimm and could not fail to appeal to my Gothic-loving heart.The Bone Garden follows Irréelle, a being made of dust and bone and kept alive by imagination and on the good graces of Miss Vesper. But when Irréelle shatters Miss Vesper's newest creation she is banished from her sight and must strive to survive amongst the dead, traversing the graveyard beyond her once home.This story walked the fine line between fun and d This book is like the love child of Tim Burton, Neil Gaiman, and the Brothers Grimm and could not fail to appeal to my Gothic-loving heart.The Bone Garden follows Irréelle, a being made of dust and bone and kept alive by imagination and on the good graces of Miss Vesper. But when Irréelle shatters Miss Vesper's newest creation she is banished from her sight and must strive to survive amongst the dead, traversing the graveyard beyond her once home.This story walked the fine line between fun and darkness, dispatched a sinister, Gothic menace from an innocent slant and delivered it with a fair amount of wit. Everything, from the initial scene which led our protagonist to an underground coffin, the later graveyard setting, and the elements that made up Irréelle herself, spoke of only darkness yet the author managed to infuse this with a light that made it suitable for younger readers whilst the story-line was convoluted enough to appeal to elder ones.Irréelle, that eerie little being, stole my heart. She was a creation of darkness yet spread solely light. Her soul was innocent, despite her life being plauged by dark intentions and dogged by menace. She very early on had all of my love and I want to read a lifetime of books following her adventures. Middle grade can be hit or miss for me. Some appeal, and rightly so, to a younger audience only. Others are whimsical adventure stories full of timeless and ageless allure. This was categorically the latter. It can, and should, be read and enjoyed by all, whether 8 or 80 and every age inbetween.
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  • Lily ☁️
    January 1, 1970
    The Bone Garden is an atmospheric, haunting, and wondrous tale that conjures up memories of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, as well as Victoria Schwab’s City of Ghosts, and leaves a trail of goosebumps on your skin, as you follow the main character Irréelle through winding underground tunnels, and a graveyard even eerier than you’d expect.Irréelle’s existence, as her creator Miss Vesper never lets her forget, is made up entirely of bone dust and Miss Vesper’s imagination—just enough to easily dispose of The Bone Garden is an atmospheric, haunting, and wondrous tale that conjures up memories of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, as well as Victoria Schwab’s City of Ghosts, and leaves a trail of goosebumps on your skin, as you follow the main character Irréelle through winding underground tunnels, and a graveyard even eerier than you’d expect.Irréelle’s existence, as her creator Miss Vesper never lets her forget, is made up entirely of bone dust and Miss Vesper’s imagination—just enough to easily dispose of her, should she find her no longer useful. Useful to send her to run errands, collect bone dust, and … maybe something far more sinister? “She took up such a small slip of space that she wondered if she left any imprint at all. Or if she was as unreal as the ghosts she did not believe in.” Heather Kassner weaves a grim and at times macabre tale, infused with heartfelt, tender moments that are filled with lightness, as she navigates themes such as friendship, love, anxiety, and trust.I especially appreciated the portrayal of Irrélle’s relationship with Miss Vesper, who is quite cruel, and doesn’t care about Irrélle beyond her ability to fulfill the tasks she gives her—it encapsulates so well how, even though people might treat you horribly, you can still love them, care for them, and care about their approval and praise, despite knowing that you shouldn’t. (…) she loved Miss Vesper even then. She did not want to, but the feeling was not one she could shake loose, for it was settled deep in her bones. By meeting two other magical beings who were brought to life by Miss Vesper just like she, Irréelle learns how to put her trust in herself and in others, to grow beyond the shadow of her self that she is in her creator’s presence. I loved how it shows just how much friendship can have an impact on you that is in itself magic.It also shows that being “different”—however you may interpret it—is not a bad thing, and you shouldn’t strive to be anyone other than who you are. (…) you are more brave, more strange, and right now, more stubborn than anyone I have ever met. Middle grade books may not be my main genre, but I’m immensely glad that I had the chance to read The Bone Garden, and am sure that many younger readers will appreciate this unique tale.Thank you so much to Titan Books for sending me a finished copy of this book in advance! It in no way influenced my opinion, or rating.Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Bloglovin’
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  • Gabrielle Byrne
    January 1, 1970
    I was so thrilled (and lucky) to have the opportunity to read an early version of THE BONE GARDEN. In Irreelle, Kassner has built a heroine who is both eerie and sympathetic, hypnotic and disturbing. The way Miss Vesper wields her cold power is on par with the Mother from CORALINE, or the Father in MONSTROUS. Readers who love Neil Gaiman, Marcy Kate Connolly, or Jonathan Auxier are going to love THE BONE GARDEN. The writing is lyrical. The setting has the feel of a dark Victorian tale. Kassner d I was so thrilled (and lucky) to have the opportunity to read an early version of THE BONE GARDEN. In Irreelle, Kassner has built a heroine who is both eerie and sympathetic, hypnotic and disturbing. The way Miss Vesper wields her cold power is on par with the Mother from CORALINE, or the Father in MONSTROUS. Readers who love Neil Gaiman, Marcy Kate Connolly, or Jonathan Auxier are going to love THE BONE GARDEN. The writing is lyrical. The setting has the feel of a dark Victorian tale. Kassner deftly balances her emotional punches with moments of macabre hilarity. It is a delightful, shivery page-turner, and I adored every minute of it.
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  • Aly Locatelli
    January 1, 1970
    “Remember, my dear, you do not really and truly exist.” If you ever wondered what would happen if Neil Gaiman and Tim Burton had a baby, then look no further. Heather Kassner’s debut The Bone Garden is a deliciously twisted middle grade tale of a girl who doesn’t truly exist and her quest to become something more. Irréelle has known nothing but Miss Vesper and the bone garden for as long as she can remember. One day she was nothing, and the next she just was. Miss Vesper rules with an iron fis “Remember, my dear, you do not really and truly exist.” If you ever wondered what would happen if Neil Gaiman and Tim Burton had a baby, then look no further. Heather Kassner’s debut The Bone Garden is a deliciously twisted middle grade tale of a girl who doesn’t truly exist and her quest to become something more. Irréelle has known nothing but Miss Vesper and the bone garden for as long as she can remember. One day she was nothing, and the next she just was. Miss Vesper rules with an iron fist, and Irréelle must follow the rules — lest she breaks them, and Miss Vesper “unmakes” her. The young girl knows Miss Vesper can do this because she can feel the unnatural tugging in her stomach whenever her unmaking is threatened.And so Irréelle does what she is told, day in and day out, collecting the bone dust that makes Miss Vesper young and beautiful. Until one day, when Irréelle makes one unforgivable mistake and is chased into the tunnels below the house, where she meets a young boy who was “unmade” by Miss Vesper. Together, they set out on a journey seeking forgiveness and redemption by finding the one grave Miss Vesper can’t find.I don’t usually read middle grade, and wasn’t aware The Bone Garden was one until I was quite far into it. Needless to say, it’s a fantastic book. It’s spooky, but funny; sad in places, but also highly exciting in others. The characters are brilliant (Irréelle in particular really tugged at my heartstrings) and the story is fast-paced and enjoyable. It didn’t matter what happened, I was constantly turning the pages, excited to see what else the characters got up to.Kassner’s debut is one in a million, and she painted such a beautiful tale of loss and sorrow and love in her first book that some writers could only ever dream of achieving in their entire careers.If it wasn’t on your radar before, I sincerely hope you reach for The Bone Garden the next chance you get!
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  • Joan He
    January 1, 1970
    It's been a longgg time since I've read any MG but Heather's book brought back all the creepy yet heartfelt elements I loved in old timers such as Roald Dahl and Lemony Snicket's books. The writing feels classic yet perennial, the atmosphere so rich that you can smell the mold of the graveyard's underbelly but also the fine tea laced with vanilla, and the characters were so sympathetic. Irreelie's wishes and fears are clear yet complex, and I loved how she and the rest of the cast--the villain i It's been a longgg time since I've read any MG but Heather's book brought back all the creepy yet heartfelt elements I loved in old timers such as Roald Dahl and Lemony Snicket's books. The writing feels classic yet perennial, the atmosphere so rich that you can smell the mold of the graveyard's underbelly but also the fine tea laced with vanilla, and the characters were so sympathetic. Irreelie's wishes and fears are clear yet complex, and I loved how she and the rest of the cast--the villain included--were magicked into life by a deft yet gentle hand.
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  • Amélie Zhao
    January 1, 1970
    I've had the absolute privilege of reading an early copy of this, and ... wow. Let me first say that I have not read a middle grade book for about ten years. But THE BONE GARDEN grabbed me from the very first chapter and would not let go.Heather writes with a gentle magic and breathtaking beauty, and it's the exact sort of fragile, hopeful feeling that we get from the main character, Irreélle (a beautiful name meaning "unreal" or "surreal" in French). Irreélle is made of bone dust and fragments I've had the absolute privilege of reading an early copy of this, and ... wow. Let me first say that I have not read a middle grade book for about ten years. But THE BONE GARDEN grabbed me from the very first chapter and would not let go.Heather writes with a gentle magic and breathtaking beauty, and it's the exact sort of fragile, hopeful feeling that we get from the main character, Irreélle (a beautiful name meaning "unreal" or "surreal" in French). Irreélle is made of bone dust and fragments of Miss Vesper's imagination, and from the start we see her question her existence with a quiet hopefulness that tucks this character into the tenderest folds of your heart. Heather lures you in to care for Irreélle from the very start, and you won't realize it until you're still propped up in bed at 1AM on a Monday night, reading by the dim glow of your Kindle to find out what happens to Irreélle and her friends.This is a story that is at once grim but hopeful, creepy yet funny, heart-wrenching and hilarious at times. Very much like the graveyard tunnels that Irreélle frequents, the atmosphere and storyline are dark, yet we find pockets of light by the glow of Irreélle's candle; we feel the comfort of friendship by a guiding Hand in the darkness; and by the end, we feel the warmth by the corals of a sunrise that Irreélle and her friends enjoy as they reflect upon their adventure, and their newfound understanding of what it means to be human.
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  • Marie
    January 1, 1970
    An entertaining, unique tale overall :) Full review coming soon!Thank you to Titan Books for sending me a review copy of this book. This did not, in any way, influenced my thoughts and rating. My Blog - Drizzle & Hurricane Books - Twitter - Bloglovin'
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  • Kelly Coon
    January 1, 1970
    If Tim Burton and Lewis Carroll and the Grimm brothers wrote a book about a misfit girl, THE BONE GARDEN would be it. Only it was the brilliant Heather Kassner who composed this gift. I was hooked from page one, and could not shake myself loose through the rest of the story. It read like a fairy tale full of dark magic and eerie delights (THE HAND!!!!!!), but the sweetness of the off-kilter MC and the fiery spirit inside of her when she realizes she has a voice apart from her mistress Miss Vespe If Tim Burton and Lewis Carroll and the Grimm brothers wrote a book about a misfit girl, THE BONE GARDEN would be it. Only it was the brilliant Heather Kassner who composed this gift. I was hooked from page one, and could not shake myself loose through the rest of the story. It read like a fairy tale full of dark magic and eerie delights (THE HAND!!!!!!), but the sweetness of the off-kilter MC and the fiery spirit inside of her when she realizes she has a voice apart from her mistress Miss Vesper, was more heart warming than your typical tale. THE BONE GARDEN's contents are dark (graveyards and bones and forging life), but the theme "love is the strongest force of all" casts a bright light over the whole story, leaving me with goosebumps of joy, not fright. I highly, highly recommend this book for any MG reader and beyond!
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  • Toya
    January 1, 1970
    Do not be fooled by the middle grade genre, this beautifully dark story is chocked full of horror, despair, adventure, and hope.The story begins with Irréelle raiding coffins to gather more bone dust for Miss Vesper. Miss Vesper is Irréelle’s creator, and she makes some of the vilest villains seem like a walk in the park. She is unbelievably cruel, constantly reminding Irréelle that she is not real and can be returned to the bone dust from which she came at a moment’s notice. My heart broke for Do not be fooled by the middle grade genre, this beautifully dark story is chocked full of horror, despair, adventure, and hope.The story begins with Irréelle raiding coffins to gather more bone dust for Miss Vesper. Miss Vesper is Irréelle’s creator, and she makes some of the vilest villains seem like a walk in the park. She is unbelievably cruel, constantly reminding Irréelle that she is not real and can be returned to the bone dust from which she came at a moment’s notice. My heart broke for poor Irréelle because all she ever wanted was to please Miss Vesper and be real. Cue the tears (Again, don’t let middle grade fool you! This book has all the feels!)Irréelle disrupts Miss Vesper after she has created yet another horrifying monster, a hand that attacks Irréelle. Naturally, Irréelle tries to crush the hand (think Thing from the Adams Family), which sends Miss Vesper into a blind rage. Miss Vesper drags Irréelle to be burned back into bone dust, but Irréelle manages to escape.After Irréelle’s escape, her adventurous life truly begins. She meets Guy and eventually Lass. She discovers that she is no longer alone even if she aches to feel truly human. At this point, I fell in love with watching Irréelle develop as a character. We watch her progress from being a victim of Stockholm Syndrome to putting her fears aside to protect her friends at all cost. Irréelle and her friends set out to uncover the dark truths of Miss Vesper in order to be truly free from this vile being. Along the way these three realize that even though they were little monsters created from bone dust and dark magic, humanity arises through the love that is forged through friendships.Overall, this story was a fantastic read. You’ll be rooting for Irréelle as she escapes a life of pain and servitude to a life of love and belonging and ultimately, human.Rating: 5 stars
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  • Tahlia
    January 1, 1970
    Blog Post: https://museofnyxmares.wordpress.com/...Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/museofnyxma...*I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion.The synopsis for The Bone Garden sounded so good and the cover was so striking, that I immediately wanted to pick it up and I’m so glad that I did. This was honestly such a great middle grade story, that can be enjoyed by all ages. It had a depth to it that older readers can appreciate, but it was still Blog Post: https://museofnyxmares.wordpress.com/...Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/museofnyxma...*I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion.The synopsis for The Bone Garden sounded so good and the cover was so striking, that I immediately wanted to pick it up and I’m so glad that I did. This was honestly such a great middle grade story, that can be enjoyed by all ages. It had a depth to it that older readers can appreciate, but it was still a story that was not over complicated and was just all in all, an easy read. The writing too, was beautiful and was impactful, but again, was simple, in the best way possible. It had this creepy and haunting atmosphere surrounding it, as if it was a ghost story being told around a fire, and its cover reflects this wonderfully. This had a more subdued and refined type of magic in it, but it was still fascinating and I loved it a lot, especially the label ‘bone dust’ and how the dust itself is used. I really like when a novel just has elements of magic in it, but the characters otherwise live in a non-magical world, it always makes the magic even more mysterious, precious and appealing.The characters were all extremely well realised, especially Irréelle and Miss Vesper. I loved Irréelle immediately, she was just a pure and endearing soul. She honestly had a heart of gold and so it made me so frustrated, seeing her think so poorly of herself and be treated so badly by Miss Vesper. Irréelle just wanted to feel loved and like she belonged, to the point that she was always trying to find the good in Miss Vesper and was convinced that she wasn’t working hard enough to earn Miss Vesper’s love. I honestly just wanted to give her a big hug and tell her that she’s not the problem. Miss Vesper on the other hand was so brilliant for all the wrong reasons. She was such a menacing character, who was so ambiguous and elusive, yet her presence was always felt towering over Irréelle, whether she was actually present or not. She was extremely manipulative towards Irréelle and it was so sad to see. She really was the perfect example of how you don’t need to be physically intimidating or violent to dominate someone. She really was a real piece of work, and I only hated her so much because she was that well written.Miss Vesper uses Irréelle to do the menial tasks that are required for her to do her magic and just about everything else. She sends Irréelle to the graveyard to collect the bone dust she needs to make things, like Irréelle, and restore herself from day to day. There are specific instructions to make the tea that restores Miss Vesper, collecting bone dust from different skeletons, from different body parts and of different amounts. Despite relying on Irréelle for this, Miss Vesper is constantly scolding her and cursing her name if she does even the slightest thing to displease her. Irréelle knows that she’s tethered to Miss Vesper in some way, as she’s the one who created her and Miss Vesper uses this to constantly manipulate and threaten Irréelle. She constantly tells her that she isn’t real, that she is misshapen and wrong, a figment of her imagination and therefore she can make her disappear if she wants to. Understandably, Irréelle is terrified that miss Vesper might ‘unmake’ her and so she does everything in her power to be perfect.Irréelle has a very low opinion of herself as she’s been seriously mistreated, never standing up for herself. However, when she fears that Miss Vesper is going to finally follow through with her threats, she makes a desperate attempt to escape. What she finds in the tunnels on her escape run will change her world for ever, as she comes face to face with a boy for the first time and not just any boy. Irréelle has found the boy that Miss Vesper is constantly asking her if she’s heard on her errands before. Guy was the first of Miss Vesper’s creatures and he and Irréelle strike up a friendship after she helps him. Whilst on the run, they find themselves being saved by one of Miss Vesper’s most recent creations, a girl named Lass. Although they are all made from the same things and suffered Miss Vesper’s cruelty, Lass and Guy are very different to Irréelle. They are both strong characters, self assured and assertive, and see Miss Vesper for what she is, unlike Irréelle. Through her journey with these two, Irréelle experiences huge personal growth and I was so proud of her and it was so lovely to see her finally stick up for herself.This was such a unique, dark and charming fantasy story and it would be perfect for younger readers who are fans of Tim Burton’s work. The characters and the story itself were so good, that I was constantly engaged, rooting for them and wanting to see what would happen next. It was so melancholy, but also beautiful and hopeful at times as well and I think that the way everything unraveled and panned out in the end was fantastic. This was an enjoyable experience with such an amazing cast of characters, I especially have a soft spot for the hand, which sounds so random, but you’ll see what I mean when you read it, The Bone Garden was just such a weird and wonderfully compelling story and I’d definitely recommend it.
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  • Jenni
    January 1, 1970
    I have to tell you, I absolutely love this eerie, odd tale. It’s the kind of book I would love to have read when I was younger – the main character is odd and unique and brave and seeks approval until she realises that she is strong and brave and doesn’t need approval, she is real and she matters. I feel a real connection to Irréelle and the story is so much richer because of that connection. So many of us are, in some way, seeking approval, seeking love, seeking to belong.The writing style is h I have to tell you, I absolutely love this eerie, odd tale. It’s the kind of book I would love to have read when I was younger – the main character is odd and unique and brave and seeks approval until she realises that she is strong and brave and doesn’t need approval, she is real and she matters. I feel a real connection to Irréelle and the story is so much richer because of that connection. So many of us are, in some way, seeking approval, seeking love, seeking to belong.The writing style is hauntingly beautiful and the whole tale was so magical – half way between a bedtime story and a dream. I did not want to put The Bone Garden down, I was enchanted from the first page until the last one.I cannot wait to read more books by Heather Kassner as I just love her magical writing style.The setting, the story, the characters everything about this book is so unique, yet we see flashes of the familiar in Irréelle, Guy, Lass and even Miss Vesper. This small cast is so perfect and wonderfully formed. Just like the setting of the book, from the house, to the graveyard, even the tunnels.I really related to Irréelle‘s need to please, that visceral need not to disappoint, and I have to confess I was a lot older than her when I had a similar epiphany about the whole thing. I also love that she has “crooked bones”, I have a medical condition which makes walking painful at times, and I walk with a limp most of the time, so this was another thread connecting me to Irréelle. The Bone Garden is one of the highlights of my reading year, it definitely gets all the stars from me and it’s a book that I will be rereading as I am sure there so many beautiful things hidden in its poetic prose and I want to find them all.I would absolutely recommend The Bone Garden, it is a beautifully written book, which explores what it means to be alive, the nature of friendship and the depths of grief.
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  • Katie Zhao
    January 1, 1970
    Guys, trust me, you are not ready for Heather Kassner's THE BONE GARDEN. I devoured it in one sitting and I already can't wait to re-read it. This is one of those classic books that you know you will return to again and again, just to relive the magic of the world and characters and writing. Heather masterfully spins the dark tale of Irreelle and Miss Vesper in THE BONE GARDEN. Not only is the world of graveyard tunnels so vivid and haunting (fans of CORALINE are sure to gobble up this book), bu Guys, trust me, you are not ready for Heather Kassner's THE BONE GARDEN. I devoured it in one sitting and I already can't wait to re-read it. This is one of those classic books that you know you will return to again and again, just to relive the magic of the world and characters and writing. Heather masterfully spins the dark tale of Irreelle and Miss Vesper in THE BONE GARDEN. Not only is the world of graveyard tunnels so vivid and haunting (fans of CORALINE are sure to gobble up this book), but Heather writes Irreelle's story with a deft, careful hand, conjuring a complicated relationship between Miss Vesper and Irrelle that will tug deeply at readers' hearts, young or old. Watching Irrelle grow into herself and learn to believe that she is more than just dust and bone tethered to her creator, is so empowering, and so important. And we can't forget about the delightful cast of characters, including The Hand (eeep! Just the name alone is so deliciously dark!) who worm their way into your heart and make it so hard to let go even at the last page of the story.I'm so excited that this book will be out in the world soon. Heather's writing is pure magic, and this is one of the most special, unique, and well-written stories I've read in some time now. Don't miss out on this stunning 2019 MG debut!
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  • Gita Trelease
    January 1, 1970
    Step into THE BONE GARDEN, where skeletons await, old houses hold dark secrets, and magic abounds. Irréelle spends her days venturing into creepy underground tunnels to gather bone dust for the mysterious Miss Vesper’s magic. All the while she longs for friendship and the chance to becomes something more than a girl made of dust and imagination: she wishes to be made real. But as the story unfurls, Irréelle finds she may have gotten more than she bargained for when her strength and kindness are Step into THE BONE GARDEN, where skeletons await, old houses hold dark secrets, and magic abounds. Irréelle spends her days venturing into creepy underground tunnels to gather bone dust for the mysterious Miss Vesper’s magic. All the while she longs for friendship and the chance to becomes something more than a girl made of dust and imagination: she wishes to be made real. But as the story unfurls, Irréelle finds she may have gotten more than she bargained for when her strength and kindness are put to the test. Heather Kassner’s gorgeous, atmospheric writing pulled me into the story and into the mind and heart of Irréelle. The setting is immersive and all the characters are deftly drawn—including one I loved but can’t mention because…spoilers!—and I was rooting for all of them as the story reached its surprising conclusion. I adored this story of hope, friendship, and the true nature of magic. I only wish I could have lingered longer in its beautifully spooky world.
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  • Jodie Lynn Zdrok
    January 1, 1970
    Heather Kassner's THE BONE GARDEN is beautifully haunting and spookily poignant. It has the feel of a classic, rewarding on many levels from start to finish. I absolutely loved this book!With elegant, nuanced prose and an inviting MG voice, Kassner paints a world that's simultaneously dark and hopeful. The characters are distinct and memorable (wait until you meet The Hand--so well done!), and Irréelle will clasp your heartstrings from the first page. (By contrast, Miss Vesper's cruelty will mak Heather Kassner's THE BONE GARDEN is beautifully haunting and spookily poignant. It has the feel of a classic, rewarding on many levels from start to finish. I absolutely loved this book!With elegant, nuanced prose and an inviting MG voice, Kassner paints a world that's simultaneously dark and hopeful. The characters are distinct and memorable (wait until you meet The Hand--so well done!), and Irréelle will clasp your heartstrings from the first page. (By contrast, Miss Vesper's cruelty will make you wince). The plot is intriguing and well-paced, and what's unsaid is often as unsettling as what is. Kassner's debut is a refreshing take on the macabre, and I look forward to her next work. THE BONE GARDEN is full of creativity (the dirt bats!) and creepiness, but perhaps its greatest strength is that it's also full of heart. Note: I received an advanced review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Adrienne
    January 1, 1970
    Heather Kassner writes the strange and unusual like it’s true and familiar. Her debut is both sweet and cruel, chilling and hopeful. With a dark, but elegant Victorian setting and the question of ‘what will you do for the ones you love’ hiding in each page, THE BONE GARDEN is perfect for fans of Roald Dahl, Neil Gaiman, Tim Burton, or Catherynne Valente’s Fairyland series. Plus, the illustrations are gloomy and gothic! (And if anyone wanted to make a candle for THE BONE GARDEN I have the perfect Heather Kassner writes the strange and unusual like it’s true and familiar. Her debut is both sweet and cruel, chilling and hopeful. With a dark, but elegant Victorian setting and the question of ‘what will you do for the ones you love’ hiding in each page, THE BONE GARDEN is perfect for fans of Roald Dahl, Neil Gaiman, Tim Burton, or Catherynne Valente’s Fairyland series. Plus, the illustrations are gloomy and gothic! (And if anyone wanted to make a candle for THE BONE GARDEN I have the perfect scent combo: wood, smoke, and lilac! Seriously, someone do this.)The writing is beautiful and lyrical but succinct and charming. Please read this book!
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  • Lillian Clark
    January 1, 1970
    I had the incredible fortune to read Heather Kassner's debut THE BONE GARDEN early, and wow, what a beautiful book. The writing is lyrical and gorgeous. The story is both macabre and sweet. I fell in love with Ireelle, who is so perfectly imperfect. If you're a fan of Gaiman's GRAVEYARD BOOK and CORALINE, add THE BONE GARDEN to your tbr now! You will not be disappointed.
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  • Kate (beautifulbookland)
    January 1, 1970
    The Bone Garden is a middle grade book, which I didn’t know going into it, and also kind of didn’t know when I finished it either. I usually associate middle grade books with really childish and silly writing, and so I usually try to avoid it – think Diary of a Wimpy Kid.I’m happy to report that this book is nothing like Diary of a Wimpy Kid; it is breathtaking and beautiful and completely and utterly creepy, and I absolutely loved it. The main character, Irreélle, is made up of bone dust and im The Bone Garden is a middle grade book, which I didn’t know going into it, and also kind of didn’t know when I finished it either. I usually associate middle grade books with really childish and silly writing, and so I usually try to avoid it – think Diary of a Wimpy Kid.I’m happy to report that this book is nothing like Diary of a Wimpy Kid; it is breathtaking and beautiful and completely and utterly creepy, and I absolutely loved it. The main character, Irreélle, is made up of bone dust and imagination, and she’s so innocent and desperate to be loved that she broke my heart. She tries desperately to please her master, Miss Vesper, who gives her nothing but threats and insults back. I loved seeing her break free from Miss Vesper, and I also loved the fact that it wasn’t just a sudden thing: Irreélle struggles over the course of the book to adapt to life without having to please Miss Vesper, and I loved seeing her finally manage to break free.Despite the creepy (but beautiful!) cover, and the fact that this book is set in a graveyard, The Bone Garden is actually pretty funny. And I also imagine that, should any middle grade child read it, it will scar them as severely as Coraline scarred me.Thank you to Titan Books for sending me a review copy.
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  • Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
    January 1, 1970
    This book has a gorgeously evocative atmosphere, very similar to Gaiman’s Coraline. It was a wonderful MG read, but frankly I just wasn’t in the mood for it? I just couldn’t get invested. But even so, I know the setting balanced cleverly between gothic and spooky, and the characters were fascinating. If you like MG horror/gothic things, this is one for you.*I see the US editions has illustrations (?) but the UK edition doesn’t and I feel robbed
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  • Gabriela Pop
    January 1, 1970
    3.5/5Such a wonderful, quirky, eerie little book! Dark, touching and just mysterious enough to keep you engaged, I think this one is definitely one that fans of Neil Gaiman's middlegrade-reading fans should be on the lookout for; it definitely gave me the Graveyard Book feels that I went into it looking for. I absolutely fell for Irréelle in no time and was rooting for her and wishing for her wellbeing since the very beginning and following her journey was quite emotional. Additional yay for wha 3.5/5Such a wonderful, quirky, eerie little book! Dark, touching and just mysterious enough to keep you engaged, I think this one is definitely one that fans of Neil Gaiman's middlegrade-reading fans should be on the lookout for; it definitely gave me the Graveyard Book feels that I went into it looking for. I absolutely fell for Irréelle in no time and was rooting for her and wishing for her wellbeing since the very beginning and following her journey was quite emotional. Additional yay for what looks to me like a dyslexia friendly font!Will say that I do, however, feel like there was something missing, that je ne sais quoi ... I do feel like potentially having spent more time establishing the characters at the beginning may have made this a little bit better for me, but alas. Still would definitely recommend if you want some nice, well written spooky middlegrade!
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  • No One
    January 1, 1970
    Beautifully haunting and compelling book my heart was hooked from the first page. I honestly couldn’t get enough I hope the author writes more books like this in the future.
  • Paperbacks
    January 1, 1970
    Firstly I would like to say a huge thank you to Titan Books for sending me a copy of this book for review. The cover is beautifully creepy and eye catching, if I saw it in the bookshop it would probably be a cover buy! I’m not going to lie though, this was one hard book to get into, I just don’t think that the writing style was for me or it could be that it’s just different than what I’m used to reading, I’ll admit I had really got into the flow by about halfway through and was glad I stuck with Firstly I would like to say a huge thank you to Titan Books for sending me a copy of this book for review. The cover is beautifully creepy and eye catching, if I saw it in the bookshop it would probably be a cover buy! I’m not going to lie though, this was one hard book to get into, I just don’t think that the writing style was for me or it could be that it’s just different than what I’m used to reading, I’ll admit I had really got into the flow by about halfway through and was glad I stuck with it.The idea is wonderful and Irreelle is a character full of empathy. When we first meet her gathering bone dust, her care for the dead is respectful and touching and I liked how she found comfort and a whole new world of imagination underneath the graveyard. I think we can all identify with being so caught up in something that brings us joy that we forget our purpose. But for Irreelle that keeps on happening. There are a number of traditional middle grade themes running through the story with just the right amount of spooky dread, a healthy dose of friendship, learning to trust, and an intriguing mystery to solve. Sadly, there is a bittersweet feel throughout as Irreelle can’t be happy in the body she is in and she strives to be made real.Miss Vesper was a bit of an enigma, I actually kind of liked her as she didn’t really come across to me as truly evil. Portrayed very much the villain of the piece, she wasn’t as terrifying as I would expect given the nod to Grimm’s tales in the dedication, but then this is MG level so I think she’s on a par with what I would be ok with my daughter reading. She had a quiet desperation to her though and an infinite sadness coming through whilst she tries to create what she has lost through bone dust and imagination. Whilst I found “The Hand” nicely comic, it felt too much like Thing from the Addams Family for me which kind of detracted from the rest of the story, but for most MG readers it will feel like a new concept which works really well in the setting.Entirely character driven, there isn’t much scope for world building and what is there feels very muted, almost like watching a black and white movie, but that does open up for imagination which is such a pivotal focus of this book. The grey backdrop makes every sound seem like an echo, every creaking step or squeaking doorknob feel about to snap with tension. The small bursts of colour, like the flowers in Miss Vesper’s vase, are like paint drops on paper. The author does a great job of making every sense feel heightened through the bleakness.The Bone garden is an interesting read full of memorable characters. I found it enjoyable for the most part with a slow build up to an exciting finale.3.5
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  • Teresa Barrera
    January 1, 1970
    Irréelle is not quite real, as though she feels. She is tethered by a magical thread to her creator, Miss Vesper. With the need and desire to please Miss Vesper, Irréelle does her best collecting the bone dust, but she's is quite forgetful and slow at returning from the dark passages beneath the cemetery. After Irréelle makes the mistake of destroying the frightful creature Miss Vesper brought to life, Miss Vesper threatens to imagine Irréelle away out if existence.Defying her creator for the fi Irréelle is not quite real, as though she feels. She is tethered by a magical thread to her creator, Miss Vesper. With the need and desire to please Miss Vesper, Irréelle does her best collecting the bone dust, but she's is quite forgetful and slow at returning from the dark passages beneath the cemetery. After Irréelle makes the mistake of destroying the frightful creature Miss Vesper brought to life, Miss Vesper threatens to imagine Irréelle away out if existence.Defying her creator for the first time, Irréelle runs away and stumbles into a daring yet dangerous adventure that could very well end her existence.Once I started reading I was hooked. I couldn't put this book down. It had that gothic touch like you'd get from Tim Burton, Adam's Family, stories and creativity related. I loved the whole plot, the characters and the Bone Garden. I really felt for Irréelle and her struggles, but admired her bravery. I also enjoyed Guy and Lass. Definitely recommend this read!
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  • Kayleigh
    January 1, 1970
    The Bone Garden is described as ‘a spellbinding dark fantasy fable’ and that’s exactly how it feels from the beginning.There’s a dark, eerie atmosphere to the whole story and gives the feel of an original fairytale.Irréelle is a character that your route for. Although quite timid at first, she becomes brave and stubborn and will do whatever she needs to to keep her friends safe.I didn’t realise this book was middle grade before I started reading it but it definitely has an appeal for younger rea The Bone Garden is described as ‘a spellbinding dark fantasy fable’ and that’s exactly how it feels from the beginning.There’s a dark, eerie atmosphere to the whole story and gives the feel of an original fairytale.Irréelle is a character that your route for. Although quite timid at first, she becomes brave and stubborn and will do whatever she needs to to keep her friends safe.I didn’t realise this book was middle grade before I started reading it but it definitely has an appeal for younger readers wanting to read a spooky story!Thank you so much Titan Books for kindly sending me a copy to review.
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  • Maureen
    January 1, 1970
    This novel started out kind of slow but picked up steam as I read more. Miss Vesper has created a ghostly girl for reasons only she know. The girl, Irrelle, finds two other beings, Lass and Guy and they go on a quest to find something Miss Vesper desperately wants. Will they find it before Miss Vesper gets rid of them? Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to be an early reader in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Malayna Evans
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. What a fun page turner. I enjoyed everything about this book--the eerie seeing, the unique characters, the twisty plot. Great read.
  • Jess Redman
    January 1, 1970
    I adored this story. Suffused with an eerie Victorian Gothic feel, THE BONE GARDEN follows Irreelle, a girl created by the cold Miss Vesper. Irreelle is told that she is not truly real, that she could be magicked away with just a thought from Miss Vesper. In spite of this, Irreelle is deeply loyal to her creator and longs to be loved and accepted. This, she knows, would *make* her real.She is tasked with collecting bone dust from the catacombs beneath the house. This bone dust can be used to res I adored this story. Suffused with an eerie Victorian Gothic feel, THE BONE GARDEN follows Irreelle, a girl created by the cold Miss Vesper. Irreelle is told that she is not truly real, that she could be magicked away with just a thought from Miss Vesper. In spite of this, Irreelle is deeply loyal to her creator and longs to be loved and accepted. This, she knows, would *make* her real.She is tasked with collecting bone dust from the catacombs beneath the house. This bone dust can be used to restore youth and animate what is not alive. Irreelle does this faithfully...until she is no longer useful to Miss Vesper.This story features beautiful prose, dark humor, and delightfully macabre adventures for Irreelle and her friends Guy and Lass. It is a story about belonging and love and life and death that will stay with you and that young readers will absolutely eat up! Highly recommend!
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  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    Irréelle's time is initially spent below ground, carrying a candle to illuminate her way through the tunnels to extract bone dust, which is certainly creepy but not too scary. She's a dutiful girl, very eager to please. Other than the anger and contempt Miss Vesper shows her, she is in no true danger at first. Even Miss Vesper is not quite as scary as I thought she was going to be, although she certainly is unkind and cruel in her treatment of Irréelle. She can conjure up bats made from dust so Irréelle's time is initially spent below ground, carrying a candle to illuminate her way through the tunnels to extract bone dust, which is certainly creepy but not too scary. She's a dutiful girl, very eager to please. Other than the anger and contempt Miss Vesper shows her, she is in no true danger at first. Even Miss Vesper is not quite as scary as I thought she was going to be, although she certainly is unkind and cruel in her treatment of Irréelle. She can conjure up bats made from dust so probably best not to get on her bad side. There's an element of adventuring and mystery as the duo makes their way above ground and through the cemetery trying to figure out why Miss Vesper is so desperate to find this unmarked grave. Who's remains does it hold and what does she intend to do with them? Things also take an interesting turn when they run into an unexpected ally, a girl named Lass who's also been sent by Miss Vesper to search for the unmarked grave. And danger does come when they have a run-in with the watchman from the cemetery and are returned to Miss Vesper's clutches. It's within these moments that Irréelle's character shines, she acts boldly to save her friends and learns that she has the inner strength, and determination to resist being compelled to do what someone else wants. I really enjoyed her transformation and the way in which the story was resolved.
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  • Olivia
    January 1, 1970
    I received a digital ARC of this book from Netgalley. This is a wonderfully creepy, Tim-Burton-esque book. (There were elements of The Corpse Bride in it that I loved.) Not too scary for middle grade readers. I loved Irréelle's development over the course of the book, and the novel's overall message about the power of friendship. I have some issues with how this book portrayed abuse; Miss Vesper is a very Mother Gothel type character and the story is told through Irréelle's perspective so at the I received a digital ARC of this book from Netgalley. This is a wonderfully creepy, Tim-Burton-esque book. (There were elements of The Corpse Bride in it that I loved.) Not too scary for middle grade readers. I loved Irréelle's development over the course of the book, and the novel's overall message about the power of friendship. I have some issues with how this book portrayed abuse; Miss Vesper is a very Mother Gothel type character and the story is told through Irréelle's perspective so at the very beginning we see her (misplaced) devotion to Miss Vesper. I won't address that more due to spoilers, but I'm interested to see if I was the only one who wan't 100% happy with how that plot point was carried out. The illustrations are wonderful and creepy and really work to support the overall feel of the book. Perfect for budding horror fans who aren't quite ready to jump to darker works. (OR for kids who want to be creeped out but not scared.)
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