The Bone Garden by Heather Kassner

On this week’s episode of My Burn Book, I present…

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction

My Rating: ⭐⭐ – DNF @ chapter 10

I haven’t read any middle grade horror since I was a kid, so I was really looking forward to reading this with Jonny from Jaunts & Haunts.

It’s always a blast chatting with Jonny, but we both agreed that this book was a dud.

Here’s how our convo went down:

Jonny: So, that book just happened. *cringe* Thanks for chatting it up with me on Insta and making me feel less crazy when I started not liking it. I had to really push to finish this one.

Gigi: Jonny (side note: do you prefer Jonny?), you were way nicer than I was. I’ll be honest, since it was our first time reading together. I was treading lightly at first. But let’s be real. The book was boring! Hats off to you for seeing it through. I only made it to chapter 10 before DNF-ing. Womp womp.

Jonny: Yeah, I go by Jonny. Only my mom calls me Jonathan, and that’s usually when she’s upset with me.

I try to see the best in the books I read, but sometimes even that’s a stretch. This is definitely one of those times.
I can’t agree with you more. Through the whole thing, I never really felt anything. Usually, certain things in a book will move me, will inspire some kind of emotion, but I was just flatlined the whole time. Do not resuscitate! I don’t blame you for DNF’ing, I almost did several times, like where is this all going?

Is there anything that worked for you despite dropping it?

Gigi: Actually, there were a few things I liked a out the book:

– Loved the setting! The cemetery, the skeletons, that’s a winner right there.

-The characters. Irrelle & Miss Vesper were great characters in the making. Just the actual storytelling fell flat.

-The premise. I loved the whole idea of Irrelle being created from bone dust. The synopsis made it sound like Irrelle becomes defiant and destroys Miss Vesper’s new creation on purpose. But that’s not what actually happened. Or did I miss something?

*sigh* this one had so much potential.

Jonny: Good points. I really enjoyed the ambience too. Anything spooky is right up my alley, and the magic aspect was interesting. Bone magic? Very cool! Unfortunately it really didn’t pan out well. Setting and concept can only get you so far if it isn’t cohesive and executed well.
Oh, Irreele kind of ‘tried’ to be defiant, but she was really meek and rarely followed through on her thoughts. While she was abused and that was definitely a deterrent for her to lash out, in much of the book there’s nothing really stopping her from acting out, just her cowardice. I wasn’t buying it.

What character would you say was most believable?

I liked Guy because his personality stood out. He was emotional, didn’t like Miss Vesper, and didn’t hide it in his actions either. I wish Irreele would’ve taken bravery from him as well as Lass and step up for herself.

Gigi: Because I DNF’d, I never really had a chance to meet Guy or Lass. I completely agree on following through on Irreele’s thoughts. I kept wanting her to grow some balls so to speak.

I actually thought Miss Vesper’s character was done very well. For me, she was very believable and a good villain in my opinion.

Jonny: Oh, that’s right. I forgot exactly how slow the beginning was. Goodness!

I agree with you. For the most part, Miss Vesper’s character was stable throughout. Cold, merciless, two-faced. Definitely a good villain, though in spots later she did betray her character a bit (trying to keep it spoiler free is so hard!).

Well, I’m sorry this one didn’t pan out as we’d hoped, but there’s plenty of books out there, and I’m excited about the next ones we’re considering. Thanks so much for being my reading buddy. We have a lot of great stories ahead of us!

Gigi: I know. I had high hopes walking into this one! Too bad it didn’t work out. Oh well… there will be others and I’m looking forward to reading more books with you!! Xo.

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