The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

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Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?

Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves

My Rating: ★★★★.5

Brief Review: The Bone Houses is the least of what you would expect and that’s probably for the best (unless you’re a big lover of post-apocalyptic-walking dead-type books). Simply put, I loved this book. From the very start, I didn’t want to stop reading. Emily has beautiful prose and witty banter and she can write a vivid fight scene (more important that one would imagine). Lastly, this book has so much heart, you’ll be invested in these characters until the very last page.

I went into this book with zero expectations, I didn’t even read much into what the book was about, just the overall gist and I came out of my reading experience with more than I could have ever asked for. While this is a book about zombies, it truly is so much more. This isn’t as spooky or scary as one would expect, but it touches on topics that are often scary for us to think about. Topics such as grief, loss, death, and acceptance, which is are topics I tend to lean toward in novels. There’s an emphasis on the idea of losing the ones we love and learning how to cope and go on with life, but also showcasing how we never truly move on from loss, we only move forward. Grief never ceases to exist as we continue to progress in life, it is a constant, but that doesn’t need to be seen as a negative and I think this story emphasizes this point well.

Another aspect of this story that I adored and never knew I wanted out of a book is the representation of chronic pain. One of the characters struggles through persistent chronic pain every day of their life and this isn’t something that goes unnoticed in the book if anything you feel their pain. Each time we are greeted with this character’s perspective they are struggling through day-to-day tasks that we take for granted. I appreciated this nuance.

Essentially, this book is magical folklore, and it is one of the best books I’ve read this year.

–Stephanie, Teen LTA