Publisher's Note:  

A haunting story of magic and myth, of one boy caught between worlds, and of the lengths he will travel to save those he loves.

"Dark, magical, and mysterious, Bone Jack captured me and carried me away." —Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medal-winning author of When You Reach Me and Goodbye Stranger

Times have been tough for Ash lately, and all he wants is for everything to go back to the way it used to be. Back before drought ruined the land and disease killed off the livestock. Before Ash’s father went off to war and returned carrying psychological scars. Before his best friend, Mark, started acting strangely.
As Ash trains for his town’s annual Stag Chase—a race rooted in violent, ancient lore—he’s certain that if he can win and make his father proud, life will return to normal. But the line between reality and illusion is rapidly blurring, and the past has a way of threatening the present.
When a run in the mountains brings Ash face-to-face with Bone Jack—a figure that guards the boundary between the living world and the dead—everything changes once more. As dark energies take root and the world as he knows it is upended, it’s up to Ash to restore things to their proper order and literally run for his life.

Praise for Bone Jack:

A 2015 Carnegie Medal nominee
A 2015 Branford Boase Award nominee

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Philomel

Bone Jack

by Sara Crowe

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Overall Review:  

The Stag Chase is a tradition that date backs to Roman Times in the small village of Thorneditch.  Each year boys compete to see who will be chosen as the Stag Boy and this year young Ash beat them all.  Proud, and convinced that the honor will help pull his father out of the darkness he has been engulfed by since returning from war, Ash trains to win.  But will the dark past of the Stag Run destroy him?

Bone Jack by Sara Crowe is a beautifully dark blend of fantasy and folklore.  Our main character, Ash, is a strong and determined young man struggling to make sense of the tragedies that have beset his family and community: drought, death, loss, and mental illness run rampant this summer.  The only thing that still makes sense to Ash is running and he won't let anything stop him from winning this year's race.  That is until his old best friend Mark, whose world has been turned upside down, threatens to kill him in an attempt to bring his father back from the dead.  

Review of an Advanced Reader's Copy

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  5 mild obscenities; 1 scatological word.

Violence/Gore:  Boy nearly falls off cliff; many references to disease that caused livestock to be slaughtered; several mildly graphic references to a man committing suicide; bird flies into boy; many ghostly images and encounters, some mildly violent; several references to parental death; references to the images of war; boy becomes sick, loses balance; many images of animal sacrifice (after the fact), skulls, feathers, etc.; several instances of boys getting in physical altercations; many instances of boy threatening to kill other boy; several references to historical human sacrifice; brief reference to witch hunts; family worries man might harm himself; boy trips on very sick dog; many scenes involving/referencing the supernatural; boy runs into tree; boy worries man is a serial killer; several references to boy killing birds; man destroys living room; tells story of nearly jumping from cliff; references to frogs run over by cars; several references to mutilated deer; boy attacked by group;  boy attacked with knife, ritualistic; a few references to elderly man in hospital; boy falls down hillside; boys fall off ledge, sustain various injuries; bird flies into window.


Mature Subject Matter:  

Mental illness, supernatural, rituals and sacrifice.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Adult parental figure drinks heavily.

Reviewed By Amberle
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