Hot Best Seller

The Bone Garden

Availability: Ready to download

“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 dar “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.


Compare

“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 dar “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.

30 review for The Bone Garden

  1. 5 out of 5

    Toni

    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, he 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.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Greendale

    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.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lily ☁️

    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, shou 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’

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kai

    All I want is for this to become a stop motion horror film á la Coraline. I knew from the very first page that The Bone Garden was going to be special. It immediately pulled me into a sinister world of dark magic, evil caretakers, and cemeteries brimming with shadows. The first few chapters set a hair-raising atmosphere, one that I hoped would be maintained until the final pages, but feared that it would crumble sooner than later. And I wasn't wrong. I loved the idea, the characters, t All I want is for this to become a stop motion horror film á la Coraline. I knew from the very first page that The Bone Garden was going to be special. It immediately pulled me into a sinister world of dark magic, evil caretakers, and cemeteries brimming with shadows. The first few chapters set a hair-raising atmosphere, one that I hoped would be maintained until the final pages, but feared that it would crumble sooner than later. And I wasn't wrong. I loved the idea, the characters, the setting, the tone. But I didn't love the execution. It got messy. The plot went sideways and was all over the place. I can't even tell you how often the main characters went running, got caught, were locked into a room or cupboard, escaped, just to get caught again. Sometimes I also felt like the story's central questions were solved too easily without significant clues or evidence. The answer to a problem came too easily without any misdirection, making the plot easily predictable. Overall a promising idea in need of more polishing. Mehr davon gibt's auf Instagram

  5. 4 out of 5

    Aly (In Wonderland)

    “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, an “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!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle Byrne

    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.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joan He

    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.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amélie Zhao

    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 an 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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Coon

    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!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    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'

  11. 4 out of 5

    Toya

    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 hear 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

  12. 4 out of 5

    Museofnyxmares

    *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 t *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.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joanna Meyer

    Lovely, lyrical, and creepy, but in a cozy kind of way. 🖤🖤🖤

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jenni

    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 writin 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.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Katie Zhao

    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!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Gita Trelease

    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.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jodie Lynn Zdrok

    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 crue 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.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gabriela Pop

    3.5/5 Such 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 f 3.5/5 Such 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!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne

    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!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ellie (faerieontheshelf)

    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

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lillian Clark

    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.

  22. 4 out of 5

    No One

    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.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kate (beautifulbookland)

    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 i 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.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Addie Thorley

    This book is SO delightful! It's creepy and whimsical with some of the most gorgeous writing I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Kassner's descriptions paint such vivid pictures that really bring Miss Vesper's house and both the under and over side of the graveyard to life. The fabulous characters absolutely leap off the page. I adored Irreelle and her group of bone-and-dust misfits, and I was ardently cheering them on as they learned to love and trust in themselves and each other. And THE This book is SO delightful! It's creepy and whimsical with some of the most gorgeous writing I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Kassner's descriptions paint such vivid pictures that really bring Miss Vesper's house and both the under and over side of the graveyard to life. The fabulous characters absolutely leap off the page. I adored Irreelle and her group of bone-and-dust misfits, and I was ardently cheering them on as they learned to love and trust in themselves and each other. And THE HAND!!! It may have been my very favorite part of the book. This story is dark, atmospheric, and utterly enchanting. I cannot recommend it highly enough for readers young and old!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa

    Was this book somehow written just for me? It has everything I love: magic, mystery, a sentient hand (!), friendship, and an utterly ghoulish atmosphere. Heather Kassner does such a remarkable job of balancing the spookiness of the story with heartfelt characters and deep sadness with great hope. Irréelle is a sweet and enchanting heroine that you'll want to follow into the dark and out the other side into the light. An imaginative and original fairy tale!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mila

    3,5 stars This book had a ton of original and creepy ideas plus the writing was beautiful but the execution was lacking in a lot of ways. The characters weren't very developed and the plot was agonizingly slow sometimes for such a short book. Overall, it was worth a try but I'm still a bit diappointed.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kelly deVos

    A richly plotted fantasy perfect for fans of Coraline and Tim Burton. The writing here has a special, almost ornate feel and I feel in love with Irréelle from the first page. This is a stunning debut that also includes gorgeous illustrations.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Gemma

    I was gifted a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for review. When I requested a copy of this one from the publisher I wasn't aware it was a middle grade story. I was just really drawn in by the synopsis but it being a middle grade I think really aided in my enjoyment. It fit really well with the story and the author did a great job at making it appeal to both children and adults. I really enjoyed this story. It was quite macabre and the opening chapter was quite eerie but it wasn' I was gifted a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for review. When I requested a copy of this one from the publisher I wasn't aware it was a middle grade story. I was just really drawn in by the synopsis but it being a middle grade I think really aided in my enjoyment. It fit really well with the story and the author did a great job at making it appeal to both children and adults. I really enjoyed this story. It was quite macabre and the opening chapter was quite eerie but it wasn't scary per say. I loved the fantastical and magical feeling that came with this story as it developed and I think this did a great job at balancing out the macabre and in turn making it a great story for children. I really liked the writing style too. It was quite descriptive but not so much to throw you off the story. It read very much like a fairytale and this was definitely the overall tone and feel of the story. It was a fairly quick read and it kept me invested throughout. The characters were sweet too. Within this book there are themes of friendship running through out and it was nice to see this develop with our main character. The feeling of loneliness and not being good enough that she felt at the beginning was challenged as the story progressed and we ended up with some lovely friendships between our characters. Irreelle also learnt to accept herself for who she was by the end which was nice. As a character Irreelle started out as quite timid and shy, wanting to please Miss Vesper, who we find out isn't the nicest of people. She develops over the course of the novel into a strong and independent person, realising the life she had isn't necessarily the most positive and she does things to change that. I think these are some great topics and themes to explore with children. Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was a little bit unexpected, being a middle grade, but that was definitely a good thing. I loved the magical and fantastical feel of this story but with that added extra macabre to keep it interesting.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Paperbacks

    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

  30. 4 out of 5

    Teresa Barrera

    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 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!

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.