Not Even Bones (Not Even Bones, #1)by Rebecca Schaeffer
Published on September 4, 2018
by HMH Books for Young Readers
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Paranormal, Young Adult
Source: Amazon Vine
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Dexter meets This Savage Song in this dark fantasy about a girl who sells magical body parts on the black market — until she’s betrayed. Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” Until her mom brings home a live specimen and Nita decides she wants out; dissecting a scared teenage boy is a step too far. But when she decides to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold in his place—because Nita herself isn’t exactly “human.” She has the ability to alter her biology, a talent that is priceless on the black market. Now on the other side of the bars, if she wants to escape, Nita must ask herself if she’s willing to become the worst kind of monster.
Well, now. I’ve been waiting for Not Even Bones for a year, because it had all the makings of the dark, twisty tales I enjoy. Color me surprised when it turned out to be all this and more. This book is DARK–abyss dark, like there is no trace of light to be found anywhere dark. It made my stomach roil and my hand fly to my mouth in shock so many times. The Content Warning for it is a bright neon sign.
I loved this book.
If I haven’t put you off to it yet, here what’s you can expect from Not Even Bones:
Complex world building. This is an alternate world populated by unnaturals, mythical and supernatural beings. Not only does this world challenge what people know about unnaturals, but also how they treat them. Certain creatures are categorized as dangerous, but does that make it any more justifiable trying to terminate them than a non-threatening one? Issues of oppression and entitlement are also explored, especially with how people interact in other countries. It’s a fascinating way of talking about current issues in an alternate place.
Nebulous gray characters. Everyone does things that are not for the faint of heart. Nita, our main character, is involved with serious illegal activity concerning unnaturals. Her mom has no qualms in getting her hands dirty. When Nita has to fend for her life when she’s taken to a black market, it’s as oppressive and dangerous as the jungle it’s in. No one thinks twice about taking. Not everyone is entirely bad, but they’re definitely not good either.
This book is not afraid to push boundaries. Doing the right thing can have serious consequences. Doing the worst thing is just something one has to do. Nita has to do things that, in another book, would get tossed to a character we’re supposed to dislike to preserve Nita as a sympathetic character. But this book does not do that. It’s unapologetic about it. She has to act. Also, that ending leaves many possibilities. While not exactly what some readers will expect, this reader appreciated the change.
Those looking for a YA fantasy that is unflinching and extremely dark can find this and more in Not Even Bones.