Jan 28 2009 12:03pm

New YA Fantasy: Bones of Faerie

Janni Lee Simner’s first young adult book, Bones of Faerie, has a haunting first chapter—you can read it here—that warns readers right away about the dark places the book will go. For all that protective parents worry about what their kids are reading, this is my favorite kind of YA book both now and when I was in middle school. Simner’s 15-year-old heroine Liza encounters major obstacles and works her way around them with the help of a faithful animal companion, a longtime-acquaintance turned friend and some interesting strangers who have more to them than meets the eye. Part post-apocalyptic adventure tale and part folklore, Bones of Faerie is definitely built on familiar ground, until the ground sprouts vines that try to eat you.

The book opens with Liza’s baby sister dead and her mother missing, events that have shaken Liza deeply and are about to provoke her journey, but even things that are commonplace to her are compelling to someone just entering her world. Before Liza was born, a war between humans and Faerie left both sides changed forever. Now, in what was once Missouri, plants kill unwary people and all technology is gone. Liza’s village, headed by her controlling father, fights the magic left in the world, but as Liza meets strangers and learns more about her own mother, assumption after fearful assumption is questioned. It’s not easy on Liza at all; part of what makes Bones of Faerie such a compelling read is that that Simner completely inhabits Liza’s point of view, and her constant wariness and her confusion and anger at generosity give the book an emotional punch. We watch from inside Liza as she grows up and faces the tragedies of her sister and both her parents, not lightly but with resolve. I also appreciated Simner’s subtly lyrical prose, something often neglected or horribly overdone in YA books—heck, in all books.  The plot twists made me turn back to previous chapters and go, “yup…” or “aha!” It’s a fairly quick read, at 247 pages, inventive, well-crafted and even fun.

With many thanks to Janni Lee Simner’s publicist at Random House, Meg O’Brien, we have five signed hardcover copies of Bones of Faerie to give away! The first five comments requesting a copy get one. It’s as easy as that, although you do have to be willing to send your snail-mail address to megan -dot- messinger at the domain so we can mail you the goods. And if you’re not one of those five, you can still head over to Coyote Wild Magazine and read the full text of “Invasive Species,” a short story set in the world of Bones of Faerie but in its Arizona; watch out for those man-eating jackrabbits and the killer cacti. Oh, and “Don't touch any stone that glows with faerie light, or that light will burn you fiercer than any fire. Don’t venture out alone into the dark, or the darkness will swallow you whole. And cast out the magic born among you, before it can turn on its parents.”

Jordan Hamessley
1. Jordache
I would dig a copy. I've been reading an excessive amount of YA lately.
2. MikiM
It can't be that easy, can it? Although the description makes me want to read it in any case!
3. Mary Frances
Okay. Frankly, I was already requesting the book on my library website before I finished reading your review . . .
5. dwndrgn
Please may I have a copy??!!
Eugene Myers
8. ecmyers
Hmm. Just when I was getting tired of faeries in YA fiction, something fresh comes along. I'll have to check this out.

Please give me a copy. I would like to point out that there were only two actual requests for free books in the first six comments. Yes, I'm a stickler for rules--especially if they work in my favor.
Garett Harnish
9. garett
Just my luck ;)

In any case, I decided to look to see if I could find this book. I had the impression that it has been out for a while from the review. It surprised me greatly when I discovered it was released yesterday.

The first chapter has me hooked, so I'll have to track down my own copy, which appears to be another paper copy.

I still can't figure out the cost of eBooks. On mobipocket and other retailers, it costs $16.99 USD. On amazon, a physical copy will run one $12.49 USD and the kindle version (which is essentially the same one as is over on mobipocket, since mobipocket is owned by amazon and the format is identical, but they won't sell for iLiad) will run one $9.99 USD.

It really doesn't make any sense.

Anywho, thanks for the suggestion.

@ecmyers: Technically three asked for a copy. #2 and #3 didn't specifically request one, but reading their comments implies that they wanted a copy. Since the rules didn't specify "say these magic words to get a copy," I'm afraid you're out of like. Like I am. I want a signed copy, even if it's dead tree. :(
10. Lee Whiteside
Janni will be doing a signing at The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, AZ on Feb 7th if you missed out on the freebies and would like to get a signed copy.
Kate Nepveu
11. katenepveu
Thanks for reminding me that this was coming out.
Garett Harnish
12. garett
I really enjoyed the short story linked. It bodes well for the book I must now track down.
eric orchard
13. orchard
I ordered a copy before I was done reading this post. sounds awesome! I'm always arguing with people about how amazing YA books are. so many hidden gems there. Thanks for the post!
Carl Rigney
14. cdr
Thanks for pointing this book out. The first chapter was very intriguing, so I just ordered a copy.
Megan Messinger
15. thumbelinablues
orchard @ 13 I'm always in that argument, too! ACK. Weren't those people ever YA readers themselves? Sometimes you can't win, though; that's when I flee back to my YA-reading friends and we huddle under the covers and read Tamora Pierce until we feel better. :-P I'm so glad there are a lot of YA lovers on, and I'd love to keep talking about new YA releases.

Also, congrats to Jordache, MikiM, Mary Frances, arkessian, and dwndrgn!
16. DW Golden
I love anything with fairies in it!

DW Golden
Soar with Fairies in Purple Butterflies, a new young adult novel now available at
Carl Rigney
17. cdr
And now I've finished reading it, and loved it. The promise of the first chapter was more than fulfilled. Many thanks for recommending it!

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