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Every Bone a Prayer

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The Lovely Bones meets Where the Crawdads Sing in this remarkable, magical debut set in Appalachia. Recommended by NPR, Buzzfeed, The Millions, Good Housekeeping, Bustle, POPSUGAR, and more, and praised by Dorothy Allison, Kiese Laymon, Kim Michele Richardson, Alix E. Harrow, Kat Howard, Sam J. Miller, Silas House, and others! In her rural Appalachian holler, ten-year-old Mi The Lovely Bones meets Where the Crawdads Sing in this remarkable, magical debut set in Appalachia. Recommended by NPR, Buzzfeed, The Millions, Good Housekeeping, Bustle, POPSUGAR, and more, and praised by Dorothy Allison, Kiese Laymon, Kim Michele Richardson, Alix E. Harrow, Kat Howard, Sam J. Miller, Silas House, and others! In her rural Appalachian holler, ten-year-old Misty's closest friends are the crawdads. Misty can speak to them, to the birds, to the creek, to everything outside, and she understands how they think. She knows that if she could just speak to her parents in the same way, she could stop all the fighting. But it's too hard. Strange things start to happen in the holler. When her friend William takes their friendship too far, Misty's need to connect is greater than ever, but it's hard to talk about what you don't understand. This is the story of one tough-as-nails girl whose choices are few but whose imagination is boundless, as her coping becomes a battle cry for everyone around her—a beautifully honest exploration of healing and hope.


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The Lovely Bones meets Where the Crawdads Sing in this remarkable, magical debut set in Appalachia. Recommended by NPR, Buzzfeed, The Millions, Good Housekeeping, Bustle, POPSUGAR, and more, and praised by Dorothy Allison, Kiese Laymon, Kim Michele Richardson, Alix E. Harrow, Kat Howard, Sam J. Miller, Silas House, and others! In her rural Appalachian holler, ten-year-old Mi The Lovely Bones meets Where the Crawdads Sing in this remarkable, magical debut set in Appalachia. Recommended by NPR, Buzzfeed, The Millions, Good Housekeeping, Bustle, POPSUGAR, and more, and praised by Dorothy Allison, Kiese Laymon, Kim Michele Richardson, Alix E. Harrow, Kat Howard, Sam J. Miller, Silas House, and others! In her rural Appalachian holler, ten-year-old Misty's closest friends are the crawdads. Misty can speak to them, to the birds, to the creek, to everything outside, and she understands how they think. She knows that if she could just speak to her parents in the same way, she could stop all the fighting. But it's too hard. Strange things start to happen in the holler. When her friend William takes their friendship too far, Misty's need to connect is greater than ever, but it's hard to talk about what you don't understand. This is the story of one tough-as-nails girl whose choices are few but whose imagination is boundless, as her coping becomes a battle cry for everyone around her—a beautifully honest exploration of healing and hope.

30 review for Every Bone a Prayer

  1. 4 out of 5

    Angela M

    When I read the author’s note to the reader at the beginning of this book, I thought about putting it aside. She tells you exactly what to expect : “depictions of sexual abuse between children, domestic violence, emotional abuse ...” Blooms tells you it’s okay if you “need to set the book aside”. I didn’t set it aside because she also says “I wanted to write a story about what comes after the hurt —how we find a way back to each other and to ourselves.” It’s unsettling from the beginning, sad at When I read the author’s note to the reader at the beginning of this book, I thought about putting it aside. She tells you exactly what to expect : “depictions of sexual abuse between children, domestic violence, emotional abuse ...” Blooms tells you it’s okay if you “need to set the book aside”. I didn’t set it aside because she also says “I wanted to write a story about what comes after the hurt —how we find a way back to each other and to ourselves.” It’s unsettling from the beginning, sad at once and a little eerie. Misty had a “gift” or a “power” that allowed her to speak to the nature around her beginning with the crawdads, and they speak to her - not with spoken words but words from within, as she speaks to them. She can take on their pain, their life in a way, as they do hers and as the story progresses, I felt her pain, too. This is definitely one where you have to suspend your disbelief. I would have called it magical realism for those things and the more eerie things to come, but I read an interview with the author to try and better understand what I had just read. She says: “I consider my work as belonging more to fabulism or slipstream than magical realism due to the latter’s history. It’s my understanding that literary magical realism was originated by Latin American authors who often used the genre as a tool of subversion against colonization. I don’t share that background, so magical realism doesn’t feel like the appropriate genre, although others might disagree. “ https://booktrib.com/2020/08/04/dark-... I had to look up slipstream. “Slipstream is a kind of fantastic or non-realistic fiction that crosses conventional genre boundaries between science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction. The term was coined by cyberpunk author Bruce Sterling in an article originally published in SF Eye #5, in July 1989.” (Wikipedia) Therein lies my reservation about the book. I had a difficult time with the genre, but in spite of this, Misty stole my heart. At first, my rating was 3.5 stars rounded up, but then I woke up yesterday thinking of Misty and how the author made me connect with her and want so much for her - to heal and find a way of communicating with the people around her, especially her sister, Penny. I decided that I would have to give it a solid 4 stars, for how deeply I was affected by the story. I’m not going to say any more about it because there are book descriptions and other reviews to do that. I’ll only say that in spite of my difficulties with the telling, I was moved. I received a copy of this book from Sourcebooks Landmark through Edelweiss.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    When I saw that Leah Weiss, author of If the Creek Don’t Rise Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard out of Carolina, as well as Silas House, author of some of my favourite books Clay’s Quilt, Southernmost, A Parchment of Leaves and others, including Michele Richardson, author of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek had all praised this book, I added it without hesitation. When I began reading this, or perhaps before I read the story but had opened the book to A Word from the Author and paused for ju When I saw that Leah Weiss, author of If the Creek Don’t Rise Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard out of Carolina, as well as Silas House, author of some of my favourite books Clay’s Quilt, Southernmost, A Parchment of Leaves and others, including Michele Richardson, author of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek had all praised this book, I added it without hesitation. When I began reading this, or perhaps before I read the story but had opened the book to A Word from the Author and paused for just a moment after reading it. This is, was, a tough story to read, filled with trauma, but also with wonderful, endearing characters – particularly the main character, Misty, a ten-year-old girl who I adored, and rooted for – as well as some hauntingly beautiful imagery, and magically infused southern lore. Set in the hollers in the Appalachian Mountains, Misty seems to be the most at peace when she’s in nature, communing with the crawdads in the creek near the trailer where she lives with her parents and sister. Their parents seem to be fighting more lately, and this day is no different. Misty’s older sister, Penny, is focused on the things that are changing, especially the changes they’ve seen in their yard. Unusual, sculpture-like objects appear to be growing in their yard. Needless to say, this creates quite a stir in their small community. People gather to discuss the evil nature of these sculptures, and as time passes, another one appears. Meanwhile, Misty seems to be disappearing into herself, afraid of leaving her room, and afraid of being in her room with her sister, who seems of late to be even more ill-tempered than usual. Heartbreaking at times, with moments of beauty, this story wasn’t always easy to read. As in If the Creek Don’t Rise, there were moments of cruelty, darkness, abuse, but I placed my trust in the moments of beauty, and I’m glad that that I did. Pub Date: 04 Aug 2020 Many thanks for the ARC provided by SOURCEBOOKS Landmark

  3. 5 out of 5

    DeAnn

    4.5 heartbreaking stars (rounded up) I’m still thinking about this book weeks after I’ve read it. It’s a tricky one to review because I want to do it justice and share my thoughts without giving too much away. This one is about Misty, a 10-year-old who can commune with nature – she can talk to animals and she’s got a special affinity for crawdads. She lives in a holler in Appalachia and things can be a bit rough with family, including her older sister. I’m debating if this one would be considered 4.5 heartbreaking stars (rounded up) I’m still thinking about this book weeks after I’ve read it. It’s a tricky one to review because I want to do it justice and share my thoughts without giving too much away. This one is about Misty, a 10-year-old who can commune with nature – she can talk to animals and she’s got a special affinity for crawdads. She lives in a holler in Appalachia and things can be a bit rough with family, including her older sister. I’m debating if this one would be considered magical realism, but Misty seems to have some special gifts. Her best friend William lives next door, but one day he corners her in the barn and takes things too far. Misty doesn’t think she can talk to anyone about what is going on and she wants to crawl out of her skin. Strange things start growing in their neighbor’s garden and soon it is the talk of the town with town folk coming to check out the glass objects pushing up out of the earth. Misty is one tough and resilient girl and I rooted for her throughout this book. While it isn’t an easy book to read, it is worthy of your time and hopefully healing. If you are a fan of “Where the Crawdads Sing” I think you would like this one. Trigger: sexual abuse Thank you to BookBrowse for the complimentary copy of this one. I can't wait to discuss this one with other readers!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    Every Bone A Prayer is heartbreaking yet beautiful, haunting yet so very uplifting. It's the story of trauma, about healing and breaking free. I absolutely adore the main character, Misty. Such a powerful force despite everything she's going through. I really got a feel for who she was, her struggles and triumphs ... her character was so well written. This book is so unique and it's hard to put into words. I was completely immersed in this magical story. Huge thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for Every Bone A Prayer is heartbreaking yet beautiful, haunting yet so very uplifting. It's the story of trauma, about healing and breaking free. I absolutely adore the main character, Misty. Such a powerful force despite everything she's going through. I really got a feel for who she was, her struggles and triumphs ... her character was so well written. This book is so unique and it's hard to put into words. I was completely immersed in this magical story. Huge thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for my review copy!!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Diana • Book of Secrets

    When I saw this book was compared to Where the Crawdads Sing I jumped at the chance to read it. Unfortunately, it's a DNF for me after the first few chapters. Minority opinion here — EVERY BONE A PRAYER is very heavy on the magical realism to the point of being silly. Usually I enjoy that element, but this time it was too much. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book. When I saw this book was compared to Where the Crawdads Sing I jumped at the chance to read it. Unfortunately, it's a DNF for me after the first few chapters. Minority opinion here — EVERY BONE A PRAYER is very heavy on the magical realism to the point of being silly. Usually I enjoy that element, but this time it was too much. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alix Harrow

    There's something about this book that feels like a story I've heard before. A wives'-tale from my mammy in Lawrence County, a ghost-story from my great-aunt. It's a story we've all heard before, about wounded women, about girls who want so badly to crawl out of their skins that they finally do. But this story is also about what comes next--how we heal, and what it costs. It's hard. It's honest. I loved it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kim Richardson

    Readers will adore ten-year-old Misty! Haunting and healing, Every Bone A Prayer is a powerful debut that will leave its mark on readers' hearts.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    It is hard for me to say enough about this book. It is gorgeous and heartbreaking, atmospheric and hopeful. Set in the rural Appalachian hollers we so rarely see in literature, this is a story about the things that happen, the marks they leave, and the way they change us.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Ward

    How can you create a review of Ashley Blooms' debut fiction title "Every Bone a Prayer," when it guts you of all memory of words? I have never read a book like this before, and I wish I could re-read it "for the first time" every time I'll read it again, just so that I can re-live these heart-wrenching feelings the book has instilled in me even days later after finishing it. This a speculative fiction/magical realism fiction novel about a special young girl living in a holler in the Appalachian m How can you create a review of Ashley Blooms' debut fiction title "Every Bone a Prayer," when it guts you of all memory of words? I have never read a book like this before, and I wish I could re-read it "for the first time" every time I'll read it again, just so that I can re-live these heart-wrenching feelings the book has instilled in me even days later after finishing it. This a speculative fiction/magical realism fiction novel about a special young girl living in a holler in the Appalachian mountains in eastern Kentucky, who has the ability to "speak" to the living and non-living things around her in her holler, like the crawdads in her favorite creek or the walls of the trailer she lives in with her mom and older sister. Every thing Misty talks to has its own story to share, and even though horrific, traumatic things happen to Misty throughout her own story, each and every word is woven together into a lyrical treasure. Blooms' lyrical style of writing may be a little different for readers to get used to at first, but once the book has you in its hands, it refuses to let you go, and just like the crawdads in Misty's creek, this book will make you feel as if you're molting and growing right alongside with Misty and her family. If you're a fan of Haruki Murakami's magical realism style, this book will fit you like a perfect glove. As a native of eastern Kentucky, reading the representation of Appalachia and rural Kentucky life in this book was like a fresh breath of much-needed air. Anyone who has ever lived in or near the mountains of eastern Kentucky will be able to identify with the special landscape in this book, and the poverty and relentless hope that comes with this land. The cast of characters touch on real-world issues, and the underlying cord of agency and feminism binding all of the women and male characters together brings to light problems persistent in Appalachia that many readers outside of the mountains might be less aware of. This is a book about hurt and hope, and you feel it so strongly in Misty's story that when the book is over, you can still feel those twin feelings sitting heavy in your skin and bones. There's an element of horror in this novel that was so chilling I had to set the book down every other day while reading, just so that I could process what I was feeling and bring myself back to reality, despite being haunted by its story when I wasn't reading it. The grim undertones were written so well and so beautifully, that it was like watching flowers bloom out of a freshly tilled grave. This is a book that will leave its mark on me for the rest of my life, and I feel as if every reader who finishes this book will go to sleep each night with a small part of Blooms' heart held close to them.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Johnna Whetstone

    Holy cow, this was one heck of an emotional roller coaster ride! It’s so realistic and well written. The character development was beautifully done and really had me in heart wrenching pain at times. I do think some with triggers may need to step away, because it’s a hard book to read, but was done in a way that made me need to finish it. Beautiful, soul crushing, and much more, highly, highly recommend! Grab a copy ASAP! I’ll make sure to buzz it up on the platforms and use low reviewer number Holy cow, this was one heck of an emotional roller coaster ride! It’s so realistic and well written. The character development was beautifully done and really had me in heart wrenching pain at times. I do think some with triggers may need to step away, because it’s a hard book to read, but was done in a way that made me need to finish it. Beautiful, soul crushing, and much more, highly, highly recommend! Grab a copy ASAP! I’ll make sure to buzz it up on the platforms and use low reviewer number on amazon on release day!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dawnny

    Set in the Appalachian mountains. The story of ten-year-old Misty. Misty has a gift of being able to hear and speak to things. The birds, the trees, she understands them. What Misty doesn't understand is people. While her sister is focused on the strange things growing in their yard, Misty is trying to understand why her friend William is hurting her in ways she doesn't understand. I love southern fiction, this was gritty and breathtaking, emotional and heartbreaking. Well written and lyrical. I Set in the Appalachian mountains. The story of ten-year-old Misty. Misty has a gift of being able to hear and speak to things. The birds, the trees, she understands them. What Misty doesn't understand is people. While her sister is focused on the strange things growing in their yard, Misty is trying to understand why her friend William is hurting her in ways she doesn't understand. I love southern fiction, this was gritty and breathtaking, emotional and heartbreaking. Well written and lyrical. It held me from the first page. A great book for book clubs. Dawnny Ruby Novels N Latte Hudson Valley NY

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tracy (The Pages In-Between)

    This was heart breaking, and beautiful. I can appreciate the manor of which of how Misty dealt with her trauma. But, the magical realism aspect of it wasn't my favorite. Do not get me wrong, it's beautifully written, I just found myself struggling to read through some parts. Also, I loved that the Author included a note to readers about the trigger warnings in this book, while I appreciated it, it also made me very apprehensive to read it. The child on child sexual abuse pushed my comfort level, This was heart breaking, and beautiful. I can appreciate the manor of which of how Misty dealt with her trauma. But, the magical realism aspect of it wasn't my favorite. Do not get me wrong, it's beautifully written, I just found myself struggling to read through some parts. Also, I loved that the Author included a note to readers about the trigger warnings in this book, while I appreciated it, it also made me very apprehensive to read it. The child on child sexual abuse pushed my comfort level, and it was pretty hard for me to stomach.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Cried my eyes out finishing this on my porch yesterday. Gorgeous prose, deeply moving, told with honor and grace and courage. Absolutely stunning.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    This book is supposed to be magical realism. Misty, 10 years old is growing up in a family in an Appalachian holler. She is special as she talks to animals and especially crawdads. If they share their name's they can communicate. William is taking her into the barn and doing things she doesn't want him to do. When William plants a bottle in Earl's garden, the bottle grows into a big green, unbreakable statue. Most of this book is ridiculous and I don't understand the high scores on the reviews. This book is supposed to be magical realism. Misty, 10 years old is growing up in a family in an Appalachian holler. She is special as she talks to animals and especially crawdads. If they share their name's they can communicate. William is taking her into the barn and doing things she doesn't want him to do. When William plants a bottle in Earl's garden, the bottle grows into a big green, unbreakable statue. Most of this book is ridiculous and I don't understand the high scores on the reviews. The author is a good writer, with wonderful descriptive passages. The story just does not make sense.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

    “She learned that everything had a name. Not the name that most people knew them by, but something different, an underneath name made of sounds and memories and feelings, a name that shifted and grew and evolved.” Lyrical and mystical, Every Bone a Prayer is a brutal and honest look at 10-year-old Misty’s struggle against a soul-crushing trauma in the rural Appalachian holler where she lives with her mother and older sister. This book is unlike any book I’ve ever read; it is a disturbing stor “She learned that everything had a name. Not the name that most people knew them by, but something different, an underneath name made of sounds and memories and feelings, a name that shifted and grew and evolved.” Lyrical and mystical, Every Bone a Prayer is a brutal and honest look at 10-year-old Misty’s struggle against a soul-crushing trauma in the rural Appalachian holler where she lives with her mother and older sister. This book is unlike any book I’ve ever read; it is a disturbing story but the author has steeped it with magical realism and old mountain folklore that is written so eloquently that every sentence resonated with me on a deeply emotional level. Misty is a character that I won’t soon forget, wise beyond her years, she is both wounded and strong and forever imbedded in my heart. “She’ll wish for those years of forgetting, wish for a time when she didn’t remember her body like this. But the memories will keep surfacing in dreams and in shudders.” While the story has heartache within its pages, I also found an equal amount of joy. Ms. Blooms seemed able to capture me at every moment, whispering to my soul like Misty’s crawdads in the creek or the tree’s that told stories in their deep gentle voices. This is not an easy story to read, there is abuse and violence but there is also love and light to be found, too.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Linda Quinn

    Misty's world is falling apart. Her parents are separating, her sister has no time for her and her best friend becomes her abuser. This beautifully written book tells the story of Misty's fight to survive, to heal and to grow as she learns to let the people who love her back in to help. Her strength is inspiring and very reminiscent of Kya in Where the Crawdads Sing.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    This is the exact book I wanted when I set out to read "Where the Crawdads Sing"! It features a young girl as the main character who can actually speak with things in nature. This magical realism element made this book so captivating to me. Blooms has an amazing style of writing that creates these gorgeous images for the reader, so they can really be sucked into the story. There was one element of this book that I found particularly interesting - it starts out with an author's note where Blooms n This is the exact book I wanted when I set out to read "Where the Crawdads Sing"! It features a young girl as the main character who can actually speak with things in nature. This magical realism element made this book so captivating to me. Blooms has an amazing style of writing that creates these gorgeous images for the reader, so they can really be sucked into the story. There was one element of this book that I found particularly interesting - it starts out with an author's note where Blooms notes that some aspects of the story can be triggering because of descriptions of abuse and other trauma. She offers a link to her website where she describes the triggers and exactly which chapters they happen in. I thought this was a great way to alert readers to difficult subject matter, so that they have the freedom to skip parts that might be too hard for them to read. I kinda wish all books did this! *Free ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* Anyway, this book just captured this beautiful connection to nature and animals, and I thought the structure was perfect with a satisfying resolution at the end. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys the magical realism genre - Blooms is certainly a talented writer who I'll be checking out in the future!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Thanks to the publisher for a gifted copy of the book for honest review. This story mixes magical realism with the story of ten year old Misty's often brutal life in rural Appalachia. The author's website includes a comprehensive list of the many trigger warnings for this book and I'd recommend readers visit that page before deciding if they are ready for this one. There are elements of this book that I think will tear at even the most hardened of readers, but the faith Misty has in the natural e Thanks to the publisher for a gifted copy of the book for honest review. This story mixes magical realism with the story of ten year old Misty's often brutal life in rural Appalachia. The author's website includes a comprehensive list of the many trigger warnings for this book and I'd recommend readers visit that page before deciding if they are ready for this one. There are elements of this book that I think will tear at even the most hardened of readers, but the faith Misty has in the natural environment around her kept me reading, and wanting to know about what would happen to her family. There is a strange, ethereal quality to this book, and this sets such a captivating contrast against the challenging environment both within Misty's home and in her community. The bonds between her family members was memorable and warm, and readers will take heart knowing the broader community that takes care of Misty. This book won't be for everyone (again, check the triggers to know if it's for you), but those who do read it won't soon forget it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    This book was so effed up that I don't even know what I just read. The author gives a trigger warning at the beginning so I almost did not read it. Not because I would be triggered, but once I know something is coming I spend the whole time being tense while reading knowing something bad is coming. Misty is 10 years old and can talk and feel nature around her. I am so baffled because every time she was sexually assaulted something strange would grow out of a garden near her home. What the Hell i This book was so effed up that I don't even know what I just read. The author gives a trigger warning at the beginning so I almost did not read it. Not because I would be triggered, but once I know something is coming I spend the whole time being tense while reading knowing something bad is coming. Misty is 10 years old and can talk and feel nature around her. I am so baffled because every time she was sexually assaulted something strange would grow out of a garden near her home. What the Hell is that about?! I was so confused! I understood her wanting out of her skin because of being sexual assaulted and blaming herself but this book was very messed up! This book is a Booksamillion book club pick but WTH? I gave it three stars because the ending is kind of redeeming while still being confusing. I just don't know what to say.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Anytime I can read a novel with a plot line uniquely developed (at least to me), I have to give kudos to the author. In this case, both the author herself and her heroine have experienced rape so the book carries an extra punch of reality. The story is part magical realism, part fantasy, a lot of heartbreak and pain, but all beautifully written with great, endearing characters. Learning to cope and survive as well as recognizing family strength and love are strong elements of this novel. Thanks t Anytime I can read a novel with a plot line uniquely developed (at least to me), I have to give kudos to the author. In this case, both the author herself and her heroine have experienced rape so the book carries an extra punch of reality. The story is part magical realism, part fantasy, a lot of heartbreak and pain, but all beautifully written with great, endearing characters. Learning to cope and survive as well as recognizing family strength and love are strong elements of this novel. Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for the ARC to read and review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christine Moore

    I read this book last night. Started it and didn't put it down until I finished. This book is unlike anything I have ever read before. I loved Misty. Misty is a strong courageous girl who honestly has a difficult life. Misty will live in my heart forever.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    This is a beautiful, powerful, heart wrenching yet uplifting story about what it means to be broken, hurt, abused, vulnerable… And what it means to tell the truth about trauma. It’s hard to describe but my feelings have had a work out. Thanks to NetGalley, the author and publisher for an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jenci Spradlin

    I do not say this lightly, but this is probably the best novel I've ever read bar none. The writing was beautiful and highly descriptive, painting images that are hard to forget. The main character and the story touched me at such a deep level. It acknowledged the pain of certain traumas that are often not discussed in this way. I don't want to give away too much about this novel, except to implore you to read it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ashleigh

    Every Bone A Prayer is Ashley Blooms debut novel. It is such a uniquely powerful, heartbreaking read that will definitely leave a mark on the reader. The character development was so well done with a beautifully realistic plot to coinside. This book is set on the Appalachian hollers and follows the main character, Misty, a 10 year old who has the ability to talk to the living and non- living things around her. Everything Misty talks to has its own story to tell. As we follow Misty we see her figh Every Bone A Prayer is Ashley Blooms debut novel. It is such a uniquely powerful, heartbreaking read that will definitely leave a mark on the reader. The character development was so well done with a beautifully realistic plot to coinside. This book is set on the Appalachian hollers and follows the main character, Misty, a 10 year old who has the ability to talk to the living and non- living things around her. Everything Misty talks to has its own story to tell. As we follow Misty we see her fight for survival as she becomes able to tell her story, heal and grow. Truly an inspiring, heart wrenching, difficult yet uplifting read. I do want to mention some Trigger Warnings of sexual abuse

  25. 5 out of 5

    Yolanda

    This book is gritty and very well researched. I felt it was real but represented the resilient spirit of this region and her people.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    The lovely prose of Ashley Blooms’s book as well as the basic story line about the coming-of-age experiences and family struggles of children living in the Appalachian Mountain hollers were five- star qualities of Every Bone a Prayer I immediately wanted to get to know Charlene, Misty and Penny, ages 8,10, and 12, respectively. I also thoroughly enjoyed Samantha who announces she is "Sam...everybody thinks I'm a girl, but I'm not. That's not me." The response of Penny is a delightful illustratio The lovely prose of Ashley Blooms’s book as well as the basic story line about the coming-of-age experiences and family struggles of children living in the Appalachian Mountain hollers were five- star qualities of Every Bone a Prayer I immediately wanted to get to know Charlene, Misty and Penny, ages 8,10, and 12, respectively. I also thoroughly enjoyed Samantha who announces she is "Sam...everybody thinks I'm a girl, but I'm not. That's not me." The response of Penny is a delightful illustration of how immediately accepting children can be when she says, "I reckon you ought to know who you are" (page 111). Gender issues are handled with great sensitivity, as are the physical assault scenes. In fact, with the latter, readers may wonder at first if what they think is happening is also the actuality. Misty's ability to feel relaxed out in nature and connect with all living creatures, including small crawdads, provides her a sense of calm or relief or special knowledge about human nature. For example, Misty comes to realize that Earl, a neighbor man, "was mean to her [an adult woman]. He always was, right from the start. He hurt her until she didn't want to be hurt anymore and she thought she'd found a way out. She'd heard stories before. About women who could change themselves. Turn into other things, like trees." (page 271). With some of the abuse and lack of opportunity that females in Appalachia faced, it's no wonder people wanted to escape. At first, I enjoyed young Misty’s unique connection to the natural world. A couple of times I thought about Lois Lowry’s middle grade book THE GIVER, where a person with special capabilities could give memories to another human and perhaps save a life by transmitting memories of warm sunshine while lost in a freezing blizzard. However, EVERY BONE A PRAYER, is not a MG book; in fact the stream-of-consciousness writing may appeal to average teen audiences. For example, one sentence fills most of a page in chapter 21 with Misty’s rambling memories of scents and sounds. And while fantasy is a popular category in YA novels, I question YA readers’ receptivity of the magical glass sculptures in Misty’s holler (and for that reason did not assign a YA tag.) For me, the glass sculptures took me out of Misty’s compelling and often heart-achingly disturbing story. and are the reason for my overall rating of 4 stars instead of 5. This book publishes on Augus4 4, 2020, and it definitely deserves to be added to your reading list. This is my honest opinion in exchange for the much-appreciated ARC from Sourcebooks Landmark, an imprint of Sourcebooks received through BookBrowse.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Whitney Gaston

    This book was not at all what I was expecting. I heard many comparisons of this novel to Where The Crawdads Sing, but I didn't really see the resemblance. This is a tale about Misty, a young 10 year old girl who lives in a holler in Kentucky with a special gift. She can speak to animals and inanimate objects inside her head. The way the author came up with this concept was extremely creative. I have always been fascinated by the idea of a things name, and entirely knowing a thing gives you power This book was not at all what I was expecting. I heard many comparisons of this novel to Where The Crawdads Sing, but I didn't really see the resemblance. This is a tale about Misty, a young 10 year old girl who lives in a holler in Kentucky with a special gift. She can speak to animals and inanimate objects inside her head. The way the author came up with this concept was extremely creative. I have always been fascinated by the idea of a things name, and entirely knowing a thing gives you power over it. So I was immediately intrigued. Unfortunately, Misty has to face some very adult problems at a very young age. Her parents are unhappy, and her father leaves them. The neighborhood boy William starts to lure Misty to the barn and sexually assaults her. The author does give a warning to readers about this content in the forward, but it is not overly graphic. Misty copes with these issues by literally escaping her own skin. I can see how a girl who had this happen to her could feel that way, but Ashley Blooms creates scenes of misty abandoning her skin and walking around in her bone body. For some reason, that piece of the story made me uncomfortable. I think that was the intent because Misty felt so miserable in her own body after the abuse, but these scenes were not my favorite. Lastly, Misty befriends an unusual presence in the garden, and learns about a woman who had the same gift she did who disappeared years earlier. Overall, the story was good. It was very unique, and a creative way to look at life through a young girl's eyes. I was a bit relieved with how the story ended, and there was so much more that happened in the book I didn't even highlight here. I was fascinated with the concept of these names and the missing woman Caroline. The story did get a little too magical with the bone walking scenes (for me at least), but luckily there were not too many of those. I will be chatting with Ashley Blooms on Aug 12th via Zoom in my FB group if you would like to join!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Shields

    🦞 (Not quite a crawdad, but it will do.) Misty is a ten-year-old girl who lives in a Kentucky holler. She escapes her parents’ unhappy marriage and her older sister’s apathy by communing with what exists in the holler. Misty, who possesses empathic abilities, communicates with everything from her trailer to her beloved crawdads. While this communion is highly affecting, it also reveals Misty’s loneliness, a loneliness that deepens and widens following Misty’s experiences in the barn with William. T 🦞 (Not quite a crawdad, but it will do.) Misty is a ten-year-old girl who lives in a Kentucky holler. She escapes her parents’ unhappy marriage and her older sister’s apathy by communing with what exists in the holler. Misty, who possesses empathic abilities, communicates with everything from her trailer to her beloved crawdads. While this communion is highly affecting, it also reveals Misty’s loneliness, a loneliness that deepens and widens following Misty’s experiences in the barn with William. There are two central stories of abuse: Misty’s in the present and Caroline’s in the past. To explore the reality of such trauma, Blooms uses the fantastical. For example, through Misty’s literal separation of her bones from the physical flesh of her body, Blooms illustrates the ways in which trauma can fracture our sense of self and cause disassociation. Similarly, Caroline, though dead for many years, very much exists in the present timeline. Part of what Blooms does through Caroline’s character is examine the effects of inherited or generational trauma. The women of Appalachia are no strangers to abuse; it stretches back from daughter to mother, granddaughter to grandmother. Despite her challenging subject matter, Blooms achieves a balance between pain and hope. Trauma alters us in unimaginable ways, but we can learn how to heal, how to mend broken bodies, minds, and spirits. Bloom focuses on the idea of naming as a means of yoking together the fractured pieces of ourselves. Our true names are composed of our memories, relationships, experiences, and sensory impressions. To some extent, we can choose our names, meaning we can claim ownership of ourselves and decide which parts of ourselves we share with others. This sharing of names generates opportunities for bearing witness and healing. This novel is one of exquisite beauty. Blooms writes about trauma with the care and imagination of writers like Toni Morrison and Jesmyn Ward.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Thank you to Source Books for this ARC of Every Bone a Prayer. All thoughts are my own. This is a very unique story. The writing and connection to nature is beautiful. I also want to point out that Ashley Blooms has a wonderful note to readers right at the beginning that talks about trigger warnings as what to expect out of the book. I really appreciate the fact that she took the time to make this note and ensure that each reader understood what was going to be present and make decisions based on Thank you to Source Books for this ARC of Every Bone a Prayer. All thoughts are my own. This is a very unique story. The writing and connection to nature is beautiful. I also want to point out that Ashley Blooms has a wonderful note to readers right at the beginning that talks about trigger warnings as what to expect out of the book. I really appreciate the fact that she took the time to make this note and ensure that each reader understood what was going to be present and make decisions based on that. I think that having this trigger warnings is something I have been seeing more of, and something that should be normalized. Set in Appalachian holler, this story follows Misty, a ten year old who has a special connection to nature. Her best friends are the Crawdads, whom she can speak to and understand. She can hear the trees, streams, and other parts of nature, able to feel how they are feeling. When some weird stuff starts to happen around holler, she needs those connections to feel safe. She doesn’t quite understand what is happening and needs some way to ground herself. Every Bone a Prayer is the story of coping and healing, growing and hope. Something else that is mentioned in the note is that Ashley Bloom did pull from her own experiences and the story came from a personal and emotional place. I do think that this comes through while reading. As Misty deals with family problems, weird town events, and sexual abuse, you see how she copes with it all. Everyone deals with things differently, so the representation here may not be how you would deal with things, but I do think it was well done. For me, I personally had a hard time getting into the book. The writing was beautiful from start to finish, but I struggled to feel invested at first. After I got past the beginning though, I wanted to know more. I wanted to help the characters and understand what was going on in their little town.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lori L (She Treads Softly)

    Every Bone a Prayer by Ashley Blooms is a recommended novel full of magic realism about a young girl who is sexually abused. Misty, ten, her sister Penny, and her mom live in a trailer in an Appalachian Mountain holler. Her parents have separated. Misty is connected to everything that lives around her and loves to go to the creek to speak to every living thing there, but especially to the crawdads. When her neighbor William starts doing some hurtful things to her in the barn, she doesn't know ho Every Bone a Prayer by Ashley Blooms is a recommended novel full of magic realism about a young girl who is sexually abused. Misty, ten, her sister Penny, and her mom live in a trailer in an Appalachian Mountain holler. Her parents have separated. Misty is connected to everything that lives around her and loves to go to the creek to speak to every living thing there, but especially to the crawdads. When her neighbor William starts doing some hurtful things to her in the barn, she doesn't know how to handle it or what to do about it. And then there are the strange glass-like statues growing up out of the ground at the neighbors across the road. This is a beautifully written descriptive novel, but it is also a heartbreaking coming-of-age novel. The novel came from a very emotional, personal place from the author and that shows in the raw emotions present in the raw undercurrents of fear and horror. In the end Misty is a survivor. While I admire many qualities in the writing and emotions of the narrative, I'm the odd reviewer who didn't love Every Bone a Prayer. The set up for the actual novel is very slow and lengthy. Additionally the magic, magic realism, animism, etc. distracted from the important message within the novel. She almost seems to be undergoing a dissociative state, but in her case it is a real separation from her body. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Sourcebooks. http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2020/0...

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