For years, Evie told no one about the pain in her side, but now she wakes in the hospital room, aching but no longer broken; physically, at least.
On the table in front of her, the doctor places the very piece of bone that has troubled her for so long and, with the help of her uncle, she carves the small piece of bone into a dragon, the same dragon that will come to life at night and help her to heal.
I am by no means the target audience for The Bone Dragon, but I couldn’t help but become entranced by this delightful and heart-warming story.
Alexia Casale writes with the kind of honesty and dark humour we’ve come to appreciate from authors like Jacqueline Wilson, and this book very much lives up to that comparison.
This is a story aimed at younger readers, but it is great to find a writer who does not attempt to shield or bubblewrap children from the darker sides of life. Evie’s backstory is difficult to read about, even as an adult, and Casale writes with real care and sensitivity to ensure that it is not taken lightly. She also does so in a way which is honest and respectful, understanding that children are far more intelligent than some authors give them credit for.
It is this side of her writing that really allows this book to flourish. Some of the passages are wonderfully written and truly thought-provoking, and just make for a really enjoyable reading experience.
The plot itself has a nice pace to it, and I especially love how, as Evie heals, she begins to help others around her heal too.
I wasn’t a particular fan of the ending, however, and felt that it seemed slightly out of place in contrast to how the rest of the story had developed, resulting in a slight step back for Evie’s character. I will acknowledge that Casale had hinted at something like that happening all along, but part of me feels like that ending felt more like the middle of a story, rather than the end.
The Bone Dragon is a truly touching story of growing up, of family, of making friends, and of finding your place in the world, and, although I wasn’t a particular fan of the ending, it is the kind of book that I know my younger self would have absolutely adored, and which my present self really quite enjoyed too.
This is part of a series of reviews I am writing leading up to YA Shot, a UK day-long convention celebrating Young Adult and Middle Grade literature, which takes place on October 28th 2015.
To read more reviews from authors attending the convention, click here.