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.” But when her mom brings home a live specimen, Nita decides she wants out — dissecting living people is a step too far.
But when she tries to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold on the black market in his place — because Nita herself is a supernatural being. Now Nita is on the other side of the bars, and there is no line she won’t cross to escape and make sure no one can ever capture her again.
Nita did a good deed, and it cost her everything. Now she’s going to do a lot of bad deeds to get it all back.
Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer
Published on September 4, 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Trigger Warning: graphic physical abuse, sadism
This book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley, however, this does not affect my opinion of the book.
An outstanding YA horror novel which portrays a world where monsters live among the humans, where discrimination is not by race but by who is inherently dangerous and who isn’t. In Not Even Bones, it is not the monsters that will terrify us but the depth of corruption. To say this was a fun read would be a gross interpretation of the book. Not Even Bones touches on taboo subjects, both emotional and cultural, that can leave a bitter taste for some. The author blatantly points out colonialism, discrimination, trafficking, and abuse, mirroring it very closely to our world’s oppressive history.
If you’re looking for characters with a moral motive and a conscience, you will not find it in this book. Nita helps her mother harvest the organs of monsters to sell them on the black market. To her, they are only bodies. Dead before she touched them, and so her role in the trade is almost null. For her, it is a chance to study anatomy and – she hopes – will be a stepping stone for her dream of becoming a scientist. Nita “moral” code is tested during her time of captivity where being on the other side of the scalpel, she now grapples with the truth of her own involvement.
Kovit’s story is a distorted reflection of Nita’s. Unlike her, he is inherently driven to cause pain. Being a zannie, a creature who feeds on the pain of people, one could say that his biological demands could excuse his actions. But Kovit doesn’t see it that way, he embraces his terrifying reputation. The relationship between Kovit and Nita is one that I instantly was drawn to. These characters work very well together, their bond bordering on formality, cheekiness, and respect.
One cannot explain away the characters’ actions which actually is quite testing for us, readers. So, you will either have to accept them – blood and all – or hate them.
Not Even Bones presents us with a variety of legends and mythology without making it feel like the information is being dumped. The book’s jab at white supremacy and privilege does not go unnoticed; through Nita’s narrative, the author calls out past and present exploitation which, although in the book relates to South America, made my Asian heart nod along with.
Not Even Bones surpassed its promise for a blood spattered world that might not be for some readers. This has certainly satisfied my craving for all things horror and I can’t wait for the sequel!
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What are some horror books that you would recommend for this October?