‘Now everything is shaded in grey and silver and white. But with it the world sparkles.’
The Bone Dragon (Alexia Casale) has been on my bookshelf for a while, and I’m so delighted I finally made the time to read it. It’s a lusciously written book, and unusual compared with a lot of my favourite YA. There’s no love interest for a start; at least, not in the conventional sense. But there is a lot of love. Evie’s love for the dragon which she wishes into life. Her growing love for her new family. Her realisation that her friends actually love rather than merely tolerate her.
This is not an easy book to read. It deals with abuse – though not in a graphic way – and Evie’s character is complex. Casale doesn’t shy away from showing how Evie’s trauma has affected her ability to interact with other people, and the ending is ambiguous in a slightly uncomfortable way. Also, Evie is not the only character who is suffering. I broke my heart reading about Amy (Evie’s step-mother) and her grief-induced obsession with smoke alarms. Still, The Bone Dragon is – overwhelmingly – the story of how the human spirit can recover and return from the shadows. And as such, it’s joyous.
By the way, the Dragon is definitely one of my favourite ever characters. I think he should have the last word.
‘Do I need a name? the Dragon asks. Is there another like me?‘