Strong Bones by Robert J. Peterson

I was not sure what this book was about going in and coming out of it I’m still not 100% sure. This book gave me Stranger Things meets a Stephen King style horror book. It has all the 80’s vibes throughout from the setting and it did keep me interested throughout and it was an extremely fun book. 

“If I’d known that every detail of this dream would be crucial to my survival over the next year, maybe I’d been paying more attention.”

This follows Hiram and his group of friends discover that they possess the ability to use maps as magic. When Hiram and Macs mum moves them in with her new abusive husband everything starts to go wrong. Meanwhile there are two threats on the rise: Skelton a mass murderer and the Plaid Man: someone that lives in the other side. Together the group rises against the threat of evil using ancient magic in order to defeat the threats against them.

I loved the magic system in this. It was so intricately woven into the story and had so many aspects to it. However, at moments it did feel extremely complicated, and it lost me at moments. I also felt as though there was no system and no rules to the magic besides the very basics. It was extremely captivating to read about and I loved the unicorn!

The thing I loved the most about this was the found family aspect. Between Hiram, Mac, Dawn, Lee, Kaitlyn and Jason and even the adults. They were all so supportive of each other with everything going on in their lives. These kids have so much love for each other, and they are going through a lot. It was so beautiful to see these kids be there as a found family. The characters also went through so many stages of their lives such as Hirams redemption from his bullying of Lee to Jason’s and him figuring out there’s more to life. 

“Prize ribbons. He left one on every victim. Every victim they found that is.”

Overall, I think this book was just too long. It could have easily been a hundred pages shorter and at points I felt so lost with what was going on especially in the action scenes as it went back and forward between people but also jumped back in scenes which was extremely confusing at points. There also seemed to be no end as the minute the threat seemed to have been defeated it came back again and again. 

The atmosphere of this book, however, was amazing. The 80’s vibes with the toys and the clothing as well of some of the places in this book were so much fun. It worked so well within the setting and was not just used randomly to move the plot along. I felt like I was reading an episode of Stranger Things which I really enjoyed. 

I ended up giving this three stars just because as much as I loved the characters and the atmosphere in this book I just found myself not wanting to pick it back up because of how long the book ended up being. I am interested in seeing what this author comes out with next. 

Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC!

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