The second in a planned trilogy that began with Bone’s Gift (2018).
It’s now October 1942. Plenty of changes have come to seventh-grader Bone Phillips’ life in the coal-camp town of Big Vein, Virginia: Uncle Henry died en route to the front; Daddy’s still safe but also fighting; and some of Bone’s friends no longer have to work in the mines. Her best friend, Will, mute since a week after his daddy died a decade ago, still goes below every day. When he discovers that a jelly jar left in his daddy’s long-abandoned dinner bucket is stealing everyday sounds, Bone begins to believe the jar somehow stole Will’s voice. How can she use her own gifts to get it back for him? Smibert’s writing is as smooth and evocative as in the first volume, and her historical details ring true. Blue and gold stars appear in windows; the community engages in a scrap drive for metal to be melted into an anti-aircraft gun. Readers who come new to this story, however, are likely to be hopelessly lost, as there simply isn’t enough clear background information given to carry them forward. The large cast of characters grows unwieldy, even for returning readers.
Bone’s Gift may have been better as a stand-alone; here’s hoping Smibert pulls it out in Book 3. (Historical/paranormal fiction. 8-12)