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THE BONESHAKER by Kate Milford


by Kate Milford & illustrated by Andrea Offernann

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-547-24187-6
Publisher: Clarion

In 1913 Arcane, Mo., 13-year-old Natalie Minks loves mechanical things, and her father’s bicycle-repair shop is the perfect place to tinker. Naturally curious, she is intrigued when a medicine show comes to town with promises of healing potions and an array of unusual machines. Folks in town are skeptical of “snake oil salesmen,” but Natalie suspects that the strangers are more sinister than mere con artists. At the same time, she experiences visions that may be connected to the town’s history and these mysterious travelers. These visions heighten her fears that her family and town are in danger from unresolved deals made with the Devil himself. This unusual story, with elements of folklore, tall tales and steampunk, has rich details of small-town America in the early 20th century as well as the impact of budding technology. Natalie is a well-drawn protagonist with sturdy supporting characters around her. The tension built into the solidly constructed plot is complemented by themes that explore the literal and metaphorical role of crossroads and that thin line between good and evil. (Historical fantasy. 10 & up)