The Bone Dragon

Publisher: Faber Children's

Evie has been keeping her broken ribs a secret for years. Now that she has finally found the strength to tell her adoptive parents, she's had an operation to fix them, removing the physical traces of her past for good. All that is left is a fragment of bone, part of her own rib, which her Uncle Ben helps her to carve into a dragon as a sign of her new strength. Soon, the dragon becomes a potent talisman for Evie, coming to life on the darkest nights, offering her wisdom and encouragement.As she grows stronger, the dragon helps her to discover a new sense of her own power - and to satisfy her need for revenge.

There are numerous young adult novels dealing with dark subjects such as bereavement, illness and abuse, but The Bone Dragon stands apart from the crowd. Bold, brave and often unsettling, this tale of a teenage girl profoundly affected by a past that she cannot talk about - even to herself - is also both understated and beautifully-written. As well as dealing with challenging issues, with its positive and thoughtful depiction of adoption and adoptive parents, it is a tribute to unconventional families and friendships of all different kinds. An intriguing blend of psychological thriller and fantasy, this is an impressive and unusual debut.

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