I have read three books by author Marina Cohen and have loved them all. Her latest – A Box of Bones – ($22.50, Raincoast Books, Roaring Brook Press) made me stop reading it out loud to my 10-year-old son so I could proclaim what an amazing writer Cohen is and what an amazing sentence that was.

I actually looked like the guy in this graphic I found on various sites about book lovers (below).

graphic of various ways you can spot a book lover.
This graphic has popped up in various places on the Internet.

I can’t remember the exact sentence or where in the book it was, but I did this in a number of spots while reading this book. My son didn’t care, but I truly was in awe of such great writing.

The Toronto author, who is inspired by the late Edgar Allan Poe, writes “fantastical, the bizarre and all things eerie.”

In this middle grade book, 12-year-old Kallie, who isn’t an enjoyable character, doesn’t like anything that doesn’t make sense – she doesn’t read “stories”, and there is always a logical explanation for everything.

One day, Kallie attends her town’s Festival of Fools where she meets a faceless man who gives her a wooden puzzle box, which she begins to attempt to solve.

“From here Kallie’s life begins to entangle with another world, a world where Liah, a young bone carver, journeys with her master to sell wares to a wicked Queen. The sights, sounds, smells, and spells of Liah’s world are beginning to leak into Kallie’s, and if Kallie can’t decipher the meaning of her own story, ‘the end’ might be far from happy.”

Both my son and I found Kallie to be an unpleasant character, although we acknowledge her no-nonsense approach to life was likely the result of her upbringing. Still, it was hard to like her when she was so rude to everyone who had beliefs different from her own. Anna, who Kallie and her friend Poe befriend when she transfers to their school, was an interesting character and I would like to learn more about her story.

The story itself was interesting, bizarre and eerie – another success by Cohen.

A copy of this book was provided by Raincoast Books for an honest review.
The opinions are my own.

Read my Q&A with Cohen.