March 23, 2015

Bones & All Tour: Excerpt, Review + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Bones & All blog tour! Today I'll be sharing my review of the book and a great excerpt - and don't forget to enter the giveaway! To follow the rest of the tour, click on the banner above.

Bones & All
Author: Camille DeAngelis
Genre: YA Horror
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin


Maren Yearly doesn’t just break hearts, she devours them.

Since she was a baby, Maren has had what you might call "an issue" with affection. Anytime someone cares for her too much, she can’t seem to stop herself from eating them. Abandoned by her mother at the age of 16, Maren goes looking for the father she has never known, but finds more than she bargained for along the way.

Faced with love, fellow eaters, and enemies for the first time in her life, Maren realizes she isn’t just looking for her father, she is looking for herself. The real question is, will she like the girl she finds?


Penny Wilson wanted a baby of her own in the worst way. That’s what I figure, because she was only supposed to watch me for an hour and a half, and obviously she loved me a little too much. She must have hummed a lullaby, fondled each tiny finger and toe, kissed my cheeks and stroked the down on my head, blowing on my hair like she was making a wish on a dandelion gone to seed. I had my teeth but I was too small to swallow the bones, so when my mother came home she found them in a pile on the living room carpet.

The last time my mother had looked at Penny Wilson she’d still had a face. I know Mama screamed, because anyone would have. When I was older she told me she thought my babysitter had been the victim of a satanic cult. She’d stumbled upon stranger things in suburbia.

It wasn’t a cult. If it had been, they would have snatched me away and done unspeakable things to me. There I was, asleep on the floor beside the bone pile, tears still drying on my cheeks and blood wet around my mouth. I loathed myself even then. I don’t remember any of this, but I know it.

Even when my mother noticed the gore down the front of my OshKosh overalls, even when she registered the blood on my face, she didn’t see it. When she parted my lips and put her forefinger inside—mothers are the bravest creatures, and mine is the bravest of all—she found something hard between my gums. She pulled it out and peered at it. It was the hammer of Penny Wilson’s eardrum.

Penny Wilson had lived in our apartment complex, across the courtyard. She’d lived alone and worked odd jobs, so no one would miss her for days. That was the first time we had to pick up and move in a hurry, and I often wonder if my mother had an inkling then how efficient she’d become. The last time we moved she packed us up in twelve minutes flat.

Not so long ago I asked her about Penny Wilson: What did she look like? Where was she from? How old was she? Did she read a lot of books? Was she nice? We were in the car, but not on the way to a new city. We never talked about what I’d done right after I’d done it.

“What do you want to know all this for, Maren?” she sighed, rubbing at her eyes with her thumb and forefinger.

“I just do.”

“She was blond. Long blond hair, and she always wore it loose. She was still young—younger than I was—but I don’t think she had many friends. She was very quiet.” Then Mama’s voice snagged on a memory she hadn’t wanted to find. “I remember how her face lit up when I asked if she could watch you that day.” She looked angry as she brushed the tears away with the back of her hand. “See? There’s no point thinking about these things when there’s nothing you can do to change any of it. What’s done is done.”

I thought for a minute. “Mama?”


“What did you do with the bones?”

She took so long to reply that I began to be afraid of the answer. There was, after all, a suitcase that always came with us that I had never seen her open. Finally she said, “There are some things I’m never going to tell you no matter how many times you ask.”

My mother was kind to me. She never said things like what you did or what you are.


Mama was gone. She’d gotten up while it was still dark, packed a few things, and left in the car. Mama didn’t love me anymore. How could I blame her if she never did?

Some mornings, once we’d been in a place long enough that we could begin to forget, she’d wake me up with that song from Singin’ in the Rain.

Good morning, good moooooooorning! We’ve talked the whole night through…

Except she always sounded kind of sad as she sang it.

On May 30th, the day I turned sixteen, my mother came in singing. It was a Saturday, and we had planned a full day of fun. I hugged my pillow and asked, “Why do you always sing it like that?”

She flung the curtains wide open. I watched her close her eyes and smile against the sunshine. “Like what?”

“Like you would’ve rather gone to bed at a reasonable hour.”

She laughed, plopped herself down at the foot of my bed, and rubbed my knee through the duvet. “Happy birthday, Maren.” I hadn’t seen her that happy in a long time.

Over chocolate-chip pancakes I dipped my hand into a gift bag with one big book inside—The Lord of the Rings, three volumes in one—and a Barnes & Noble gift card. We spent most of the day at the bookstore. That night she took me out to an Italian restaurant, a real Italian restaurant, where the waiters and the chef all spoke to each other in the mother tongue, the walls were covered in old black-and-white family photographs, and the minestrone would keep you full for days.

It was dark in there, and I bet I’ll always remember how the light from the red glass votive holder flickered on Mama’s face as she raised the soupspoon to her lips. We talked about how things were going at school, how things were going at work. We talked about my going to college: what I might like to study, what I might like to be. A soft square of tiramisu arrived with a candle stuck in it, and all the waiters sang to me, but in Italian: Buon compleanno a te.

Afterward she took me to see Titanic at the last-chance cinema, and for three hours I lost myself in the story the way I could in my favorite books. I was beautiful and brave, someone destined to love and to survive, to be happy and to remember. Real life held none of those things for me, but in the pleasant darkness of that shabby old theater I forgot it never would.

I tumbled into bed, exhausted and content, because in the morning I could feast on my leftovers and read my new book. But when I woke up the apartment was too still, and I couldn’t smell the coffee. Something was wrong.

I came down the hall and found a note on the kitchen table:

I’m your mother and I love you but I can’t do this anymore.

She couldn’t be gone. She couldn’t be. How could she?

I looked at my hands, palms up, palms down, like they didn’t belong to me. Nothing else did: not the chair I sank into, not the table I laid my forehead on, not the window I stared through. Not even my own mother.

I didn’t understand. I hadn’t done the bad thing in more than six months. Mama was all settled into her new job and we liked this apartment. None of this made sense.

I ran into her bedroom and found the sheets and comforter still on the bed. She’d left other things too. On the nightstand, paperback novels she’d already read. In the bathroom, almost-empty bottles of shampoo and hand lotion. A few blouses, the not-as-pretty ones, were still hanging in the closet on those cheap wire hangers you get at the dry cleaner’s. We left stuff like this whenever we moved, but this time I was one of the things she’d left behind.

Trembling, I went back into the kitchen and read the note again. I don’t know if you can read between the lines when there’s only one sentence, but I could read all the things she hadn’t said clearly enough:

I can’t protect you anymore, Maren. Not when it’s the rest of the world I should be protecting instead.

If you only knew how many times I thought about turning you in, having you locked up so you could never do it again

If you only knew how I hate myself for bringing you into the world

I did know. And I should have known when she took me out for my birthday, because it was too special not to have been the last thing we’d do together. That was how she’d planned it.

I’d only ever been a burden to her. A burden and a horror. All this time she’d done what she’d done because she was afraid of me.

I felt strange. There was a ringing in my ears like you get when it’s too quiet, except it was like resting my head against a church bell that had just chimed.

Then I noticed something else on the table: a thick white envelope. I didn’t have to open it to know there was money inside. My stomach turned over. I got up and stumbled out of the kitchen.

I went to her bed, burrowed under the comforter, and curled up as tight as I could. I didn’t know what else to do. I wanted to sleep this off, to wake up and find it undone, but you know how it is when you desperately want to get back to sleep. When you desperately want anything.

The rest of the day passed in a daze. I never cracked The Lord of the Rings. I didn’t read a thing besides the words in that note. Later on I got up again and wandered around the house, too sick even to think of eating anything, and when it got dark I went to bed and lay awake for hours. I didn’t want to be alive. What kind of life could I have?

I couldn’t sleep in an empty apartment. I couldn’t cry either, because she hadn’t left me anything to cry over. If she loved it, she took it with her.

Read more of the excerpt over at!

Excerpted from Bones & All © Camille DeAngelis, 2015
Bones & All is a horrifying young adult coming-of-age novel that will leave readers both terrified and begging for more. Maren is the main character of the novel. She's an odd pick for a leading lady - considering that she eats people on occasion. Strangely enough, Maren's story of how her mother abandoned her on her 16th birthday and, without knowing what else to do, she goes on a quest to find her father - and ends up finding herself along the way too. It sounds weird to say that I truly sympathized with Maren - not the eating people part - but every other aspect of her character and her story had me on an emotional roller coaster. Maren finds others like her on her journey, which points out very clearly that this is not our world, but one that's parallel to it with this immensely horrid detail.

I'm a huge fan of horror novels and I honestly can't remember the last book I read that had me peeking over my shoulders and reading with the lights on. On top of all that - it's young adult!! In my opinion, there is a huge lack of the horror genre in YA fiction - so finding this book made it all the more exciting for me. To merely label it as a horror novel doesn't feel right - it's so much more than that. There's obviously the horror aspect, but we also get to see Maren's character grow and mature as she tries to find her father. It's funny at times, really sad in others, terrifying, and everything in between. I think that this novel really breaks through genre labels and refuses to be pinned down to just one. I honestly never thought that I would be saying things like that about a book that was intense and creepy, like this one is. I don't know how the author did it, but I came out at the other side of the book entirely creeped out, my mind spinning and trying to process everything I had read, and yet feeling a deep love for it. I'm still trying to wrap my head around that one! 

This is one of those books where you love it so deeply that words don't seem to be able to express all of the things you feel or want to say about it to others. I'm sure a lot of people who read highly rated reviews of this book are going to be utterly confused at the mix of emotion and how other readers could love a book (where the main character eats people) so deeply. I don't know about the other readers who loved this book as much as I did, but I just can't seem to find any words that come even relatively close to describing the profound effect it had on me. I'm just going to say that it's definitely an intense ride full of twists and no reader will walk away unaffected in some way - whether it's a positive experience or a horrible one doesn't matter - it's going to get to you one way or another. I, obviously, had a shocking yet phenomenal experience reading this book. The writing can't even be described - I'm still amazed at how well it was written and the various aspects that make us petrified yet sympathetic to a cannibal! I'm going to settle with saying that the entire book was a masterpiece of fiction. I was immediately sucked into Meren's world from the first sentence and I don't think I ever completely left. The story is mesmerizing and leaves the reader practically begging for more. Again, I'm trying to explain my thoughts and feelings about this book, and nothing seems remotely adequate. I just hope that if you read this review, you're at least a bit curious about it now, if not driving to the bookstore to grab yourself a copy. If you're a fan of horror, dystopian fiction, science fiction, and a genuinely unique and original story, I have one thing to say to you. READ. THIS. BOOK. NOW! You might not like it or you may love it - but one thing you'll be able to say is that it's like nothing you've read before and breathes new life into the entire literary community. VERY highly recommended!

Hands down a new all-time favorite that I'll re-read several times over.
Camille DeAngelis is the author of Bones & All (St. Martin’s, 2015), Petty Magic: Being the Memoirs and Confessions of Miss Evelyn Harbinger, Temptress and Troublemaker (Crown, 2010), and Mary Modern (Crown/Shaye Areheart, 2007), as well as a first-edition guidebook, Moon Ireland (Avalon, 2007). She is a graduate of New York University (B.A. in Fine Arts, minor in Irish Studies, 2002) and the National University of Ireland, Galway (M.A. in Writing, 2005). Her fourth novel, tentatively titled Immaculate Heart, will be published by St. Martin’s Press in 2016. She is a board member of the Writers’ Room of Boston.

A longtime vegetarian, she went vegan in April 2011, and in June 2013 became a certified vegan lifestyle coach and educator through Victoria Moran’s Main Street Vegan® Academy. She is also planning to receive her yoga teacher training in 2015.

Originally from New Jersey, Camille now lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

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Giveaway: (3) Copies of Bones & All by Camille DeAngelis

Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter



  1. So glad that you enjoyed this book! I loved it also and I think that it's a great take to add to the YA genre.

  2. OMG I want to read this so badly. It's so my kind of book! Crossing fingers, toes, eyes, and everything else I can to win!
    If I don't, you can bet I'll be buying this one and in print if it's available.
    Loved your review and want to read it even more now!