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Bone Dance

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“Life is full of surprises, and sometimes the good and the bad get all bunched up together.” Alexandra’s beloved grandfather said this often. But nothing could have prepared her the death of her father – a man she never knew – and his legacy – a cabin on prairie land near an ancient Native American burial ground. It is at the cabin that she meets Lonny, who seems more troubled than Alexandra. Lonny’s stepfather had once owned that very same cabin and land and always wanted it to go to Lonny. But Lonny, tormented...
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Bone Dance

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“Life is full of surprises, and sometimes the good and the bad get all bunched up together.” Alexandra’s beloved grandfather said this often. But nothing could have prepared her the death of her father – a man she never knew – and his legacy – a cabin on prairie land near an ancient Native American burial ground. It is at the cabin that she meets Lonny, who seems more troubled than Alexandra. Lonny’s stepfather had once owned that very same cabin and land and always wanted it to go to Lonny. But Lonny, tormented by guilty memories and disturbing visions, refused to take it. Who would have thought it would it end up in the hands of a city girl like Alexandra? He tries not to like her, but is drawn to her nevertheless.

As their story unfolds, Lonny and Alex are haunted and guided by spirits that draw them to the land and to each other in this moving and tender tale about two unforgettable teens.

When her father wills her a cabin on land in rural Manitoba, Alexandra meets a young man who shares her Indian heritage and her experience of being haunted by spirits.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In what PW called an "elegantly wrought tale" that combines fragments of Native American culture, myth and ceremony, two teenagers, strangers to one another, are drawn to an ancient burial ground. Ages 12-up. July Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fragments of Native American culture, myth and ceremony enhance this evocative tale. The narrative, revolving around an ancient burial ground, alternates between the points of view of two teens on the brink of adulthood: Alexandra Sinclair, who inherits a plot of land from the father she never met; and Lonny LaFrenire, whose memory of the site haunts him. Although the characters remain strangers for most of the novel, the author draws them together through illuminating visions: Alexandra is "visited" by her recently departed grandfather and his companion, old Raven Man, while Lonny has nightmares about the sacred burial mound he desecrated as a child. Directed by the ghosts of their ancestors, the two high schoolers embark on separate spiritual journeys leading them to the same destination. Here, with the help of nature's healing force, they let go of their loneliness and grief. As in her Paradise Caf and Other Stories, Brooks hints of the existence of predestination and mythical forces, but the philosophical aspects of her book do not overpower her poetic language and sensual imagery ("Sounds of lapping waves on stone, sound of beetle legs on crispy leaf, sound of blood pulsing in ear, sound past silence, sound past sunlight, smell past sunlight, taste past sunlight, taste of ecstasy"). If the plot is slightly drawn out, this eloquently wrought tale still offers much to savor for those who desire a pensive read. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)
The ALAN Review - Charles R. Duke
Alexandra Sinclair never knew her father, but upon his death she receives his legacy-a cabin on the Canadian prairie. Raised in the city, Alexandra has little sense of place or history until she visits the cabin and discovers the Native American spirits of the land that make it a magical place. She meets Lonny LaFreniere, who is tormented by a secret buried in the land. Together the two teens connect with the spirits and come to a clearer understanding of each other and the land's legacy to them. Brooks creates a powerfully lyrical setting and lets her characters connect with the land and the spirits in a very moving way that should help readers gain a greater appreciation for why some pieces of land may be more sacred than others. The story should appeal to junior high and above and could be used as supplementary readings about the Indians of North America.
Children's Literature - Kathleen Kelly
"This is what it's like to free-fall into somebody's heart," thinks Lonny, one of the protagonists of Brooks' hypnotizing new book. To read Bone Dance is to free-fall into a world of spirits, broken dreams, healing, and most of all, love-all in an astoundingly realistic novel for older YAs. Alex, a city girl, and Lonny, a country boy, are destined to meet from the beginning, when Alex inherits land from her father that should have been Lonny's. But there is much more drawing these two souls together: each has lost a parent-Lonny a beloved mother, Alex a father she never knew-and each has Native American blood, leading them to strange visions of spirits and healing. Though Brooks' work is set in Canada, the truths about self-realization found in this book are universal. Bone Dance may appear a fantastic jaunt into a strange world, but ultimately it portrays the inner realism of the heart, a dimension that can only be healed by the "buffalo medicine" of the spirits.
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10--Alexandra,17, is surprised and somewhat resentful when the father she has never known dies and leaves her a cabin and a plot of land. While trying to decide what to do about her inheritance, she dreams of her beloved grandfather who has also recently died. In her dreams, Grandpa, usually accompanied by an Indian friend she names Old Raven Man, offers her direction. Alexandra goes to Medicine Bluff where she meets Lonny, the stepson of the man who sold his family's ancestral land to her father. Like Alexandra, Lonny's own ghosts haunt him. He believes that his mother's fatal heart attack when he was 12 was connected to his digging up bones at an Indian burial mound. Lonny resents that this land now belongs to an unappreciative "city girl." He also feels guilty because he still has the last letter Alexandra's father wrote and asked him to mail. Despite his feelings, Lonny is forced to transport the girl to the rustic cabin and to look out for her. When he finally delivers the letter, the two confront not only their anger at one another, but also their other demons. Together they begin to find comfort and understanding. Brooks's finely developed plot is a delicate blend of reality, mysticism, and spirituality, with an underlying theme of oneness with the Earth. With carefully constructed precision, she draws readers into the souls of her characters, who are typical teens with a complicated mixture of childish actions and mature insights. The result is a beautifully compelling novel.--Janet Hilbun, Sam Houston Middle School, Garland, TX
Kirkus Reviews
A finely written, nimble book that implies that strangers can be bound, sometimes, even before they meet.

Alexandra Marie Sinclair has buffalo hair: Dark reddish brown, it's a mixture of the black hair of her Native American mother and the red of her Scottish father. Though Alex lives in the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, her grandfather has provided her with a strong connection to nature and the spirit world. She's never met her father, an alcoholic ne'er-do-well named Earl. Earl buys long-held family land from Lonny LeFrenière's French stepfather, Pop, a widower. Lonny doesn't want the land—two days before his mother's death he disturbed an ancient Indian burial mound there, and has carried his guilt like a heavy stone. When Earl dies and leaves the land to Alex, Lonny is prepared to hate her. Alex surprises him, however, for she's unlike any girl he's ever met. Brooks (Traveling on into the Light, 1994, etc.) spins a complex tale of love, loss, regret, and redemption, making seem effortless the weaving of the spirit world with everyday life. Grounding the story in clear-eyed descriptive details and bringing the characters to life with natural dialogue, Brooks alternates between Alex's and Lonny's perceptions until she pulls the two close, "Hip to hip, knee to knee . . . Just sitting side by side, together, on a big sunny rock."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780888993366
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books
  • Publication date: 9/9/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 184
  • Sales rank: 1,384,207
  • Age range: 12 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.30 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2014


    What age is this for?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 21, 2009

    I Also Recommend:


    This has a lot of old spirits in it.
    It was moving.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2003

    Another Great One

    Bone Dance By: Martha Brooks Copyright: 1997 by Martha Brooks Published: In the U. S. A. It¿s strange how so much can happen to people in so little time. Alexandra Marie Sinclair is left land by her father, a man she never met. This mysterious man that she has never seen is named Earl and is a alcoholic. Earl, Alexandra¿s father, brought the land from the LeFreniere family. The LaFreniere have a son named Lonny who immediately hates her as soon as he find out that she is getting the land. Lonny is going through hard times thinking he is the reason of his mother¿s death. Through out the story many events takes place that bring Lonny and Alex closer together. This is a gentle novel about two teenagers struggling through hard times. They are lead by spirits. Martha Brooks is a canadian author that writes many books involving teenagers and there struggles. She has many award winning novels. Her works always seem to involved dysfunctional homes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2001

    I didn't know at first.... But now I luv it!

    I luv Done Dance. Its a book I don't mind sharing. It made me remember that families aren't always what we wanted it to be. THat sometimes it hurts. Sometimes, it leaves joy. Even though, everything might not be right. I luv'd her grandpa. He was sweet. I like his stories, reasoning of life. This story really made me think about my own life. Thats one reason why I read it about five times.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2000


    The Bone Dance was very interesting, it captured my attention during a boring novel study assignment.This book made it not so boring and it only took so many hours to finish.Thatnk you for writing this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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