Relationships
Resources

 email page    print page

All Topic Reviews
"Intimate" Violence against Women3 NBS of Julian DrewA Little PregnantA Natural History of RapeA Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning AutismA Stir of BonesAbout a BoyAdult Children of Emotionally Immature ParentsAlmost a PsychopathAlone TogetherAnatomy of LoveAngelsAnother CountryAnxious ParentsApples and OrangesBe Honest--You're Not That Into Him EitherBeing the Other OneBetrayed as BoysBeyond AddictionBipolar DisorderBoys Will Put You on a Pedestal (So They Can Look Up Your Skirt)Breaking ApartBrief Adolescent Therapy Homework PlannerBringing Up ParentsBut I Love HimCaring for a Child with AutismCaring in Remembered WaysCherishmentChildren of the Aging Self-AbsorbedChildren of the Self-AbsorbedChildren, Families, and Health Care Decision MakingClawsCloserCold HitCoping With Difficult PeopleCouple SkillsCruddyDancing in My NuddypantsDivorce PoisonDoing ItDone With The CryingEcstasyEmotional ClaustrophobiaEmotional Fitness for IntimacyEmotional Intelligence at WorkEntwined LivesErotic PassionsEssentials of Premarital CounselingEvery Pot Has a CoverFacts About ADHD ChildrenFamilies Like MineFamilyFamily BoundFamily FirstFear of IntimacyFinal JeopardyFind MeFlashpointFor Lesbian ParentsForgive Your Parents, Heal YourselfGandhi's WayGeorgia Under WaterGetting over Getting MadGetting the Love You WantGetting the Love You Want Audio CompanionGirl in the MirrorGirl StuffGoing Home without Going CrazyHandbook of AttachmentHandbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual ClientsHappiness Sold SeparatelyHard to GetHe's Just Not That Into YouHealing ConversationsHollow KidsHot ButtonsHot Chocolate for the Mystical LoverHow Families Still MatterHow to Create Chemistry with AnyoneHow to Give Her Absolute PleasureHow to Handle a Hard-To-Handle KidHow to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can'tI am Not Sick I Don't Need Help!I Don't Know How She Does ItI Hate You-Don't Leave MeI Only Say This Because I Love YouI'm OK, You're My ParentsIn the Mood, AgainInside the American CoupleIntrusive ParentingIt's Called a Breakup Because It's BrokenIt's Love We Don't UnderstandJakarta MissingKeeping Passion AliveKeeping Your Child in MindLet's Get This StraightLiberation's ChildrenLife's WorkLikely to DieLove JunkieLove SickLove Times ThreeLove Works Like ThisLoving Someone With Bipolar DisorderLoving Someone with Borderline Personality DisorderLust in TranslationMaking the RunMaking the RunManic DepressionMars and Venus - Starting Over.Mating in CaptivityMom, Dad, I'm Gay.MotherstylesMurder in the InnMysterious CreaturesNecessary NoiseOdd Girl OutOpenOpening to Love 365 Days a YearOphelia's MomOrgasmsOur Journey Through High Functioning Autism and Asperger SyndromeOut of the DustParenting and the Child's WorldParenting on the GoParenting Your Out-Of-Control TeenagerParents and Digital TechnologyParents Do Make a DifferencePassionate MarriagePlanet JanetPreventing Misbehavior in ChildrenProblem Child or Quirky Kid?Raising AmericaRaising ElijahRaising Kids in an Age of TerrorRaising Kids in the 21st CenturyRaising Resilient ChildrenRay's a LaughRelationship RescueRespect-Me RulesRomantic IntelligenceRoom For JSecrets of a Passionate MarriageSelf-NurtureSelfish, Shallow, and Self-AbsorbedSex Addiction: The Partner's PerspectiveShidduch CrisisSickenedSingleSlut!Socrates in LoveSomeone Like YouSong for EloiseSpecial SiblingsSpiritually Healing the Indigo Children (and Adult Indigos, Too!)Staying Connected to Your TeenagerStaying Sane When Your Family Comes to VisitStop Arguing with Your KidsStop SignsStop Walking on EggshellsStop Walking on EggshellsStrong, Smart, & BoldSummer of the SkunksSurviving a Borderline ParentTaking Charge of AngerTelling SecretsThank You for Being Such a PainThe Anti-Romantic ChildThe AwakeningThe Bastard on the Couch CDThe Birth of PleasureThe Brief Couples Therapy Homework Planner with DiskThe Bully Action GuideThe Burden of SympathyThe Commercialization of Intimate LifeThe CorrectionsThe Couples Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe DisappearanceThe Dream BearerThe Educated ParentThe Emotional RevolutionThe Employee Assistance Treatment PlannerThe EpidemicThe Ethics of ParenthoodThe Ethics of the FamilyThe Gay Baby BoomThe Good DivorceThe Guide for International Intercultural Couples and Families Intercultural MarriageThe Healing Journey for CouplesThe Hostile HospitalThe Husbands and Wives ClubThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Introvert AdvantageThe Little FriendThe Love HexagonThe Moral Intelligence of ChildrenThe Neuroscience of Human RelationshipsThe New I DoThe Normal OneThe Nurture AssumptionThe OASIS Guide to Asperger SyndromeThe Other ParentThe Psychology of Parental ControlThe Real Rules for GirlsThe Reflective ParentThe Right to Be ParentsThe Secret Lives of WivesThe Spider and the BeeThe StepsThe Story of My FatherThe Velveteen FatherThe Virgin BlueThe Visitation HandbookThe Whole ChildTo Have and To Hurt:Two Is EnoughUnderstanding MarriageUnderstanding the Borderline MotherUnhitchedUp in FlamesWe've Got IssuesWhat about the KidsWhat Goes UpWhat Is Secular Humanism?What It Means to Love YouWhat Our Children Teach UsWhen a Parent is DepressedWhen Mars Women DateWhen Someone You Love Is BipolarWhen Someone You Love Is DepressedWhy Are You So Sad?Will You, Won't You?WomanWorking With Emotional IntelligenceWorried All the TimeYes, Your Teen Is Crazy!

Related Topics
A Stir of BonesReview - A Stir of Bones
by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Viking Juvenile, 2003
Review by Su Terry
Aug 24th 2004 (Volume 8, Issue 35)

A Stir of Bones by Nina Kiriki Hoffman was a finalist for the 2003 Bram Stoker Awards. The novel is a suspenseful supernatural story about family abuse, friendship, and self-discovery. This novel is the prequel for the "Matt Black" series.

A Stir of Bones is set during the fall of 1982 in Guthrie on the coast of Oregon. Susan Backstrom, the novel's main character, is the perfect all-American girl. At 14-years old, Susan is smart, beautiful, has wealthy parents, and is a student at the exclusive Heron Country Day School. Her life, however, is far from perfect. Her lawyer father controls her every move. Her mother is so weak and absent that she does not even make an appearance in the novel. Susan's main social contact is Juanita Rivera, the family's cook and housekeeper. One afternoon while studying at the public library, Susan overhears Julio, Juanita's son, and his friends, Edmund Reynolds and Deidre "Dee" Eberhard, planning a visit to an abandoned house rumored to be haunted. The house's attraction is less its ghostly atmosphere, than the fact that Trudie Adams, an intrusive classmate, believes that it is haunted and will not go near the house. In an unprecedented action, Susan interrupts the group and invites herself along. Julio vouches for Susan and his friend's accept her presence grudgingly. Lying to her father about another making a return visit to the library, Susan tags along to the house. The group discovers that the house is indeed haunted. There is a ghost named Nathan Blacksmith, a young man who killed himself in 1918 despairing of the deaths of his parents and believing he had contracting the deadly Spanish Influenza, but more importantly the house has an emotional life of its own. Susan is very helpful in relating to the house because she has developed "house sense" (the ability to read the emotions atmosphere of a house). Soon it is learned that each of the young people has their own independent reason for seeking privacy and the solitude that a haunted house might afford. Susan, however, can not reveal her reason. Soon Susan is falling in love with Nathan and the accepting atmosphere of the house and her new friends. With each visit, her risk of discovery by her father increases. Trudie Adams reenters the story adding fuel to this already volatile situation, when she discovers the group's hiding place and demands admission back into the group or she will reveal their illegal entry into the house to the police.

Reading this book is like peeling an onion. It takes time a long time to discover the inner emotional pain of the various characters. While an astute reader should suspect right away that all is not well in Susan's home, the true nature of the family's dysfunction is slow to be revealed. Susan's gift of "house sense" is one I suspect many children of dysfunctional family's can identify with or wish they could possess. Trudie Adams is another interesting character. She also possesses secrets. She is lonely, selfish, and destructive. Nathan is the character in the novel with a message. He is truly a character that knows human despair - his parents are dead, he has no familial or financial support, and he believes that he has contracted a fatal disease - he is however the champion of holding on to life no matter the severe of life's problems. He is the firm voice against suicide. In the end, the novel focuses upon the destructive practice of keeping secrets and how friends can overcome the practice by challenging it.

Nina Kiriki Hoffman is an award winning author of science fiction and fantasy. She has received awards for the following novels, The Thread That Binds the Bones (1993; Bram Stoker Award) and The Silent Strength of Stones (1995, finalist for the Nebula and World Fantasy Awards). She is the author of the "Matt Black" series including, two novella Unmasking (1992, nominated for a World Fantasy Award) and "Home for Christmas (1995, nominated for the Nebula, World Fantasy, and Sturgeon awards), full length novels, A Red Heart of Memories (1999, nominated for a World Fantasy Award); Past the Size of Dreaming (2001); and prequel A Stir of Bones (2003). Her other works include, Legacy of Fire (1990); Courting Disasters and Other Strange Affinities (1991); Child of an Ancient City (1992); and A Handful of Twist-Ties (1995); Common Threads (1995; which includes both The Thread That Binds the Bones and A Handful of Twist-Ties); Body Switchers from Outer Space (1996); Why I'm Not Afraid of Ghosts (1997): I Was a Sixth-Grade Zombie (1998); Star Trek Voyager #15: Echoes (1998); and A Fistful of Sky (2002). She lives in Eugene, Oregon.

A Stir of Bones by Nina Kiriki Hoffman is an award winning story about abuse with a ghostly flair. The book is not unusually spooky or scary, and is appropriate for Grade 6 and up. Highly recommended.

 

2004 Su Terry

 Su Terry: Education: B.A. in History from Sacred Heart University, M.L.S. in Library Science from Southern Connecticut State College, M.R.S. in Religious Studies/Pastoral Counseling from Fairfield University, a M.Div. in Professional Ministry from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, a Certificate in Spirituality/Spiritual Direction from Sacred Heart University. She is a Licensed Minister of the United Church of Christ and an Assistant Professor in Library Science at Dowling College, Long Island, NY.


Share

Welcome to MHN's unique book review site Metapsychology. We feature over 7900 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and perspectives. We update our front page weekly and add more than thirty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.

Can't remember our URL? Access our reviews directly via 'metapsychology.net'


Metapsychology Online reviewers normally receive gratis review copies of the items they review.
Metapsychology Online receives a commission from Amazon.com for purchases through this site, which helps us send review copies to reviewers. Please support us by making your Amazon.com purchases through our Amazon links. We thank you for your support!


Join our e-mail list!: Metapsychology New Review Announcements: Sent out monthly, these announcements list our recent reviews. To subscribe, click here.

Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? Currently, we especially need thoughtful reviewers for books in fiction, self-help and popular psychology. To apply, write to our editor.

Metapsychology Online Reviews

Promote your Page too

Metapsychology Online Reviews
ISSN 1931-5716