BONE’S GIFT by Angie Smibert

Welcome to the fifth day for BONE’S GIFT Blog Tour!

The story is the first in a three book series. The setting pulls you in from the start—a Virginia coal-mining town in 1942, where the horrors and realities of World War II serve as a backdrop. Bone is a nickname for 12-year-old Laurel Grace Phillips. Her mom died years ago of influenza and Dad is about to head off to fulfill his duty of fighting in the war.

Bone is left in the care of her mother’s sister, an aunt she despises… and rightfully so. Aunt Mattie displays nothing but hate for her niece. But why?

This is where the gift part of the story weaves a magical tale. Many family members already know what Gift they have and Bone is slowly learning about her special ability: She can hold an object and see images or full scenes of what happened in the past with that object—good and bad. The most fearful one to hold is her mother’s knitted sweater.

When Bone receives an anonymous note—THE GIFT KILLED YOUR MOTHER—Bone is afraid her Gift will lead to the same result…but she needs to know and that means more of the past must be dug up.


  1. The third person POV brings forth the time period and life in a coal-mining town to each chapter. You’ll feel like you’re walking down a dirt road as the story unfolds.
  2. The support Bone has from other family members is touching and heart warming. From Uncle Ash and Junior to Mamaw. There’s also the quiet Will, who lost his father in a mining accident and at age 14 is also working there. He’s another solid rock in Bone’s life.
  3. Character arcs are a strong point in the story beginning with Bone. Cousin Ruby and even mean Aunt Mattie realize their own subtle changes.
  4. Storytelling becomes a subplot as we learn about writers who went throughout Virginia to collect stories to preserve the history of each area. They were a part of President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration. Bone helps Miss Spencer collect stories and she also becomes a trusted friend.
  5. Straight historical fiction is often a hard sell for young readers. With the magic of the Gift becoming a focus, the sidelights of life in 1942 lift the level of curiosity for any of us lucky to read this story.

AUTHOR QUOTE (From Angie Smibert’s Blog. There’s much more so be sure to visit!)

…You see, I started thinking about this story, this world many, many years ago. I wrote different versions, never quite completing them, trying to get to the heart of what was calling to me about Bone’s world, the place my mother and her family grew up. But I wasn’t really ready to write the story. I wasn’t a good enough writer yet, among other things.

So I wrote some other stories–even got some of the published. In fact, I wrote a series of YA science fiction books. After that, I revisited Bone’s world, first with a short story, “The Jelly Jar.” That worked, so I started writing the novel. I felt like I was ready to write it finally. As I wrote, I had that feeling that there was something good there. I’ve learned to trust that little feeling. Excited, I sent the draft to my agent….um, my first agent.

She did not get the story at all! Admittedly, I was crushed–but I still believed I had something, even if it needed some work. So we parted ways. And then I had to go give a talk about taking risks in your writing life! Oy.

Long story short, I found an agent–and eventually an editor–who saw what I saw. (In the meantime, I also panicked a bit and went back to school to get a Masters in English so I could teach! ) Hopefully, the story is good, and readers will see what we saw, too.


Coming up next Monday is another MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY
If you would like to join in the MMGM fun and get your own spot on the walkway, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com
(Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring)
You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.
Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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5 Responses to BONE’S GIFT by Angie Smibert

  1. Well, I do love historical fiction and this one sounds like a real winner. Thanks for the post.

  2. This sounds intriguing. I’d enjoy this piece of history. Thanks for sharing. I love strong characters and a great plot.

  3. Denise V. says:

    The time period and setting sound perfect for a historical read. I’m sure my kids would enjoy the magical Gift part, too. Thanks for the review.

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