Mila is the central character in this novel, and we first meet her as she tries to help her meth-addicted mother return to some semblance of normal health, in a crumbling ruin of their once happy home in Northland. But life wasn’t always like this for Mila or her family…
Descended from generations of healers, Mila also has the gift. As a child she is surrounded by a happy family, and she loves nothing better than spending time in the forest, at one with nature. Tommy is her next-door neighbour, a quirky kid who has a passion for bones and fossils and he sees the world differently from others. He’d do anything for Mila.
But Mila’s idyllic life is changed forever when her younger sister, Anahera, dies in a tragic accident that Mila blames herself for. The death tears the family apart, and it’s not long before Mila flees to the city and there are far-reaching consequences for the family, and more tragedy for them to endure, until Mila finally returns home. Could it be that Tommy, who sees the world so differently, will be the one who can help Mila piece back together her broken life?
Mila and the Bone Man introduces a new literary talent to New Zealand readers. The writing is lyrical, the characterisation of a family facing trouble is emotionally engaging, and the beauty of Aotearoa is hauntingly evocative. Mila and the Bone Man explores some dark issues, but these are handled sensitively and compassionately. Ultimately, this is a story of hope, love, and the importance of family, a distinctly New Zealand story with universal themes.
Reviewer: Karen McMillan
Quentin Wilson Publishing