City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Bibliographic information: City of Bones. Cassandra Clare. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2007. $21.99. 485p. ISBN-13:  9781416914280.
Summary: Clary went to a club with her best friend Simon and stumbled upon a group of kids who were hurting a boy, and then one of the kids murdered the boy claiming he was a demon. Clary is shocked to find out that nobody else can see these kids or the murder that just took place. The next day, the murderer, Jace, runs into Clary at the coffee shop and offers to take her to his tutor so that he can explain about the demons and know that Jace was telling the truth. However, she receives a distressed call from her mother and runs home to see what is wrong. Upon returning to home, Clary and Jace, who followed her, are met with a monstrous creature, a Ravener demon, and no mom in sight. Clary takes down the demon with Jace’s Sensor, but is hurt in the process, so Jace takes her to his home, The Institute. The Institute is within an old Gothic cathedral and is invisible to outsiders, being concealed magically by glamour. Clary recuperated and immediately goes about trying to find her mother, where she learns a lot more than she thought she would. She is a Shadowhunter, just like Jace.
Reading level and interest level: RL: 14 and up IL: 12 and up
Review: Being the first novel in the Mortal Instrument series, City of Bones is a fantastical novel. This is a compelling tale, that fantasy loving teenagers will fall all over, about what it is like to live in the Underworld with all the creatures that go bump in the night. Clary is a character who is struggling with her emotions and trying to come to terms with the new information she has just learned about herself and her family all the while trying to find her missing mother and save her. Clary, Jace, and Simon take us on a dangerous journey to face off against the main antagonist of this story, Valentine, and ultimately unravel even more of a mystery that will be discovered in the rest of the series. From vampires to werewolves, and angels to demons, this story has it all. If you were not a fan of one of them before, you just may be after you read this novel. There is one disturbing aspect of this novel that even as you read it you know it can’t be true because it just wouldn’t be right, but nonetheless it is still disturbing almost to the end of the third book when you find out the truth you knew was there.
Readers’ annotation: Prowl through the underworld and take down the evil monsters who live there. This is what Shadowhunters do, and Clary just discovered that she is one.
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: Simon and Clara are both struggling to come to terms with who they are and who they are going to be in the near future. This is a common fear among young adults, especially high school students who are thinking about what they are going to do after they graduate. Not all people like to read realistic fiction, so if they are fans of fantasy or science fiction they can read City of Bones and know that they are not the only ones who are struggling to understand and figure out herself.
Issues present: Supernatural monsters and a forbidden love between siblings(?) will leave parents and teacher not wanting their children to read this book. Although, monsters have been a topic of interest among children for ages and allowing them to read about something they may fear will help give them courage to fight their fears. Also, the love interest is not as horrible as it seems from first glance and sometimes children feel attracted to people they are not supposed to and this book will help them cope with that.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Clara’s character.
Clary just found out she is a Shadowhunter…
Vampires, werewolves, fairies, demons, and angels…
Genre or subject: Fantasy: angels, demons, vampires, werewolves, warlocks, fairies, supernatural monsters, love, relationships
Readalikes:  Tantalize, Kelley Armstrong books, Beautiful Creatures, Wicked Lovely, Harry Potter
Author’s website: http://www.cassandraclare.com/
Awards: South Carolina Book Award Nominee for Young Adult Book Award (2010), ALA Teens’ Top Ten (2008), Georgia Peach Honor Book Award (2009), Abraham Lincoln Award (2010)
Reviews:  Kirkus Review: http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/cassandra-clare/city-of-bones-3/; Publisher’s Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-4169-1428-0
Why I chose it: The Mortal Instruments series is absolutely wonderful. It is the perfect fantasy/love story, it has a bit of everything in it. Although , I have heard that her Infernal Devices is better, but I am waiting until they are all out to read them.

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Filed under Anger/Violence, Death, Supernatual monsters

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