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Young Adult Fiction Alternative Family

Bone Dance

by (author) Martha Brooks

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Apr 1998
Alternative Family, General, Canada
Recommended Age
12 to 18
Recommended Grade
7 to 12
Recommended Reading age
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 1998
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 1997
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.


Alexandra's beloved grandfather was fond of saying, Life is full of surprises, and sometimes the good and the bad get all bunched up together. However, he could not have prepared her for the death of her father, a man she never knew, and his legacy -- a cabin on prairie land formerly owned by the LaFreniere family.

Lonny LaFreniere's stepfather is the kindest man Lonny has ever known. But Lonny, tormented by guilty memories and visions he can't shake, rejects the land Pop always wanted to pass on to him. How could he have known it would end up in the hands of a city girl like Alexandra Sinclair? Acclaimed author Martha Brooks tells an unforgettable story about two teens and their quest to understand the land and each other.

About the author

Martha Brooks lives in Winnipeg. Her book Traveling on into the Light was named to the international 1996 IBBY Honour List and is an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults. Two Moons in August and Paradise Caf and Other Stories were Governor General’s Award nominees; the latter also received the 1991 Boston Globe Horn Book Award for distinguished children’s fiction. When not writing, Martha can be found performing in local jazz clubs. Maureen Hunter is one of Canada’s most successful playwrights. Her work has been produced extensively on Canada’s major stages, in the United States, and Britain, and by CBC and BBC Radio. Atlantis was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award and Transit of Venus, premiered by the Manitoba Theatre Centre, became the first Canadian play ever staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company of Britain. A native of Saskatchewan, Maureen now lives on the banks of the Red River in Winnipeg.

Martha Brooks' profile page


  • Winner, Ruth Schwartz Award
  • Winner, CLA Young Adult Canadian Book Award

Editorial Reviews

...perhaps one of the most magical books I have ever read...Brooks has touched chords of the human heart that few writers ever do.

Canadian Children's Book Centre

A lyrical, intensely felt romance.


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.

School Library Journal

Never self-indulgent, her poetic narrative is incisive and revealing, a fresh way of seeing and saying...Read it and weep, but read it.


This is a fine novel that will leave readers embracing nature and honouring the spirits of the ancestors...Highly recommended.

CM Magazine

...remarkable and engaging...Highly recommended.

Canadian Children's Literature - CBRA

Everything about this novel commands the reader's respect and admiration...

Globe and Mail

An elegantly wrought tale

Publishers Weekly

Martha Brooks weaves a subtle tale of land, love, belonging, and forgiveness.

...the inclusion of small details that develop even the most minor of characters-the unmistakable marks of a gifted short-story writer-add credence to this unconventional, memorable love story.

Horn Book

Brooks' characters are so natural in their actions and wonderings...and her writing so grounded in the observable and understandable, that we do not raise the fashionable question of cultural authenticity.

Vancouver Sun

Brooks' writing is sure, strong, poetic but never cloying, her theme deep and transformative-the very best one can give an adolescent reader...a story not to be missed.

Toronto Star

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