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This tragic love story is also a suspenseful, starkly honest look at Colonial America, set during the “Starving Time” in Jamestown.

It’s 1609 at James Fort, and Ellis has recently arrived from England with Henry Collins and his wife, who she serves as their indentured help. To orphaned Ellis, James Fort is an opportunity – a fresh start in a new world. And now that she has fallen for the bold and glorious Jane Eddowes, she feels even more hopeful about her future.


Foolishly hopeful, for soon she comes to understand the horrible realities of her home: the crimes that her fellow settlers have committed against the indigenous people there, the terrible shortage of food they are facing as winter draws near, and the cruelty of her employer, both to her and to his pregnant wife. Ellis will call upon all her fortitude, but will it be enough? Gripping, shocking, and exquisitely told, this is crucial U.S. history seen through the eyes of an extraordinary fictional teenager.

"Ruthless and tender by turns: a triumph of historical fiction."

- Kirkus, starred review 

"A tale of graceful devastation. Alena Bruzas’s flawless prose embroiders one of the most brutal periods of our country’s early history with a pure and glinting thread of humanity. A chilling, unforgettable story.”—Gillian French, author of Sugaring Off and The Lies They Tell
“Tragic, harrowing, and raw, To the Bone is fraught with tension, longing, and an increasing sense of dread that makes it difficult to look away.”—
Erin Bowman, author of Vengeance Road
“Alena Bruzas has spun a tale that will crawl under your skin and refuse to leave. To the Bone is a unique and unforgettable read.”—
June Hur, bestselling author of The Red Palace

The best way to buy books is to support your local indie! Drop in and request TO THE BONE. Another option is to order from my local indie Francie & Finch and let them know that you would like a signed/personalized copy. 

This intense, beautiful debut--perfect for fans of Nina LaCour and Kathleen Glasgow--is about the power of finding your voice and sharing your story after trauma.

Seventeen-year-old Virginia makes bad choices. In fact, she's That Kind of Girl, according to the whispers. But as long as she has her tight group of best friends by her side, she's able to ignore the gossipers. Until she finds herself spending time with Rumi, Poppy's boyfriend. Breaking with tradition, she doesn't hook up with Rumi. Worse, she falls in love with him.

While Virginia and Rumi's relationship grows in secret, she discovers that his little sister, Lyra, is being groomed for abuse. The soon-to-be-abuser is a respected member of the community, and only Virginia knows who he is and what he does. If she stays quiet, Lyra will become a victim. But coming forward feels equally impossible.

Gritty and tender... Bruzas handles the complex plot deftly, and the crowning achievement is when the story Virginia tells herself is her own.

-Booklist, starred review

Lyrical... A searing indictment of how society treats young women.


A powerful story of childhood trauma and what it means to confront sexual assault, Bruzas’s debut novel addresses the complexities of survival and the importance of a strong circle of support. -School Library Journal

The best way to buy books is to support your local indie! Drop in and request EVER SINCE. Another option is to order from my local indie Francie & Finch and let them know that you would like a signed/personalized copy. 

Books I love:


On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life. But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own. Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?

GROWN by Tiffany D. Jackson 
"When legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots Enchanted Jones at an audition, her dreams of being a famous singer take flight. Until Enchanted wakes up with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night. Who killed Korey Fields?  Before there was a dead body, Enchanted’s dreams had turned into a nightmare. Because behind Korey’s charm and star power was a controlling dark side. Now he’s dead, the police are at the door, and all signs point to Enchanted."


"Fifteen-year-old Lina is a Lithuanian girl living an ordinary life — until Soviet officers invade her home and tear her family apart. Separated from her father and forced onto a crowded train, Lina, her mother, and her young brother make their way to a Siberian work camp, where they are forced to fight for their lives. Lina finds solace in her art, documenting these events by drawing. Risking everything, she imbeds clues in her drawings of their location and secretly passes them along, hoping her drawings will make their way to her father’s prison camp. But will strength, love, and hope be enough for Lina and her family to survive?"


"Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can’t remember exactly when the feeling took root—that desire to look, to move closer, to touch. Whenever it started growing, it definitely bloomed the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. Suddenly everything seemed possible. But America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father—despite his hard-won citizenship—Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day."

GIRL IN PIECES by Kathleen Glasgow

"Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people do in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm... Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge."

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