One of the most buzzed about books of the year gets the First Reads Friday treatment after the jump.


From the book flap:

A prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice.

Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives.

As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.


Overall:  In music, when you combine two genres of music to make another, it’s called a Mash-Up.  The genres don’t have to match or even be in accord, in fact, dissonance may be a requirement, with matching beats cleverly put together by the DJ being what pulls these opposites together into symphonic harmony.  See:  Girl Talk.  In Ivory and Bone, Julie Eshbaugh pulls together Prehistoric Fantasy with Regency Era protocol to create an entirely unique experience that we’ve been waiting for all year.

Not only are the genres a disparate symphony, but the story is told entirely in first person, present tense, which is rare in the YA world.  Our narrator is Kol, one of 4 brothers, who happens to be the second youngest, much like our Lizzie Bennet.  He’s strong and handsome, but has no prospects of marriage in his clan, thereby gender-reversing the struggle of marrying off the Bennett girls in Pride and Prejudice. Eshbaugh executed this perfectly and leaves no room but for compassion for a family with no prospects for SURVIVAL if they don’t meet and mingle with other clans.

The story begins in a cave in the present and then builds the conflict on a play-by-play of the history of tribes meeting and coming together, hunting, surviving, celebrating as the mystery presented in the prologue unfolds.  There are many mysteries and histories to discover in this layered story of human survival framed in social protocol.


Judge a Book by its Cover:  I actually picked up this book because the cover was so eye-catching.  The great thing about this cover is that it will mean SO much more to you once you read the book.


Me Talk Pretty:  The writing is stark and puts you right in the middle is this prehistoric world full of manners and social expectations. We received an ARC for review, so please understand that these may not be final in your version of Ivory and Bone.

Ivory and Bone Quote #1 Ivory and Bone Quote #2 Ivory and Bone Quote #3



Audiobook Narration:  I read a paper copy of the novel, but I would listen to this audio narrator.

EDIT:  There is a discrepancy between the SoundCloud audio book sample and the one originally posted.  I have reached out to Harper Audio and will include the updated post when it’s uploaded.

EDIT #2:  Updated link below!


Kick-Ass Factor:  Where giant, woolly mammoths are hunted and clanspeople are hunted by vicious saber-tooth tigers, there is a LOT of ass-kicking in this novel.  Hunting plays a big role in the lives of these clans and Eshbaugh does an amazing job of setting up the tension.  Living is tough and danger is everywhere.  There are many action sequences in this novel to pace the story, which differentiates it greatly from the social action of Pride and Prejudice.


Don’t Believe the Hype:  Move over, Clan of the Cavebear!  Historical fiction may be on trend right now, but Eshbaugh takes us back millenia and makes Prehistoric Fantasy feel fresh, like it could be the next BIG thing in YA fiction.


Bizarre Love Triangle:  The book flap does ruin this tension a bit, but there’s definitely more than meets the eye of the love triangle presented in this novel.  Mya and Lo are two women to be contended with!


Open tab/Last call:  I will have an Ancient Mariner waiting for Julie Eshbaugh at the bar anytime she’s ready for one.  This is a VERY promising first novel and I’m looking forward to MORE!!

Ivory and Bone is out on June 7, 2016 on Harper Teen, 384 pages.  You can pre-order your copy here.


PS–THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!  Want to win our ARC copy of Ivory and Bone?  Make sure to follow our blog and comment on this post:  What is your most anticipated summer read?  Winner will be chosen on release date, Tuesday, June 7th. US Only.