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Precious Bones

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  230 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Meet ten-year-old Bones, whose playground is the Florida swamps, brimming with mystical witches, black bears, alligators and bobcats. Bones' father, Nolay, a Miccosukee Indian, is smart and mischievous. Her Mama, practical as corn bread, can see straight into Bones' soul.

It's summer, and Bones is busy hunting and fishing with her best friend, Little Man. But then two Yanke
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

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Barbara Rogan
PRECIOUS BONES is set in 1948, in the swamplands of old Florida. The main character, Bones, is a 10-year-old girl, and the book is marketed as a young adult book, but should absolutely be read by adults as well. "Civilization" is encroaching on the traditional life of the swamp, and Bones' idyllic life with her mother and father is threatened when two Yankee land speculators set their sights on their land. Bones herself is a miraculous creation, as inquisitive as the raccoon in her animal entour ...more
I didn't expect this book to draw me in as much as it did. Ashley-Hollinger walks a fine line between nostalgia and the emotional authenticity of a child in the moment, but ends up with a well-crafted mystery steeped in a particular time and place with an authentic child protagonist. Bones is a lot like Scout in TKAM: a precocious tomboy who struggles to live up to the moral examples set by the adults in her life. While she easily opens her heart to the outsiders and oddballs in her community, h ...more
It's 1949 and 10 year-old Bones lives in the swamps of Florida with her parents. Bones and her family live a simple and fairly quiet life. Until two real estate agents come on to her family's property uninvited and a few days later one of the agents are reported as missing.

What I can about this book? It's definitely suspenseful and a good mystery. It was slow at first, but it picked up and got better. The characters are all unique and likable. And it just feels like a nice little community. When
Literary Classics Book Awards & Reviews
Occasionally we come across a book which transports us to another time or place as it feeds the mind and nurtures the soul; Precious Bones is one of those joyously rare literary finds.

Precious Bones is the entrancing story of Bones, a ten year old girl growing up in the swamplands of Florida in the 1940s. In this, her debut novel, Author Mika Ashley-Hollinger has conjured up a vividly colorful cast of characters that nearly saunter off the pages of her book to take up residence in the hearts of
In the book flap, the author mentioned that she wrote this in tribute to a way of life that has all but disappeared; I totally agree, the childhood life described in the story is as far removed from my urban experience as possible. There were several things in the story that caused my eyebrows to raise - the ten-year-old Bones bringing her gun when she had to visit a neighbour whom she thought was some kind of witch (a gun that her father gave her when she was six); her mother reminding her to a ...more
Carol Cowan
Although this book isn't necessarily for adults (really not for adults), I did not want to put it down! This story is set in post WWII east/central Florida. Knowing the area, it was a fun book because some of the locations were familiar. The author brought the setting to life with details (no refrigeration/electricity for those living in rural areas, segregation, land grabs/swindles, hunting and fishing and RC colas and moon pies!). The story itself is written from the point of view of a ten yea ...more
Elizabeth O.
Content Warning:
Disturbing implied violence
Mild cussing
Racial slurs

Bones is a ten year old living with her parents in the swamp lands of Florida. She and her best friend, Little Man, seek adventure and crawfish in the summer of 1949. However, one day two men from the North come to their home, hoping to buy the land from Bones' father, Nolay. Nolay is a Miccosukee Indian and becomes angry when the Yankee's become more threatening towards him. Once the Northerners are chased off the land,
Addison Children
I thought this was a great first novel. Bones, 10, lives near the Florida swamps in the late 1940s. Her father is part American Indian and earns a living as a fisherman, but also, it seems, by some shadier dealing. Bones' family and most of her friends are dirt poor by today's standards, but they don't know it and are all pretty happy. Then two men turn up dead and Bones' father is the prime suspect. A great coming of age novel set in the not too distant past, touching on friendship, racism, and ...more
Mallee Stanley
This was a young adult murder mystery set in Florida. Although the plot was good and the characters believable, I had a hard time with the children in the story often taking guns with them when heading to the swamp and the mother carrying a gun in her handbag. May be this is "normal" in the U.S. but for those outside the country like me, it was a little disturbing. There was also an element of advise throughout the book which although wise, became a preachy after a while and I found myself skipp ...more
Molly the Librarian
Bones, a ten-year-old free spirit living in the swamps of Florida in 1949, is in a big pickle. She and her neighbors are all in an uproar when a pair of land-swindling Yankees come to call and one of them has the nerve to turn up dead on her father Nolay’s property. Without a decent alibi to cover Nolay’s tracks, the law has their sights set on him as their prime suspect. Deep down, Bones just knows that her daddy couldn’t and wouldn’t have committed such a crime, but she’ll have a heck of a tim ...more
Kristina Cardoza
Precious Bones by Mika Ashley-Hollinger is a very suspenseful Florida story! Starring the inquisitive 10-year-old Bones, 1949 is a very interesting year! It all starts in late July, when Bones and her family are disturbed by two land-hungry Yankees that want to buy Bones' father, Nolay's, land, but Nolay, being the mischievous person he is, chases them off of his land with a gun! (Since he is of Native American descent and his family had lived there in an earlier time, the land was very
My review for the Historical Novel Society:

When her father kicks a pushy Yankee realtor off their Florida swampland property and the guy later turns up dead, it turns out to be the opening of a life-changing season for 10-year-old Bones. This children’s book, set in 1949, is a stroll through a time when the color line was drawn with a knife, when kids scrubbed the house screens with DDT, when Florida had never heard of Disney, and when children prefaced every statement to adults with a “yes sir”
A Book Vacation
If you’re looking for a great book for your kids to read, then this is it! Set in the Florida swamps in the late 1940s, when racism is rampant and people have very little, Bones, the young protagonist, must work against the odds in order to clear her father’s name of murder. This is a very touching tale concerning coming of age, which any MG/YA will enjoy; it’s full of mystery and intrigue, ripe with many themes, such as treating people right, regardless of race, age, disability, or wealth. Whil ...more
Rating: 3.5

One of my favorite uncles growing up was my Uncle Joe. He was big, larger than life even. He could sing like Hank Williams. He was a gifted storyteller who usually focused more on the quality of the story than the truth. He had that quintessential southern accent -- smooth and warm, it would roll through you like good whiskey. He could make a mean boiling pot -- with Uncle Joe, food went beyond nourishment and became an event. He was an amazing and skilled hunter and fisherman. And (a
When the worst storm of the 1949 summer season blows through the swamp where ten-year-old Bones lives with her parents, she thinks the worst that could happen is their house will flood. Little does she know, real trouble is just around the corner. Some citified Yankee men come sniffing around trying to get Bones' daddy to sell his land. The confrontation does not go well and soon one of the men turns up dead and Nolay (Bones' daddy) is the chief suspect. Bones adores her father but she knows tha ...more
Bones, 10, is the main character. She lives in the swampland town of Mico, Florida in the 1940's. She has long, blond hair, but she is half Native American. She faces the prejudice of some of the town's people at school. Her father, Nory, makes and sells moonshine. When some Yankee men come to town to try to take land away, the one man ends up dead in the swamp. A mystery ensues, and Nory is the main suspect. A wonderful story about old Florida, prejudice, family love & disabilities.
Bill Tillman
A fantastic tale of life in the Florida swamp during the late 40's and early 50's. Bones is an adventuresome ten-year old living in the Florida swamps, whose playground is the Florida swamps, brimming with mountain witches, black bears, alligators and bobcats. Bones' father, Nolay, a Miccosukee Indian, is smart and mischievous. Her Mama Lori, is as practical as corn bread, can see straight into Bones' soul. It's summer, and Bones is busy hunting and fishing with her best friend, Little Man. But ...more
Books Kids Like
Bones was named Precious Bones by her great-grandmother. So, even though she gets teased about her name, she bears it proudly. Bones lives with her father and mother in the swamps of eastern Florida. During the summer 1948, they are thrown into turmoil as her father becomes a suspect in two murders. This book is a coming-of-age story in many respects. Bones learns that parents sometimes lie to their children trying to keep them safe and happy. She, also, learns the truth behind her worst childho ...more
Marilyn Olson
This book gives the reader a real look into the lives of people who live in the swamps of southern Florida at the time after WWII and just before the big build-up of Florida. Their language, the food they eat, the work they do and how the swamps influence their lives are some of the things revealed in this book. First and foremost, however, Precious Bones is a mystery that unravels slowly within the context of its setting.
Bones and her family live in the Florida swamps in 1948. She and her best friend Little Man are creatures of the swamp; they know the land and the animals and people for miles around. She likes to catch mullet with Little Man and sit on the porch of the Last Chance store with Mr. Speed. The small community is shook up when two murders take place in a matter of days. Nolay, Bones's daddy, is the prime suspect for the murders and Bones starts doubting her daddy. But the sheriff is investigating an ...more
If you are into historical/realistic fiction then you might be into this book but I was not a big fan of it. I did not like this book, it was really slow. There was a murder but it wasn’t a very "exciting murder" some might say. I didn't find myself not wanting to put it down and was not engaged. Maybe my kids will enjoy it if they pick it up to read.
Nov 17, 2012 Phoebe rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Deborah, Valerie, Cheryl
This lengthy chapter book brims with atmosphere and personality. Ten-year-old Bones has the run of her surroundings, the wilds of the Florida swamplands. She has her own rifle and a best friend, Little Man, who looks out for her on the school grounds. Her father, Nolay, is from the Seminole tribe and is full of tales--and Bones believes them, until the day story must come up against fact and fact wins. And as her belief in her father is shaken, two murders occur in the space of two weeks, and No ...more
Kit Grindstaff
Though I've never been to the Florida swamps - let alone in 1949 - Mika Ashley-Hollinger totally transported me there, into the life of 10 year old Bones and her small family and community of fellow edge-of-swamp dwellers. I felt as though I was 10 again, following Bones past muddy ponds and palmetto roots and listening to her narrate the events that gradually endanger the slow, earthy existence she loves, threatening to break it apart.

This book is full of delightful characters - from Bones's a
Alliyah Wakefield
I love this book! Especially since it has my middle name in it; Precious. I found it when I was looking for a book to read in my school library and I saw my middle name so I picked it out and I had no idea how much I would love it!
An interesting plot, but not one that was excellent. Characters are painted beautifully, and are vibrant and alive. Nice twist at the end that makes you like the book. I would definitely recommend reading this, but maybe on a rainy day when you don't have anything to do.
Marge Keller
Loved it - good florida history. good relationships between girl and boy. love the indian introduction. will be awesome to use with students. May not be appropriate for 3rd grade. violence is not outrageous a little dicey when they talk about affair -
Sandra Stiles
Bones and her best friend Little Man love spending their summer hunting, fishing and exploring the swamp. Her father Nolay is a Native American with somewhat of a temper. When two yankees come offering to buy his land he scares them off with a gun. When one of them turns up dead in the swamp Nolay becomes the prime suspect. Bones knows her daddy better than anyone. She knows he is innocent. Since the sheriff is taking so long to prove it she figures it is up to her to find out what is really goi ...more
Young adult novel set in Micco,Florida in 1949. Well written book speaks of a life style lost to us forever.
Precious Bones is the story of a ten year old girl who grew up in
Allison Familtom
Precious Bones is about a family that has a lot of animals.every day they go to town after school to see a man who had been in the army they would buy him a pop and he would tell stories.then when they went home they would eat dinner and go to sleep .one day they went in the woods and they found the surprise of their lives. They went home and made their dad come outside and they reported it.Then another murder happens that's when things become really weird. One more death occurs in town.Still no ...more
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