Book of the month
Ashley Blooms has published short fiction in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Strange Horizons, and Shimmer, among others, and her essay ‘Fire in My Bones’ appeared in The Oxford American. Ashley is a graduate of the Clarion Writer's Workshop and the Tin House Winter Workshop and received her MFA as a John and Renee Grisham Fellow from the University of Mississippi. She was born, raised, and lives in Kentucky.


Every Bone a Prayer is Bookclubz' Book of the Month.

Use these discussion questions to guide your next meeting.


Misty’s holler looks like any of the thousands of hollers that fork through the Appalachian Mountains. But Misty knows her home is different.

In her rural Appalachian holler, ten-year-old Misty’s closest friends are the crawdads. Misty can speak to them, to the birds, to the creek, to everything outside, and she understands how they think.  She knows that if she could just speak to her parents in the same way, she could stop all the fighting.  But it’s too hard. 

All that Misty’s sister Penny wants to talk about are the strange objects that start appearing outside their trailer. The grown-ups mutter about sins and punishment, but that doesn’t scare Misty. Not like the hurtful thing that’s been happening to her, the hurtful thing that is becoming part of her. Ever since her neighbor William cornered her in the barn, she must figure out how to get back to the Misty she was before—the Misty who wasn’t afraid to listen. And the Misty who realizes that what happens to you doesn’t have to define you.

 This emotionally poignant debut is a remarkable story about the power of love, resilience, and rebirth. Written by a survivor of sexual abuse, Every Bone a Prayer is a beautifully honest exploration of healing and of hope.


Misty’s idea of inner names includes memories and sounds, things remembered and lost. What does that mean to you? Can you think of anything that would be a part of your name?

Compare Misty’s and William’s home lives. How are they each coping with the challenges of their families? Do they understand each other?

Misty thinks her family only notices her when she’s sad or hurt. Have you ever felt like that? What did you do?


Every Bone a Prayer

“Every Bone a Prayer evokes the magic of my favorite childhood stories—thrilling, but eerie—but it’s also a painful, beautiful, and necessary examination of trauma and autonomy.”  Buzzfeed


“Haunting and healing…a powerful debut that will leave its mark on readers' hearts.” —Kim Michele Richardson, New York Times bestselling author of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek


“This is the kind of book we need to set literary expectations for a new decade. It's so textured, so layered with love and so wonderfully terrifying, intimate and magical.”—Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir

This Book of the Month is sponsored in partnership with Sourcebooks.