Every Bone a Prayer Summary

Every Bone a Prayer Summary

Every Bone a Prayer by Ashley Blooms (Author)

The hollow of Misty doesn’t differ that much from thousands of hollows in the range of the Appalachian Mountains. However, to Misty, the place she calls home is special. The ten-year-old girl can hear things in the wind, in the creek where the crawdads sing. What you need to do, is know how to listen.

Misty has a sister named Penny, who always talks about what appears outside of the trailer they call home. Misty also has parents, who would chatter about punishments and sins all day. None of that interests Misty, as she is filled with hurt. A terrible thing happened to her the day her neighbor William concerned her in the barn of their place. She wants to get back to the Misty she was before, but she doesn’t know how to listen bravely as she did.

The girl is small but is as tough as a nail. She is hurt, yet still endearing. Her choices are limited, but her fight is boundless. Written by a survivor of sexual abuse, the characters in this novel all went into a battle with each other and with themselves. The path to heal is thorny but in no way is bleak.

Every Bone A Prayer is written beautifully and harrowingly from cover to cover. Unlike anything you’ve read before, it is bound to keep you mesmerized. Readers of it say that the cocktail of feelings inside the book – beauty, horror, and pain – is magical. As a debut novel, Ashley Blooms has announced her arrival as one of the most exciting voices in the new faces of literature. 

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Ashley Blooms is the debut author of EVERY BONE A PRAYER (Sourcebooks, 2020), about a young girl who, in trying to learn more about her secret empathic ability, becomes entangled in her Appalachian community’s dark past. She must try to help heal their wounds–and her own–in order to break generational cycles of abuse.

Born and raised in Cutshin, Kentucky, Blooms received her MFA as a John and Renee Grisham Fellow at the University of Mississippi. Her short stories have appeared in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Strange Horizons, among others. Her nonfiction has appeared in the Oxford American. She’s been awarded scholarships from the Clarion Writer’s Workshop and Appalachian Writer’s Workshop, served as fiction editor for the Yalobusha Review, and worked as an editorial intern and first reader for Tor.com.


"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

"Every Bone A Prayer is a difficult, important, and beautifully rendered story of generational trauma, survival, and healing. The characters I met within its pages have stayed with me, their names and stories etched on my memory." - NPR

"A beautifully rendered coming-of-age tale for a wide range of readers." - Library Journal

"In this haunting debut novel, Blooms makes a mystical exploration of the hidden power that lies within and the strategies assault survivors can undertake to regain a feeling of ownership over body and mind." - Booklist

"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

"I have loved Every Bone a Prayer since I saw an early draft years ago, loved Misty, her family, her secret talents, and the way she sees the world around her, from the crawfish in muddy water to the ghostly trees she runs past in the night, to the trailer park where she and her family barely survive. This is a book and a writer I highly recommend." - Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard out of Carolina

"Haunting and healing, Every Bone A Prayer is 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

"I couldn't stop reading Ashley Bloom's raw-boned language that carried me on young Misty's journey. While the weight on her skin threatened to take her under, the current of hope had me rooting for Misty to rise up. I can't wait to see this book shoot into the stratosphere." - Leah Weiss, author of If the Creek Don't Rise

"Ashley Blooms sings in an authentic mountain voice that reminds me of another great coal-country elegist: whatever the family Bible may record, she and Hazel Dickens are surely the closest of kin. Like a hawk over a hollow, Blooms both soars and sees all." - Andy Duncan, author of An Agent of Utopia

"Searing and soothing, honest and elusive, Every Bone a Prayer is a gift. It's the pure truth, told slant." - Alix E. Harrow, author of The Ten Thousand Doors of January