by Ashley-Hollinger, Mika

Filled with adventure, suspense, and the joys of simple living, Precious Bones, will transport readers to a time and place that offer a rich and rare blend of magic and mystery.

Ten-year-old Bones lives with her parents on the edge of a magnificent Florida swamp. Bones's father, Nolay who is part Miccosukee Indian, is wise, but he's also as inquisitive and mischievous as a raccoon. Her mama is as practical as corn bread. With an assortment of animals, in-cluding Pearl, Bones's pet pig, the family lives a peaceful, happy life.

The summer of 1949 is drawing to an end. Bones and her best friend, Little Man, have spent most days fishing, hunting, and exploring the swamp. All is well until the day two Yankee real estate agents drive out to Bones's house and Nolay chases them away with a gun. Not long after, a huge storm blows through, and Bones and Little Man discover something horrible out in Nolay's beloved swamp. Their small community is rocked by the news of two murders within two weeks. As evidence pointing toward Nolay mounts up, Bones's life begins to unravel. The thin thread of hope that her father will be found innocent is held in the hands of the bumbling Sheriff LeRoy, who Bones thinks is as slow as pond water. Will the sheriff come through? Is Nolay innocent? Bones is determined to take matters into her own hands, and if clearing her father's name requires a miracle, then a miracle is what she will deliver.

Mika Ashley-Hollinger was born and spent her childhood on the east coast of Florida. Precious Bones is her debut novel: she wrote it in tribute to a way of life that has all but disappeared. Mika lives with her husband and assortment of endangered birds and wild chickens on protected wetland in Hawaii.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Annelie Geissler

Available View on Rightsdesk


Bones, a sweetly naive but feisty protagonist, is surrounded by a cast of unusual and well-developed characters. Social issues, such as the discrimination of the local African American community, bigotry against Nolay, child and spousal abuse, and the specter of tourism and land development, are all addressed though certainly not resolved. An intriguing debut, written lovingly to a way of life now lost.

Review: Booklist

...a bighearted, gracefully written, and atmospheric mystery. It’s Bones’s narrative voice, folksy and true, that gives this story its heart.

Review: Publishers Weekly

Issues of race and gender are explored in a cursory way as well, but there's plenty of fun mixed in to keep the mood from getting too heavy.

Review: School Library Journal

A spirited tale and fascinating setting, but it is Bones who shines.

Review: Kirkus

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