Un-Forgettable Friday: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
*Young adult contemporary fantasy
*Fifteen-year-old girl as main character
*Rating: If you are a fan of the Twilight series, you will love City of Bones and its sequels. Check them out now!
Short, short summary: I know why I love City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. School Library Journal said it was “Buffy-esque.” That’s good enough for me! Clary Fray’s life changes when she is at a nightclub with her best bud, Simon, and she sees three tattoo-covered teenagers kill another teen, who then disappears. This immediately puts her into the world of the Shadowhunters (humans who kill demons), and she soon finds out that she has some Shadowhunter blood, too. Her mother, Jocelyn, is missing because she is the only Shadowhunter who knows where the Mortal Cup is, and a powerful Shadowhunter named Valentine wants it at any cost. This is all new to Clary, who had her memories erased when she was young, and she is quickly introduced to this new “magical” view of New York City by Shadowhunter teenagers: Jace, dreamy and mysterious; Isabelle, beautiful and graceful; and Alec, broody and the only homosexual character in the book. Twists and turns happen in every chapter, and teen fantasy lovers will enjoy this first book of the series.
So, what do I do with this book?
1. Teens will most likely read this book at home or as part of an independent reading assignment. One of the activities they can do is compare and contrast themselves with one of the characters: Clary, Simon, Jace, Isabelle, or Alec. All of these teenagers in the book have strengths and weaknesses that readers can relate to. Students could write several journal pages while reading as they get to know the characters better.
2. The setting of City of Bones is present day New York City. Could this book take place in another city? Does it matter that it is New York? Ask students to think about this question. If they think this novel could take place in another large city such as Los Angeles, ask them to write or discuss how this would change certain plot points. Why do they think Cassandra Clare chose New York City for the setting?
3. Why is City of Bones believable even though it is fantasy, or is it? Ask students to debate or write about this question. Does Cassandra Clare stick to the rules of her fantasy world? What are some of the rules? Why is this important when writing fantasy?
Have you read City of Bones? What did you think?