Pinterest tracking pixel
If you are having difficulty navigating this website please contact us at or 1-833-959-2686.
Oops! The page didn’t load right. Please refresh and try again.
All booksLiterary fictionSalvage the Bones
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
Literary fiction

Salvage the Bones

by Jesmyn Ward

Quick take

The award-winning story of a young girl and her brothers, who band together to survive a deadly hurricane nearing their small Mississippi town.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_HeavyRead

    Heavy read

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_WellKnownAuthor

    Famous author

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SlowRead

    Slow build


They heard it on the radio: A hurricane is coming, threatening the town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi. Esch's hard-drinking father can feel it in his bones. Esch and her brothers are trying to help prepare, but there are other worries, too. Skeetah is watching his prized pit bull, helpless as her new litter dies one by one. Randall, when not preoccupied with basketball, is busy looking after the youngest, junior. And Esch, fifteen and motherless among men, has just realized that she's pregnant. The children of this family have always been short on nurture, but they are fiercely loyal to one another. It is together that they will face the building storm—and the day that will dawn after.

Read less

Member thoughts

All (843)
All (843)
Love (393)
Like (345)
Dislike (105)
864 ratings
  • 45% Love
  • 40% Like
  • 12% Dislike
  • Cumberland, VA

    This is a novel about Hurricane Katrina, and it will make you cry. It’s thought provoking, beautifully written, and will stay with you long after you read the final page. I cannot recommend it enough.

  • Cincinnati , OH

    Prose is AWESOME-love the metaphors- I could FEEL them. She expresses the love btwn a boy & dog better than anything I’ve read & my heart broke - for victims of Katrina, climate change, inequality etc

  • Waco, TX

    This book really brought to light the differences in some peoples lives to those who have the comforts they take for granted. This made me cry , laugh, and stand beside the protaganists & her brothers

  • Denver, CO

    Ms. Ward takes the reader on a journey through one of the most catastrophic weather event in our present day history while weaving the story of a loving family trying to make it another day.........

  • Harvest, AL

    I purchased this book based on the summary and the cover of the book is gorgeous. I really felt like I was physically there in the throws of life with the characters of this book. Beautifully written.

  • Brooklyn, NY

    This book was so beautifully written, infused with mythos both as a theme and an allusion, centering itself around women living in men's worlds and the intended/unintended consequences during a storm.

  • Chicago, IL

    Salvage the Bones is a tense but necessary read—an unmaking of Biblical proportions. Ward humanizes the people who were vilified after Katrina and reminds us that the victims have their own voices.

  • San Diego, CA

    Salvage the Bones is a tough and graphic read that was hard to get through at times, resembling the subject matter of Hurricane Katrina. It was beautiful too and I am a better person for reading it.

  • Minneapolis, MN

    I was shocked by this book in the best of ways. I knew it would be a hard read, but it changed my mind and opened my eyes to perspectives I had never considered. What a hauntingly beautiful story.

  • Denham Springs, LA

    With all the turmoil happening in everyone’s lives, building and climaxing with the tumultuous hurricane Katrena, it was a great story! More importantly, it shows how poverty plays a major role.

  • Helena, MT

    A very important book that checks off all the boxes: a brutal coming of age story about love, family, poverty, motherhood, and hope. Exquisitely written and hauntingly beautiful. A masterpiece.

  • St. Charles, IL

    Wow! Jesmyn Ward is an un real author! Absolutely captivating. A story of love and family and a reminder that no matter how much you plan you can never really know what life has coming for you.

  • Lansing, MI

    I really enjoyed the feel of this book. I felt really submerged into the main character and how she felt. Her was able to show me the thoughts and feelings had of a family before a hurricane!

  • Oregon, WI

    Loved this book. I can’t believe that the whole book took place in less than 2 weeks. I found myself rooting for the characters more and more as the storm approached. Fantastic ending too.

  • Denver, CO

    Bone-chilling & delicious.Everyone should read at least one Jesmyn Ward book in their lifetimes and STB is an excellent contender for the coveted spot. But, really, just read all of them.

  • Gainesville, VA

    I didn't expect to love this book as much as I did. It's a powerful, classic novel that I read with mostly bated breath out of anxiety for all the characters, both human and animal.

  • Lincoln, NE

    Jesmyn Ward will make you love her family driven characters, all of them, and then smash your heart to bits. This one’s gritty and hard to read at times, but well worth the effort.

  • Cooperstown, NY

    I specifically sought this book out after "Song, Unburied, Sing." I think I will read every book Ward writes. This one is, so far, my favorite. The last chapter still sits with me.

  • Morris, CT

    I would give it 10 stars if I could. A phenomenal book. This author is one I will always read. Her writing is gorgeous. Her material is raw. Must read - do it as soon as you can.

  • Largo, FL

    Wow... the characters in this story were so life-like; the story had me constantly putting myself in their shoes... This book really grabs you and will not let you put it down.

Literary fiction
  • Nothing to See Here
  • Transcendent Kingdom
  • Dominicana
  • What's Mine and Yours
  • Infinite Country
  • The Prophets
  • The Office of Historical Corrections
  • Normal People
  • Betty
  • Salvage the Bones
  • Ask Again, Yes
  • Black Buck
  • The History of Love
  • Luster
  • The Remains of the Day
  • The Secret History
  • The Kite Runner
  • Memorial
  • The Gifted School
  • The Death of Vivek Oji
  • Valentine
  • Leave the World Behind
  • The Knockout Queen
  • Free Food for Millionaires
  • A Burning
  • Writers & Lovers
  • The Mothers
  • The Water Dancer
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing
  • Small Country
  • Red Clocks
  • The Sympathizer
  • Prep
  • Fleishman Is in Trouble
  • Lot
  • An American Marriage
  • The Animators
  • The Leavers
  • Swing Time
  • The Mars Room
  • Exit West
  • The Windfall
  • White Fur
  • Chemistry
  • Woman No. 17
  • The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
  • Eat Only When You're Hungry
  • Rainbirds
  • Unsheltered
  • A Ladder to the Sky
  • Golden Child
  • Life of Pi
  • The Goldfinch
  • Little Women
  • Topics of Conversation
  • The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P
  • & Sons
  • Perfect Little World
  • Lolly Willowes
  • All Grown Up
  • Marlena
  • The Poisonwood Bible