Doll Bones, by Holly Black (2013)

Horror (but very mild)
Ages 10-13
Doll BonesThis is the story of three kids who are growing up and aren’t sure they want to. At age 12, Zach, Alice and Poppy know they are getting to old to play out fantasy stories with dolls – Barbies, action figures, and thrift store dolls. But Poppy’s stories are so compelling, and they enjoy the game so much, all are willing to put up with occasional bullying and taunting. Until Zach’s father, recently back in the family home, decides it’s time to end the nonsense. Enraged and hurt, Zach abandons the game without explanation, but Poppy convinces him and Alice to help a restless ghost. Is it another of Poppy’s stories, or is there truly something sinister about the doll Queenie? On the cusp of teenhood, the three friends cling to childhood one moment, and reject it the next. Black is well-known as a co-author of the Spiderwick Chronicles for younger readers, and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown for teens. Here she delivers an introduction to horror for the group in between. It took a while for me to warm up to this one; Zach’s character is well developed, but I wanted to know more about Poppy and Alice, and I expected further development of the deliciously menacing pink-haired librarian as well. It is a Newbery Honor for 2014, so obviously I’m in a minority here, but honestly I would recommend Gaiman’s work – Coraline, or The Graveyard Book – over this one.
More discussion and reviews of this novel: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15944406

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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

One Response to Doll Bones, by Holly Black (2013)

  1. I described this to a friend of mine with two daughters under 10 and she was quite horrified, so it’s perhaps more grisly for adults than for kids, oddly enough. If anyone has read this, or if you know children who have, leave a comment about the horror.

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