Title: Doll Bones
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Genres: MG, Adventure
Reviewed by: Angie Edwards
My rating: 3/5
Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity . . .
This is the first book I’ve read written by Holly Black, but definitely not the last. I honestly don’t have much to say about Doll Bones, though. Everything about it was just okay. I was enticed by the cover and the book summary, and I was hoping for some action and maybe a little horror, or at the very least a menacing doll that would raise the hairs on the back of my neck, but apparently this is not quite such a book.
I’m giving Doll Bones a three-star rating because I managed to finish it in two sittings, and because the writing is good. As an adult reader, I wasn’t too impressed with this novel. I understand and appreciate that the plot revolves around the bonds these three friends have, about growing up and leaving some small part of their childhood behind without sacrificing their friendship. I got that, but the summary promised a sinister doll and that’s what I didn’t get from this story. It felt as though I was dragged along on a tiring trip to another state to bury the remains of a dead girl in which I had absolutely zero interest. Not even the illustrations were enough to evoke a few feels.
All in all Doll Bones is a good story that many a young reader might enjoy. It has its merits, but mostly I was rather bored while reading it and kept getting distracted. I didn’t feel invested in the characters in any way, and the doll was more an afterthought than the main plot. Doll Bones lacks adventure and excitement, but still has enough elements to entertain both boys and girls in the age group for which it was written.
ABOUT the AUTHOR
Holly Black is a best-selling author of contemporary fantasy novels for kids, teens, and adults. She is the author of the Modern Faerie Tale series (Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside), The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), and The Good Neighbors graphic novels (with Ted Naifeh) The Poison Eaters and Other Stories, a collection of short fiction, and The Curse Worker series (White Cat, Red Glove, and Black Heart). She is also the co-editor of three anthologies, Geektastic (with Cecil Castellucci), Zombies vs. Unicorns (with Justine Larbalestier), and Welcome to Bordertown (with Ellen Kushner). Her most recent works are the middle grade novel, Doll Bones, and the dark fantasy stand-alone, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.
She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, Theo, in a house with a secret library.
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