Monday, June 2, 2014

Review: Doll Bones by Holly Black


One of my first introductions to Holly Black was the Spiderwick Chronicles series, which she wrote with Tony DiTerlizzi.  This was the very first series of books that my child adored.  I mean sleep under the covers and carry with to school everyday books.   Needless to say, I was super excited to be able to read Doll Bones by Holly Black. 

First, I loved the make believe games that Alice, Poppy and Zach were playing together.  The ideas and characters that they created were so imaginative and creative, way more then anything that I ever played as a kid with my friends. Although, I did give my Barbie a very cool wedding.  

Alice, Poppy and Zach are getting ready to move up to middle school and in a lot of ways will begin to grow up.  But, Zach's dad tries to hurry things along by throwing away his prized collection of figures that he uses to play "the game" with Alice and Poppy.  Zach is upset and hurt by what his father did and he doesn't seem to know how to tell the girls that he can't play anymore.  So, he pretends that he just doesn't want to play the game anymore.   Poppy and Alice are also hurt by Zach's reaction and even try to entice him to come back.  Poppy offers to take her moms prize possession, a china doll that they lovingly call The Queen out and use her to play one final game together, but Zach doesn't budge.  So, late one night, Alice and Poppy show up at Zach's house telling him about a dream Poppy had about Queen. Poppy says Queen is actually made from a girl named Eleanor that mysteriously died and now she wants the children to take her to East Liverpool and bury her under a tree in the cemetery.   So Alice, Poppy and Zach begin a quest to try to uncover the truth about Eleanor and set things right.   
I found Doll Bones to be very creepy and yet, I could hardly put the book down.  I was so engrossed in wanting to find out how the story would end.   It was just one of those books that got under my skin in a good way. I think it started with the cover, 
there was something about the way Queen looks on that cover and the dark shadows of Poppy, Alice and Zach in the boat that just screams creepy.  It's also in Queen possibly being possessed and her telling her story in the children's dreams.   Then when Poppy starts acting differently after having these dreams it gives you this eerie feeling.  I could never really determine whether Poppy was making up this last game or not and that is some of the charm of the story because it leaves it open to the reader to decide.  I found the characters to be pretty easy to relate to. Maybe because, I had an older sibling who went off to college and one of my favorite childhood friends went off to middle school before me.  The whole concept of growing up and wanting to hold on to your friends like Poppy really resonated with me.  I find this happening more and more at the end of each Summer with my own child, not wanting them to grow up so fast but noticing that even a few months have changed them.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading Doll Bones with all its creepiness and messages about friendship and coming of age.  A big thank you to Deb Marshall for the giveaway of Doll Bones over at her blog

I will be playing the book forward by donating it to the school library.  


  1. This does sound creepy. I'm hoping to read it one of these days.

    1. Maybe it was just me, I find dolls like the one on the cover kind of creepy but it was a really good book and the coming of age pieces were sweet.