Sunday, September 28, 2014

MMGM: Doll Bones by Holly Black


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 . . .


I have to admit that for almost half of this book I wasn't sure if I liked the book or not.  The three main characters spent much of the time arguing and the leaving home in the middle of the night struck me as really dangerous for three twelve-year-olds.  But the mystery of the doll and whether the ghost was real kept me reading and by the end the story had won me over.  It was interesting the way the stories intertwined.  The subplots involving growing up, playacting, and adventuring mixed nicely with the 'ghost' story that set Zach,, Poppy, and Alice out on their quest in the first place.  It reminded me that growing up can be a painful process as children deal with changes in friendships, physical changes, and relationships with parents.

The issue that I had serious concerns about was the children's leaving home to go on their quest.  As a teacher librarian the thought of three children on their own scares me more than a little.  I did appreciate the librarian in the story and how she dealt with the kids.  I also appreciated the fact that the children slowly realized that discomfort is a common element in many adventures.  And boy do the children experience discomfort.


  1. I think a lot of MG books have kids going off on their own. Of course, for adults, that sounds scary.

    Sorry you didn't love this. I'm reading Coldest Girl in Coldtown in audio version right now. It's really good.

  2. This sounds creepy good. I have read many books that I was not enthralled with at the start but stuck with them and I was glad I did. Might have to read this one during the Halloween season.

  3. This has been on my radar for awhile. I need to get to it soon. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. I like MG's with a little scare. I can see what you mean about the kids leaving in the middle of the night. I find a common thread in many of the MG's I've read (Charlie Bone, The Land of Elyon series, maybe even Candy Shop War, I can't remember for sure). Anyway, this one sounds good and I'm going to add it to my list. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  5. Love the creepy doll theme! I've noticed in middle grade books there is shockingly little adult supervision!


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