Saturday, May 11, 2019

Review: Doll Bones by Holly BLack

Author: Holly Black
Publsiher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: May 2013

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 went into Doll Bones expecting a good spooky middle grade book.  That was the impression I got when I read the synopsis. Unfortunately, the book did not live up to my expectations.    It had a lot of potential but fell short for me.  The book ended up being more of a coming of age story about a boy and his two childhood friends making the transition from children to teens.  Navigating the time when you put away the dolls and move onto more mature things can be hard for kids to figure out.

The story is told from the perspective of Zach only.  So we never really get to know Poppy and Alice enough to care about them or their reasons for going on their "adventure".  Had we seen what Alice says she saw with the doll through her own perspective, I think the story would have been a lot creepier.  The "quest" they went on because of the doll was interesting, but kind of unrealistic at the same time.  The ending was abrupt and completely unsatisfying.  I would have loved to find out what happened after the kids got home.  

I know that, obviously, I am not the target audience for this book.  However, I still probably wouldn't recommend this one for any of the middle graders that I do know.  There are much better books out there with more exciting spooky stories.

No comments: