Jan 3, 2018

Review--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 . . .

Holly Black’s Doll Bones was a most intriguing and slightly creepy read indeed! I mean, there’s a freaky looking doll in it, so yeah, creepy! But it was also a beautifully told story of age story. That time when you’re young, on the cusp of being a teenager and needing to leave your childlike ways behind. This is the story of three friends who go on one final quest, one last adventure before they have to leave behind their childish games.

Zach, Poppy, and Alice have been best friends for years. Their favorite pastime is playing a game they created, one of make-believe, magic, pirates, mermaids, and a queen that needs to be saved. It’s pretty much all fun and games, even though they are twelve years old. They keep their game a secret from their other classmates, because they don’t want to be made fun of. Then one day, Zach comes home to find that his father has thrown away all his toys, the special toys that he used in their games of make believe. He’s told that it’s time for him to grow up, focus on basketball and being with his “other” friends.

But Poppy, the one who comes up with the ideas for their games the most, has other plans in mind. The queen they always fight to protect is none other than a doll made from a very delicate china or porcelain that Poppy’s mom always keeps locked in a curio cabinet. She comes to Zach and Alice one night saying that she had a dream that a young girl looking exactly like the doll told Poppy she needed to bury her with her family under the willow tree. Only thing is, the cemetery is a few hours away in Ohio. It’s not long before the trio goes on one final quest to put their beloved queen to rest.

I had remembered hearing good things about this book from the blogosphere some years back and can’t quite remember what made me decide to pick this one up. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that “strange” things happen while the friends are on their quest. Creepy things, like how the doll just seems to stare knowingly at you. How some of the people they encounter refer to the trio as a quartet! Odd, unexplainable things! And I loved every bit about that!!

I haven’t read much Middle Grade books in my time. I can’t even remember what I read when I was this age and before I turned to YA books. This is definitely one I would’ve enjoyed back then, because what child didn’t play make believe games with their friends? I always loved that time myself! All the varieties of games that were played, it makes reminiscing all the better! And what was sad even back then was when you found yourself drifting away from those games, no matter how much you would rather stay and play them. This is what Zach and his friends are dealing with. Though I don’t think I’d ever be able to run across state-lines at 12 years old!

There was a small mystery woven into the story as well! It was quite surprising and I must say I enjoyed it, even if it was a little grisly and dark. The ending of the book itself was light-hearted enough to shine over that bit of darkness. All’s well that ends well.

Doll Bones was an eerie sort of read but at its heart is a powerful book about friendship and the art of growing up. Though it’s not until you’re an adult you realize how much you miss all those childhood games and miss the simplicity of childhood.

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars



  1. Oh boy. This sounds creepy and wonderful. I do a children's book feature on my blog and this would be perfect.

  2. Great review. This one sounds creepy but interesting. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm going to add it to my TBR list. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I've never heard of Doll Bones, but after reading your review, I really want to pick it up. It sounds so creepy and like something I'd really enjoy. Thanks for sharing your review.


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