Doll Bones

A Newbery award winning book written by Holly Black

Flyer by Anna Austin

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This ominous read will leave you with a love/hate relationship. For the majority of people, it's a LOVE.
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Dolls. Ghosts. Bones of a child, long dead. These are all things you will find in this eerie story about 3 kids who refuse to grow up.

Author's Craft

Do you like feeling as if you are right there in your favorite book, experiencing what the characters are doing as they do it? Of course you do! Holly Black knows how to make that happen with her stunning descriptions of the settings. Her imagery makes it easy to see through the eyes of Zach, Poppy, and Alice, and makes you want to keep reading! You are never plagued with questions like, "I thought they were in a forest! Where did they get a car?" or "If they are inside, why are they getting rained on?" You might say sometimes enough is enough, and Holly realizes that by doing enough to give you a good picture, but not so much the story takes forever to get anywhere. No more rereading pages to realize what is going on, where they are, how they got there. It is incredibly easy to just sit back and enjoy the book!

Mini Summary

Zach, Poppy, and Alice are three middle schoolers who don't want to grow up. They still play with dolls and action figures even though everyone is pressuring them to act their age, especially Zach's dad. Zach has no choice and quits their fantastic make-believe game for basketball.

Suddenly, Poppy says they need to have one last adventure to put a the ghost of a girl who was turned into a doll to rest. Zach and Alice are sceptical, but go along with it anyway. Their adventure leads them to East Liverpool, Ohio, and along the way lots of surprising things happen to the trio as they discover what really happened to the girl and why she was turned into the doll they call the Doll Queen.

This 244 page book is a great adventure story that is sure to keep you interested from the start to finish. Holly Black did a great job writing this Newbery award winning book.

Intended Audience

Doll Bones by Holly Black is intended for a younger audience- 4th to 6th grade is best. It doesn't matter if it is a boy or girl reader, although to fully enjoy the book it is best to like adventures, pirates, and ghosts. Although there is some very tense arguments, there no swearing and nothing inappropriate. Some parts are creepy but nothing goes overboard.

Want an example? Here you go!

"Poppy touched the doll's face. It was pure white, like a dinner plate. Hair, as dry as brush bristles, was threaded into her scalp, and her cheeks and lips were rouged a faint pink. When she was tilted onto her back, her eyes stayed open instead of closing the way they should have, as though she was still watching Zach. There was a tear at the shoulder of her thin, brittle gown and tiny pinholes through the discolored fabric. " Page: 61

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In many stories there is a symbol of some sort woven throughout the book, giving it a deeper meaning. Doll Bones is no exception, as the symbol I found was a ghost.

The ghost represents Zach's troubles because the ghost wants her body to be buried more than anything, and Zach wants to bury his troubles. The doll is buried by the kids, and his troubles he tried to bury by not telling Poppy and Alice about them.

"And that anger curled inside his belly and crawled up his throatuntil it felt like it might choke him. Until he was sure that there was no way he could ever tell anyone what had happened without all his anger spilling out and engulfing everything.

And the only way to not tell anyone was to end the game." Page: 30

" 'She told me I had to bury her. She said she couldn't rest until her bones were in her own grave, and if I didn't help her, she would make me sorry.' " Pages: 62-63

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Last Words

Doll Bones is a fantastic book- Ask almost anyone, they'll probably agree! Countless people enjoy the adventures of Zach, Poppy, and Alice. The majority of readers would rate this book 5 stars. Besides, who DOESN'T like a story with pirates and ghosts?