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Doll Bones by Holly Black

Doll Bones by Holly Black

Doll BonesA coworker of mine was very enthusiastic about Holly Black’s work thus far, specifically mentioning “Doll Bones” so I popped over to Overdrive and checked out the audio version read by Nick Podehl.

The story, if anything, is about imagination.  Zach, Poppy, and Alice are in middle school now and everyone around them is getting older, losing time for make believe games about pirates, princesses, ferocious beasts, and never ending quests.  Zach’s dad thinks so too and throws out all of his dolls and action figures.  Too embarrassed to tell Poppy and Alice the truth, that he cried when they went missing, he decides that he too has outgrown them.  Dismayed, Poppy threatens to take the Queen out of her chest, the old, porcelain doll the three are too afraid to play with.  Then the dreams begin, or so Poppy claims.  The Queen, according to Poppy’s dreams, is made of bone china, typically made from ground animal bones.  She however is made of the bones of Eleanor, a young gal who mysteriously died and needs to be buried.

Poppy convinces Zach and Alice to go on a quest – to journey into Ohio and bury the doll so that Eleanor can rest in peace (and hope that Alice’s grandmother won’t ground her forever).  They leave in the dead of night and begin their bus adventure which turns to a walking adventure which turns into a stolen row boat adventure, a breaking into libraries adventure, a stolen bicycle adventure, and then a digging in graveyards adventure.  The trio falls apart and rebuilds their friendship throughout and learns a thing or two about real adventurers.

While I thought it was a strong story, I found character development to be a little lacking.  Told through Zach’s eyes you learn that he is a fairly developed character but you don’t really get a whole lot of insight into what brought the trio together to begin with so their interactions seem a little forced.  It is possible though that that can be attributed to their aging and growing apart from one another as well.  If you are interested in your child reading this story, I would recommend reading it first or reading it with them – scary not real things and scary real things wander into their path.

– a post from Sarah

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