Doll Bones by Holly Black, Margaret K McElderry Books (May 7, 2013)
Grade 5-9, 256pgs (Hardcover)
So I recently reviewed a great Horror novel for Young Adults for our library, and now I get to review one for Junior Fiction. Doll Bones has everything you could want in a Junior Fiction horror novel: an old doll in a case with a story, make-believe that just might be real, and a quest with just the right scare factor to be thrilling, not nightmare inducing (hey we are talking a JF book here). This book is a Newbery Honor book, and when my dog ate my first copy (seriously, she shredded it) I wanted to read this badly enough I bought another copy.
Our main character is Zachary Barlow (Zach). He and his two best friends Alice and Poppy have been playing a game of make-believe so long it has taken on a life of its own. The story involves pirates, thieves and a Great Queen (the creepy old doll in the cabinet). But now Zach is getting older and his Dad does not think a thirteen year old boy, star of the middle-school basket ball team should be playing action-figures with girls. Alice is an orphan being raised by a hyper-protective Grandmother and is thinking she might want to try out for a play. Poppy is a red-haired firecracker who makes up stories for the Game, and thinks this might be the time for one last epic story….
So I won’t go spoiling the plot for anyone, but it is a great tale, and like I mentioned, some chilling moments, but nothing gruesome or terribly scary. At the heart of this book is a mystery, and a quest and the question, are we ever too old to play make-believe? This would make a great story to read on the road, or traveling, or under the covers late at night.
For more about the book and Holly Black’s other fantastic stories go to: