Doll Bones by Holly Black
Publisher: Random House Audio
Available: Now, May 14th 2013
Source: Random House Audio for review
Background: Zach, Poppy, and Alice are a group of friends that are around the age of 12 and they still play with dolls. Poppy is very imaginative and creates an ongoing tale for their characters all centering on a bone china doll her mother keeps in a locked glass cabinet. When Zach decides he needs to leave the game, Poppy removes the doll from her case and they learn that there is more to her than just a spooky gaze.
Review: I love Holly Black; she is such a creative writer. Doll Bones is a hauntingly creepy tale about a doll that wants to get back to her grave and three kids must get her there by taking the most outrageous adventure. The characters are dealing with the fact that they are all growing up and growing apart and the doll’s quest will give them one last adventure together. The story is told from Zach’s point of view, he is the eldest and dealing with a parent separation/reunion and trying to keep his mind off of reality as much as possible. Poppy, the storyteller, is also dealing with issues at home… or really a lack of parenting altogether. Alice has the opposite of Poppy’s issue, and has a way overprotective grandmother as her caregiver. Each is searching for release from their crazy care circumstances and the doll just happens to help.
The doll is the fantastical part of this plot; she is creepy and frequently irks the reader while the kids carry her to her resting place. I may be reading way too far into it, but I felt like it was an overall portrayal of finding peace with one’s life given your situation – the doll trying to find her resting place, the kids trying to deal with their parents and growing up.
Even without my heavy interpretation of the plot, I think your kids will love it. It sent shivers down my spine as I listened and I am not sure if I were a character I would have taken that doll anywhere.