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Doll Bones by Holly Black
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Doll Bones

by Holly Black

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,0661037,857 (3.79)45
  1. 10
    Coraline by Neil Gaiman (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Readers will savor the tension of both horror stories involving characters seeking ways to put souls to rest. Each story explores the distinctions between fantasy and reality in a deliciously creepy way.
  2. 10
    The Doll in the Garden: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn (HollyMS)
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» See also 45 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
Fun book to read! Easy to relate to middle school characters, but content may be a little scary.
  tania.taylor1967 | Jun 7, 2017 |
This book, Doll Bones is a creepy story. It is about how a group of friends like playing with their doll and make up crazy stories with them. They are all best friends and play together after school, their names are Poppy, Alice, and Zach. Poppy has an antique doll that told her that her body is made of the body of the girls bones and ashes. The doll needs to be buried with the dead girls body or she will haunt them. They all get on a train and have a crazy adventure to her grave. When they got there they dressed her the way she wanted to be and put her on her proper grave next to her family.

I gave this book a four star rating because it was creepy and intriguing. The thought of a doll being made of a dead girl gave me the chills. I thought it was cool that all the friends went on a trip without their parents catching them. It would be so cool if I could do that. Anyway, on their way to the graveyard was very interesting to read. It got creepy in some parts of the book. I didn't like the book because I felt like it could've been more interesting. ( )
  KylieH.B4 | Jun 1, 2017 |
Zachary, Alice, and Poppy are three best friends that have long been involved in The Game, an immersive fantasy world where their various toys are actually characters in an elaborate and ever-evolving story. Their game does not involve a playing board or set of dice, but is all a product of their imaginations, which means it can be done anywhere and at any time. However, the trio are getting older, and playing epic quests with toys is starting to become more difficult. Peer pressure and hormones are coming into play. To make things worse, Zachary's dad has recently moved back in with the family, and is trying to reconnect by asserting himself as a father figure. This results in his throwing out all of Zach's toys while Zach is at school, deeming them too babyish and likely to get him teased. Some of those figurines, though, were the characters that Zach played with as his main characters in The Game. Torn by a whirlwind of conflicting emotions - rage at his father, embarrassment when wondering what his basketball friends would say, and a suspicion that maybe he was being too childish after all - Zach doesn't know what to do. Rather than have to explain all of this, and bring up problematic relationship with father, he decides not to tell Poppy and Alice what actually happened. Instead, he says that he thinks The Game is silly and he has outgrown it, and he doesn't want to play any more.

Needless to say, both girls are incredibly hurt. Not only do they want Zach to continue playing with them, but they take his words as an indirect insult against them, that they are playing childish games, and think that he might just be saying that he no longer wants to be their friend. Alice backs off because of her injured feelings, but Poppy, following her aggressive nature, keeps picking at it, pushing Zach to act colder and meaner than he intended. When it seems that the trio are heading to certain break up, Poppy approaches Zach with an odd story: she thinks her doll is possessed by a ghost named Eleanor and is communicating with her.

At first, Zach ignores Poppy's story. He thinks she is making one last, far-fetched attempt to get him back into The Game. Because the doll is an integral part of their fantasy world: she is the Great Queen, the ruler who runs all of the activities in the made-up land they created. The doll actually belongs to Poppy's mom, and is a delicate, antique toy that is kept secure behind glass. She is like the supreme being of their world. It is not surprising, then, that Zack thinks Poppy is just employing her typical dramatic flair to affect a reconciliation. However, when quiet and more serious Alice tells him that she is on board, Zach agrees to Poppy's plan. Which is that the three of them take the doll to find Eleanor's grave, allowing her to finally be at peace. Of course, the grave isn't in their city, so the three preteen children will have to sneak out, disobey their parents, and steal the doll to make it happen. Considering that all three of them have some unresolved issues with their families - Zach is still mad at his dad and not willing to let him back into his life, Alice is bridling under the strict and overprotective care of her grandmother, and Poppy isn't too happy with her parents hardly being around and leaving their large gang of children to fend for themselves - more issues than the dolls haunting are at stake. They take a bus out of town in the middle of the night, and experience plenty of strange and sometimes unsettling events that make them feel they are on a real-life adventure. A strange man on the bus talks about aliens changing people's faces, one night their campsite is trashed and it seems that only Eleanor (the doll) could have done it, Zach and Poppy keep having strange dreams that seem to be about Eleanor's past life, and they even borrow a boat one day to try to travel more quickly. Eventually they do make it to their desired location, only to realize that resolving Eleanor's problem isn't their only mission on this quest - they also need to make some decisions about their own families and lives.

Holly Black creates some amazing fantasy work, and one of my favorite things about reading her stories is she makes the lives and families of her human characters just as important as the fantasy elements they encounter. In fact, in every story I have read by her, the personal inner issues that the central characters are struggling with become entwined with the fantasy adventure that is simultaneously occurring. In this case, the three main characters are not just helping a ghost possessed doll, they are also running away from issues with their families and with their friendship with each other, and their quest for Eleanor forces them to face those realities, as well. That is some great characterization. The author knows how to write fantasy that has heart, depth, and complexity. Another wonderful feature of this particular story is the ambiguity surrounding Eleanor. ( )
1 vote nmhale | Apr 2, 2017 |
Read for class review
  Mimarler | Mar 18, 2017 |
The concept of this book sets it up for a good paranormal / horror story, and the writing is solid enough to keep you reading. Poppy, Zach, and Alice set out on an adventure to return the spirit of a young girl, who was murdered and turned into a bone china doll by her insane father, to her grave. The doll possesses their thoughts and dreams, forcing them to continue on their quest despite the test of their friendship. This is a good suspense and somewhat scary story for a young reader.... the audience to which it is aimed. Recommended read for the aged 9 to 12 group. ( )
  SheilaCornelisse | Feb 9, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Holly Blackprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chaghatzbanian, SoniaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wheeler, ElizaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Katherine Rudden, who played the game with me long after we were old enough to stop
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Poppy set down one of the mermaid dolls close to the stretch of asphalt road that represented the Blackest Sea.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Zach, Alice, and Poppy, friends from a Pennsylvania middle school who have long enjoyed acting out imaginary adventures with dolls and action figures, embark on a real-life quest to Ohio to bury a doll made from the ashes of a dead girl.

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