Doll Bones (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) Library Binding – Illustrated, April 14, 2015
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|Library Binding, Illustrated, April 14, 2015||
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*"It's as psychologically haunting as the ghost girl's physical haunting....Black begins with an ordinary experience of childhood and gives it a wicked twist to reveal the truth at the center of the impulse for storytelling."--Jennifer M. Brown "Shelf Awareness, starred review "
"A little bit scary and full of heart, this story grabbed me and wouldn't let go."--Rebecca Stead, Newbery Award winning author of When You Reach Me
"Every encounter redraws the blurry lines between childishness and maturity, truth and lies, secrecy and honesty, magic and madness. Spooky, melancholy, elegiac and ultimately hopeful; a small gem."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Nobody does spooky like Holly Black. "Doll Bones "is a book that will make you sleep with the lights on."--Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series
- Publisher : Turtleback; Bound for Schools & Libraries ed. edition (April 14, 2015)
- Language : English
- Library Binding : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0606363084
- ISBN-13 : 978-0606363082
- Reading age : 10 - 13 years
- Lexile measure : 840L
- Grade level : 5 - 9
- Item Weight : 8.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.1 x 0.9 x 7.6 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #10,678,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The story is about three friends who play imagination games with dolls, who are just reaching the age when kids don’t do that sort of thing anymore. And we all remember that horrible moment in our lives, when we aren’t yet quite ready to move on from the innocent pleasures of our early youth, but we see our friends starting to change and develop the interests that accompany adolescence, as well as all the social judgment that comes with it. I still remember resisting those changes for a while and then turning against my early childhood with a vengeance once I decided it was an embarrassment to me – tossing away toys, readings and collectibles that I had become ashamed of – and regretting this forever after.
Even better yet, this is a ghost story – a story about a creepy doll reputed to have the ashes of a dead girl hidden inside – a girl whom the kids decide, based on a dream, they need to carry to her final resting place. And yeah, everyone can remember the creepy old-fashioned doll that gave rise to such fantasies.
This is also a story about friendship, the intensity of the bonds that kids develop at that age, when they have learned to care about each other and to try to protect each other from a world that won’t just let them be. Kind of like the last line of the film “Stand by Me,” when the writer reflects that never again did he have friends like the ones he had when he was that young. And yes, we do develop great friendships later in our lives to be sure – but it doesn’t feel the same. Friendship in the tween years is intense and loyal and emotional in a way this book really captures.
And of course, like all great stories, this one involves a journey, a quest, and lots of adventure.
I put this book down half-wishing that we could all stay kids forever, feeling that the imagination, innocence and heartfelt loyalty of that age is something we could all use more of. Fortunately the kids of this wonderful story will never grow old, so you can return to re-read about them as many times as you want – even if you’re a jaded adult. Highly recommended.
However, I have to say I was a bit shocked by it. I know probably kids are a bit more sophisticated than in my day, but....it was rather graphic talking about a little girl whose body was grounded up to make porcelain for a doll--and then also have the threat of a creepy pervert on the bus. I read this to relax, and was left feeling a bit ick, even though it was a good story with a happy ending at least.
Our story begins when three lifelong friends (Poppy, Zach & Alice) reach the age of not believing; middle school. These three best friends are starting to grow up and sadly might be starting to drift apart – their bond of friendship will be put to the ultimate test.
All readers will recognize this age of not believing, because everyone has been there. There comes a time during a person’s growing up years, where they reach an age where playing make believe games just doesn’t seem cool anymore.
Yet sometimes deep inside of you there is a small part that wants to hang onto the make believe worlds of your youth – a place where you feel safe & everything seems innocent. Then begins in inner struggle, because you see all your friends slowly maturing and developing interests in other hobbies outside of playing make believe.
For most of their young lives, Poppy, Zach and Alice, have always played one long ever changing continuous game of make believe involving pirates / thieves / mermaids and warriors.
The ruler in this make believe game is the Great Queen. The Great Queen is a bone china doll, who is an antique and resides inside a glass cabinet in Poppy’s living room. Poppy’s Mom has forbidden the children to ever touch the antique doll; which leads to some great inventing in their make believe world. A word of warning though, take care because if you displease the Great Queen she will curse you.
Things really started shifting between the three friends when Zach’s father pushes him into growing up faster than he wants to by throwing away all of Zach’s action figures. This puts poor Zach into a quandary: how will he tell Poppy & Alice that their amazing game of make believe is over forever.
Right after, Zach’s world gets flipped upside down, Poppy begins to have vivid dreams about the Great Queen and a young girl (who just happens to be a ghost). After a while, it is discovered that the ashes of the ghost girl are actually inside of the Great Queen; who is hollow. The ghost girl tells Poppy that she won’t be able to rest in peace until the bone china doll is buried in her empty grave.
Thus begins one last grand adventure, for these three best friends, before their lives are changed forever & there is no looking back – an adventure to lay the Great Queen’s spirit to rest forever. However, nothing goes exactly according to plan and their adventure slowly becomes an epic quest.
While on their last great adventure, creepy things occasionally happen which makes the children wonder if the Great Queen is really just a doll or maybe something else entirely.
To find out what happens to Zach, Poppy and Alice while on their last grand adventure – run out and get a copy of this book. Trust me, you will have an adventure of a lifetime & be on the edge of your seat the whole time.
In Doll Bones, there is a bit of a ghost story, and a few chills up your spine, but nothing too scary or nightmare inducing for 4th graders. This book deals with a lot of real world feelings, the choice between leaving childish games or childhood friends, and carrying them with you into adulthood in a new form. The confusion of being a child living with imperfect adults with fears and disappointments of their own comes through in each of the three friends. There is the fun of a sleepover in a Library with a touch of mr. Lemoncello and the fun of a ride up a river in a pirated sailboat and the overriding mystery of an ancient, bone filled, doll with real hair who may or may not be haunted by the murdered girl she may or may not have been made from. It is simply a fun book and I wish I had written it.
Top reviews from other countries
Unaware of the real reason that Zach is avoiding them, the girls attempt to lure Zack back to the game by freeing the Queen. Once freed from the glass, the Queen's own creepy story begins to unfold. Who is Elspeth Kercher? Why is Poppy suddenly dreaming as her? Are those her bones ground up inside that china doll?
In an attempt to end the game for good, the friends must go together on one last mission to lay the bones of The Queen, Elspeth Kercher to rest in her hometown in the adjacent state. Then maybe she will stop haunting them.
The story is beautifully written and the characters are brilliant- unique, full of their own characteristics, opinions and behaviour with a wonderful dynamic, the reader really gets the sense that they've known each other forever. The pace is excellent and the story, though spooky and spine tingling, is not overly dramatic, the adventure remains within the realms of believability, despite its supernatural nature. I really liked the increasingly complicated relationship between the three protagonists, how their adventure helped them to reconnect and how they coped with their impending adulthood and changing dynamic. It was tragic, in an inevitable sense, but sweet to see.
I loved how much the author cared about the value and the beauty of stories and imagination- through fantasy and play as youngsters and then through to fiction when we are older and what an effect this can have on our lives. I loved how desperate the characters, Zach in particular, were to hold onto that magic- but also how relieved they were to realise that stories and adventure can outlast childhood if you would only allow it to.
It made me feel nostalgic for the boundless imagination that only comes with being a kid, but thankful that the powers of stories are appreciated by contemporary characters. A well crafted story with excellent characters and a spooky, pacy plot that has a lovely folkish reality to it. Funny, full of warmth and mystery and some chilling moments.
It reminded me of a more innocent time in my life, happily playing my Ken & Barbie, Ariel and Prince Eric, and making them swap partners (OK ...). Or getting up at stupid o clock in the morning to play some more, because I couldn’t sleep, and promptly getting told to go back to bed! But it also made me think of when I put my dolls down and turned my attention to more grown up things.
The three children in this are 12 and are at that stage in their lives where they are starting to become more worldly but at the same time need a good spanking from the adults, to remind them that they’re still children. The whole hint at romance between Zach and Alice was just plain silly in my opinion, but then I couldn’t help but relate it to my own experiences (first kiss at 17). While it never goes any further than “my mate fancies you”, it was a little awkward and off putting.
This book is aimed at kids much the same age, but I felt like reading it as an adult, it really didn’t know who its target audience was. The writing was quite confused - the romance hint could have been left out and it would not have affected the story in the slightest. The parents/grandparents storyline, was also unnecessary, as I found myself wanting to find out more about Zach’s parents and Alice’s grandmother. But did they really add anything to the storyline? No.
I also thought the ending was a bit rushed, with the author cramming so many ideas into the book, but not really knowing how to end it. At one point, I did think she was going to completely cop out and leave the readers with an unsatisfying and lack lustre ending, but she managed to turn it around. But it did fall a little flat and left me more annoyed than anything else.
Holly Black was not an author I’d read before picking up this, and I don’t think I would be rushing out to buy any more of her books. I did enjoy the book, and I thought the main strand of the storyline with the creepy doll was good - but she’s no Chucky.
Eleanor tells Poppy that she must return her to her grave with her parents, or she would be sorry. So, the 3 friends go on a quest to put the Queen back in her grave.......
By the book to find out what happens next!:D
If I could have read this when I was 12 (way back in the 60s, as the song says) it might have saved me some pain & anger.