Review: Doll Bones by Holly Black

Doll Bones by Holly Black (UK edition)

Title: Doll Bones
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Middle Grade, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Doubleday (9th May 2013)

Twelve-year-old Zach is too old to play with toys. Or at least, that’s what his father thinks.

But even though he stops hanging out with Poppy and Alice, stops playing with his action figures, it’s no good. There’s one toy that still wants to play with him. A doll that’s made from the bones of a dead girl.

The only way to end the game is to lay the doll to rest for ever. It’s time for a journey to Spring Grove cemetery. It’s time to grow up.

Rating: *** (3 stars)

DOLL BONES is the latest story from the brilliant Holly Black. Twelve-year-old Zach enjoys playing in the imaginary world he created with Poppy and Alice, but his dad thinks he’s too old to play with dolls. However, Zach can’t just walk away because one of the dolls is made from the bones of a dead girl, and she wants to be put to rest.

I really enjoyed Holly Black’s young adult trilogy THE CURSE WORKERS, so when I heard of DOLL BONES I was curious to see what she would do with the story. In DOLL BONES Holly Black creates a really creepy ghost story that is, at its heart about growing up and friendship. DOLL BONES was a real gamble for me, as I am not particularly a fan of straight horror stories, but the story worked for me.

Black did a good job with the horror/ghost story aspect of the plot. It was just creepy enough without being too creepy. The thing  that made this book really work for me was the friendship between Zach, Poppy and Alice. It really pulled the story together for me. I could totally relate to the question that haunted all three of them to differing extents through the book: what would growing up mean for them, and their friendship.

DOLL BONES is a good middle grade urban fantasy. It is a relatively quick book at just under 250 pages (at least for my copy), and there are beautiful illustrations scattered throughout the book. If you are looking for something a bit different, then you should definitely give this book a try.

3 thoughts on “Review: Doll Bones by Holly Black

  1. I will try and check out THE CURSE WORKERS as it’s YA and sounds like it might be good! I probably won’t get around to reading this title though as I tend to stick to adventure stories in Middle Grade reads and fantasy. Cool review!


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