Doll Bones – Holly Black

I saw this book online, and instantly knew I needed to check it out. I actually took out the physical book first, but just didn’t have time to read it, so I listened to the audio version instead.

This is the story of Zach, Poppy, and Alice, three friends on the verge of having to “grow up”. A huge part of their friendship is a series of elaborate made-up worlds involving their dolls and action figures, which they play at constantly. But when Zach’s father throws away all of Zach’s toys, thinking he is too old to being playing like such a child, Zach turns away from his friends, thinking his father must be right.

When a mysterious and rather creepy doll apparently starts haunting Poppy, however, Zach sets out for one final adventure with his friends, the first real adventure they’ve ever gone on, to put the doll to rest.

This was a great book. The kids in this story love fantasy. They adore places like Narnia, and they watch Doctor Who, which is awesome. They create intricate worlds between them, each playing parts and changing the stories as they go along. I can’t help but think that having friends like this would have been absolutely awesome as a kid!

The doll in this story is beyond creepy. Made partially from real human bone and with a bag of human ash inside of her body, she is part toy, part ghost. Her story is tragic and dark, but the adventure she sends the kids on is one that helps them to understand what it means to give up some of the ties to their childhood without throwing everything they cherish away.

What was great about this story is you are kind of left to yourself to decide whether the doll is actually haunted or not. There are several things to suggest she is, and yet the kids themselves are reluctant to admit to that idea. It could be a paranormal mystery, or it could just be three friends out on an adventure together. I enjoyed that we as readers got to make that choice for ourselves.

Definite recommendation for a good, somewhat creepy story about friendship and learning how to navigate between “growing up” and staying true to yourself and your friends!


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