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Doll Bones by Holly Black Book Review

Doll Bones
Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity . . .

Doll Bones is the first Holly Black story I’ve ever read and I thought it was pretty okay. Doll Bones is a middle grade ghost story. While it isn’t something that would give you nightmares, it’s a children’s tale with some creepy and fun elements.

The thing that made Doll Bones so enjoyable was the quest. The three friends (Zach, Alice, and Poppy) were determined to go on a quest to East Liverpool, Ohio, to give the ghost of Eleanor Kerchner some peace and let her rest in her grave. The relationship between the three friends were tested as they all have secrets from one another. The adventure was fun and creepy, told in a third person’s perspective. The secrets were revealed along the way but I’m glad they held onto their friendship and worked past their problems with one another.

Even though it’s told in a third person’s perspective, I still connected easily with Zach. He was still a kid and it was easy to see how much he valued his friendship with Alice and Poppy. I don’t get why he would keep his secret from Poppy and Alice. I don’t think they would be mad at him because it wasn’t his fault in the first place. As for Alice’s secret, it was really easy to figure out. Why Zach didn’t figure it out though, I think it was because he’s a guy. Guys don’t think that much about that kind of stuff.

There were some other problems I ran into. In the beginning, I couldn’t tell Alice and Poppy apart. They sounded the same even with their different backgrounds. It was only when they went on the quest that I finally figured out who was who. In fact, nothing made the three main characters distinguishable. Zach was just easier to identify because he was the only guy and he was the narrator.

Doll Bones is definitely a fun and chilling Middle Grade ghost story. It isn’t anything that’s super scary but still enough to pull you into the quest with Zach, Alice and Poppy. I would recommend this to anyone who are getting tired of YA and wants a good story about friendship and a ghost quest.

My name's Ariella and I'm a 14 year old Canadian girl that loves to read. Everything began with a book called the Lightning Thief and from there I was hooked. I enjoy and read all kinds of genres but my favourites are paranormal and mythology. I love reading YA books but I love Middle Grade books as well. I also blog over at Secrets of Lost Words. You can usually find me crawling on twitter so feel free to contact me!


  1. I'm more of a young adult book person, but I love Holly Black's books so I think I'll check this out sometime. Thanks for the review!

  2. I've not read anything by the author but would love to check her out :) Great review!

  3. Confusing narration will probably throw me off as well, but I am still very intrigued by this one.

    Great review, Ariella! <33

  4. I totally want to read this now! I never read MG, unles Percy Jackson counts. great review. ~daphne

  5. Great review. I'm sure I'll get around to this one some day. I've heard good things about Holly Black in general.

  6. I love Holly Black, but I wasn't sure whether or not I wanted to pick this one up. I like MG novels, but I have to be in the mood for them. Great review!

  7. I have seen this around a lot, but didn't really have an interest in it. It sounds very intriguing and although I don't really pick up Middle grade books, I think I can make an exception for this! Great review! :D

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 

  8. I listened to the audiobook and it was a fun adventure. I am more of a YA reader but this was a good one.

  9. I loved this audio and recommended it to my 11 year old son. I agree with you though that the girls were fairly interchangeable especially at first.

  10. I had no idea this was a Middle Grade novel! I do enjoy Holly Black's novels, though. Sounds like the characters struggled to have their own unique voice, I hate when that happens!


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