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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully Creepy
I loved reading creepy books when I was a kid - my shelf was full of Goosebumps and all its random ripoffs before I moved on to Point Horror and finally grown up stuff like Stephen King - I think it is safe to say that Doll Bones would have been quite at home on my shelf.

Delightfully dark, it takes you on a quest to discover the truth behind a delicate bone...
Published on 1 May 2013 by CaroleHeidi

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read, but not without it's flaws
After reading The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, I was looking forward to Doll Bones, but very early on something just wasn't gripping me enough about the book. It wasn't that this book wasn't good, It's just one of these cases where I think I'm too old for the book.

It had everything you could hope for, friendship, adventure and self discovery. It's...
Published 9 months ago by Stacie @ Beautiful Bookish But...


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully Creepy, 1 May 2013
This review is from: Doll Bones (Hardcover)
I loved reading creepy books when I was a kid - my shelf was full of Goosebumps and all its random ripoffs before I moved on to Point Horror and finally grown up stuff like Stephen King - I think it is safe to say that Doll Bones would have been quite at home on my shelf.

Delightfully dark, it takes you on a quest to discover the truth behind a delicate bone china doll where the three main characters learn about themselves and each other and how the world works outside of their usual bubble.

An imaginative trio who make up adventures for their collections of action figures and dolls, Zach, Poppy and Alice are best friends until Zach's father throws away all of his action figures and can't get them back.

Zach tries to quit the game but something odd brings them back together. The china doll they call The Queen suddenly starts appearing in Poppy's dreams as a real girl. A girl who claims the doll is made from her own bones and needs to be returned to her grave to be with her parents.

Zach and Alice are dubious at first, Poppy is a willful character who probably wouldn't be above making things up to get Zach back in the game but then Zach starts getting the dreams too and it all gets a bit too real.

Fast paced and exciting, I raced through this novel without wanting to put it down. The characters were bold and funny and the settings were deep and real, told from the perspective of lost and freaked out almost-teenagers, making the whole thing totally immersive.

Interspersed with beautiful illustrations which added to the sinister story, Doll Bones is a wonderful example of how horror is for children too - it is scary and creepy but has enough comedy and a feel-good ending that it won't leave anyone traumatised.

Very satisfying and great fun to read as an adult, too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Ghost Story and An Adventure, 22 July 2014
This review is from: Doll Bones (Kindle Edition)
China dolls, creepy looking china dolls. Oh yes, I know what they are like. This book made me remember being a young child and being afraid of a porcelain doll that sounded similar to the doll in the book. This doll sat in a cupboard at my Nana's house and everytime I got sent to the cupboard to get something one eye open would watch me. I remember my heart hammering in my chest.

Doll Bones is about many things, an adventure, friendship, maturing and a ghost. Three children Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for a long time, they play many imaginary games together and all have a spirit of adventure in them. One night, Zach is woken from his sleep by the girls, Poppy is convinced the doll came to her in a dream and is now haunting them. They must do what the doll asks or bad things will happen.

In the middle of the night they start their adventure to give the doll the peace she is asking for, creepy things happen to them on the way, shivers and feelings that can't be explained, dreams of the ghost of the little girl, apparently her bones were ground up to make the porcelain of the doll (this is why it's called bone china). They must set all of this right.

It's a middle grade coming of age story as well as an adventure, it was a lot less creepy than I expected, I think I had higher hopes for some good old spooky stuff. The illustrations in the book are really well done and add a touch of atmosphere. I think a bit more creepiness would have sat really well with me as a reader, but I also have to think would I have enjoyed this book as a middle grade reader and yes I would have.

As they go on their journey with THE QUEEN (the china doll) they discover new things about themselves, their friendship, their feelings, their courage and their fears. All of this is intertwined with some strange goings-on around the doll, she is with them all the way.

It's a ghost story for sure, not sure if it would scare the middle grade reader much or not, but it's a lot of fun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read, but not without it's flaws, 23 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Doll Bones (Kindle Edition)
After reading The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, I was looking forward to Doll Bones, but very early on something just wasn't gripping me enough about the book. It wasn't that this book wasn't good, It's just one of these cases where I think I'm too old for the book.

It had everything you could hope for, friendship, adventure and self discovery. It's set around three friends, Poppy, Alice and Zach, they are in middle school but still play with dolls/action figures. Until Zach starts to pull away from the other two, he becomes distant and secretive. The girls can't understand why, slowly but surely it seems like Zach was the glue to hold them together, and they start to pull away from each other too. That is until The Queen, a china doll that belongs to Poppy's mum, seems to be haunting her. Zack and Alice don't believe her but can't miss up the opportunity for one last adventure, instead in the front yard, it will take them across the state in the middle of the night, with difficulties they didn't account for. Secrets come out, patience and faith are tested. But in the end they do it as a team.

So what I hear you ask, did I not like about it? well it wasn't so much that I didn't like it, just that I couldn't connect to the characters. I loved the adventurer side of it, I thought it was really well thought out and the spookiness of it was a lovely touch, I can't put my finger on why I didn't feel love for this book like everyone else does, but it just wasn't for me. I hope that everyone else feels the love that this book deserves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for pre-teens and older who like scary books, 24 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Doll Bones (Audio CD)
Doll Bones is for children who enjoy a good scare. It is the story of 3 friends, Zach, Poppy and Alice. They are united in their love of playing and together their creativity and imagination know no bounds. They use action figures as the characters that feature in their stories. I actually loved reading about their play adventures. Poppy's mum owns an antique doll that is made of bone china which sits in a glass cabinet in her house. She is not supposed to touch it as it is considered to be valuable. There is something spooky about the doll and the children find it creepy. Sometimes Zach gets the impression it is watching him and is sure he has seen its eyes move by themselves. It features at the centre of their games as a powerful queen to be feared and respected and this helps to appease their fears (if they respect the doll it won't come after them).

Now that the friends are 12 they are increasingly under pressure to stop playing with toys. Zach plays basketball and fears that his friends will find out about it and make fun of him. His father, who he has a difficult relationship with, is annoyed with him for hanging on to his toys. One day he goes into Zach's room and takes the toys away, throwing them in the garbage. Zach is horrified when he finds out and tries to get them back without success. This leaves him both sad and angry at everyone around him. He decides to deal with it by telling Poppy and Alice that he doesn't want to play anymore. He argues that they are too old and need to grow up. They are surprised by this sudden change in Zach and are disappointed in him.

Zach distances himself from the girls and starts hanging out with boys his own age, doing stuff that boys his age are expected to do (video games etc.). One night while in bed he hears tapping at his window. At first he is too spooked to check it out but it persists so he has to investigate. He looks out and sees Poppy and Alice outside beckoning him to join them. He follows them to a secret hideout and Poppy reveals to him that she has been visited by the ghost of a little girl who has given Poppy a task she cannot refuse. Poppy's mother's doll was made from the bones of the little girl who died when she was about their age and she needs it to be buried with her if she is ever to rest in peace. Poppy wants Zach and Alice to help her accomplish this. It involves travelling to a town in Ohio where the girl's body is buried. Although Zach doesn't believe the ghost story, he sees this as an opportunity to get away from his father and considers not coming back. He make a bargain with the girls to go with them if they agree to stop asking him why he does no want to play anymore or involve him in the adventures they used to make up together. They agree and set out on their journey...

For me Doll Bones is about that pivotal point in a child's life when they have to let go of their childhood and accept young adulthood. Zach is not ready and he feels a sense of shame because of it. I think this is why he is so angry and does not want to tell Poppy and Alice what really happened. It's too embarrassing to speak of. It resonated with me because I was just like Zach at that age.

You would be hard-pressed to find a better contemporary writer of Children/YA fiction than Holly Black. She is magnificent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An odd little masterpiece, 8 Sept. 2014
This review is from: Doll Bones (Paperback)
I Am not really the type of person to try new books, but whilst walking through Waterstones, This book caught my eye. I was looking for a book to read, (having finished skulduggery pleasant - Yiu should read Skulduggery Pleasant too, It is absolute GENIUS.) and this book seemed to stand out. The cover was my sort of thing, as I'm into dark horror themed books, and, as all blurbs should, the blurb really enticed me.

The book is a strange little thing, very odd, and unlike the sort of thing I have read before, but I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it. Once showing the book to my cousin, she too bought it, and loves it too. I would really enjoy a second book, and I'm sure Holly Black's genius would be able to find a strange but exciting way of connecting the story.

This book did not get five stars, however, because, unfortunately I don't feel it completely lived up to its scary image. There were times, when I put the book face down of my bed, as if the doll could pull herself out of the cover, but I would of enjoyed a few more sinister twists.

All in all I really enjoyed this book, and even if your not one for horror, it's also perfect for adventure - theme lovers, because of the amazing adventure three friends embark upon together.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This was a cute story with a creepy atmospheric undertow, 7 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Doll Bones (Kindle Edition)
I received a copy of Doll Bones from the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

I'm always on the look out for books for my kids and for the school reading group, with that in mind I picked up Doll Bones.

The story revolves around Zach, Poppy and Alice, three children on the cusp of growing up but still hanging onto that innocence of childhood. It's a tale of friendship, adventure, mystery and what turns out to be a somewhat creepy, life changing quest for the three of them.

This was a cute story with a creepy atmospheric undertow, the tale was nicely balanced with just enough atmosphere and hints at scares to trigger any childs imagination without scaring them too much.

I really had fun reading this one, it reminded me of the books that made me fall in love with reading when I was young. It took me back to the days of hiding under my covers with my torch, reading a scary book while listening out for any noises outside the safety of my bedcovers. And brought back all those memories of getting lost in adventure and magic the way that only a child could.

I would definately recommend this one and I'm adding it to the reading group list myself first thing Monday morning.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, 14 Feb. 2014
By 
Steven R. McEvoy "MCWPP" (Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Doll Bones (Hardcover)
From the second I saw the cover of this book there was something that compelled me to track it down and read it. It was likely a combination of being a big fan of Holly Black's works and something about the cover made me think about the book Children by Maggie Clark. And this book did not disappoint. This book was my top pick in the second quarter of 2013 and my second top fiction read in all of 2013. But that being said it had taken me a long time to circle back and write my review. In part I was hesitant because the book had such a strong impact I did not want to over react in my praise of it. And in part the book is different enough I was unsure how to approach writing a review of it. The story is dark, spooky, a little creepy and a whole lot of awesome.

Poppy, Alice and Zach have been friends for a log long time. And for most of their friendship they have played 'The Game' a continuous and continuously changing game. They use props for the game and take turns deciding what happens next, it is a high adventure of thieves, mermaids, pirates and more. But ruling over all the lands is the Great Queen, a bone china doll, who resides in a display case. The Great Queen will curse and dispose of those who displease her in the game. When Zach suddenly stops playing and declares the game over mid adventure it looks like their friendship might be at an end also. But Poppy lets the others know she has been dreaming about the Queen, and soon the game and reality seem mixed and the three going on a real adventure to help put a restless spirit to rest.

The story was a very compelling read. Almost like a campfire ghost story coming to life. Something to entertain that ends up scaring. It was very well written. If you are a fan of Black's other works it is a great addition to her canon. If you like a spooky story this one will grab you and not let go!
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3.0 out of 5 stars It was okay..., 5 Dec. 2013
This review is from: Doll Bones (Hardcover)
We all have those fears when we are younger that the scary dolls in our rooms are alive, this story will take you back to those times making you relive them, but most importantly... Bring them alive! This was a definite cover love, so creepy and mysterious with underlying aspects of children's fears and adventures creeping in. Then you have her eyes, I had to look away on numerous occasions as I felt she was going to suddenly blink!

Zach has been friends with Poppy and Alice for years, always playing together when they can they bring their own adventures and mysteries to their fictional stories. But when Zach's father throws out his toys, all changes. They are spun into an world wind of mysteries and impossible occurrences, but what happens if they don't solve them?

The characters in this story I felt were very unclear, I did not feel as if I could explore their whole character and personalities. However, what I did like was how all the characters did appear to be different and have different home lives and hobbies, they appeared to work really we together.

I felt this story progressed particularly slowly, as certain events did not stand out as much as I would have liked them to. But in contrast, I really liked the aspect of the doll and how the doll was made from the ash as it really added a spooky and unusual aspect to this story, not to mention playing on the aspect of children's fears of old dolls.

*Received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
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4.0 out of 5 stars Doll Bones: Children will really enjoy this book. Not creepy enough for adults., 8 July 2013
This review is from: Doll Bones (Hardcover)
This review was originally posted at: [...]

"Her clay was made from human bones. Little girl bones. That hair threaded through the scalp is the little girl's hair. And the body of the doll is filled with her leftover ashes."
Doll Bones by Holly Black

I am a fan of children's fiction that is scary. Coraline by Neil Gaiman is one of my favourite books. When I saw, Doll Bones by Holly Black, the cover screamed creepy children's book. I requested the book on Netgalley, and I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of the book to read.

Doll Bones is about a quest to bury a porcelain doll that is made from a human child's bones. The ghost of the child is tied to the doll and she demands that Poppy lay her to rest, or else. The problem? Poppy is twelve and the doll wants to be buried with her father in East Liverpool, which is several hours away with a very limited bus service (one in the afternoon and one late at night). Poppy ropes her two best friends, Alice and Zach, into joining her on the quest and they steal away in the middle of the night. Their journey is less than smooth, with a crazy man on a bus, sleeping in the woods, stealing a boat to cross a river, breaking into a library; all while trying to avoid being caught. Will Zach, Alice and Poppy be able to lay the doll to rest before they are caught? What will the doll do if they fail?

I had expected Doll Bones to be as creepy as Coraline, but Doll Bones fell short of my expectations. There were creepy moments, for example, when the doll moved on its own or where the doll almost seemed to take control of the children at certain points. I also liked the mystery surround the doll, i.e., whether there really was a ghost attached to the doll or if Poppy was just imagining things, and whether the doll really was responsible for some of the things that befell the children or if there was a logical alternative explanation. However, I wanted more. I would have been satisfied with more creepy actions from the doll, or even for the ghost to be more present. In fact the ghost was pretty absent except for appearing to Poppy that first night to demand Poppy lay her to rest with her father (who created the doll of his daughter when she mysteriously died), or the few times the adults commented about the children's "blonde friend". I may have wanted more because I am an adult reading a children's book. However, I think that the book will most likely be creepy enough for children, although many children adore Coraline, and it is much creepier.

The predominant focus in this book is on how Zach, Alice and Poppy react to transitioning from children to teenagers. At the start of the book, they are all playing make believe with dolls. As the book progresses, it is clear that the three friends beginning to grow up. Zach is forced to grow up by his father when he throws away all of Zach's toys and he gets into basketball. Alice is noticing boys and getting into drama. Poppy is the friend who is still clinging to being a child. She wants to continue playing make-believe and she doesn't want her friends to grow up. For example, at one point in the book she says, "`I hate that you can do what you're supposed to do and I can't,' she wails. `I hate that you're going to leave me behind. I hate that everyone calls it growing up, but it seems like dying'". I think children will really relate to this, but I didn't find it that interesting. I think because Poppy is pretty melodramatic about this process, "dying". I also think that because my sister was younger than me, I stopped playing make believe before she did so I haven't experienced what Poppy has. I suspect that it isn't like dying though.

The book has a consistent pace, but it's fairly slow throughout. There wasn't any part of the book where I was racing through the pages to find out what was coming next, but there wasn't any part of the book that I felt was awfully dull. It is a nice and easy read if you want something to relax to.
I found the plot and the characters very realistic. I really felt like this was a true story being told. I thought that the characters represented twelve years olds really well. They acted like twelve year olds. That's impressive actually because in many of the books I have read, the character either acts too young or too old for their age. I think these children will appeal to children who read the book because they are on a quest, most children like the idea of, and they break the rules; they run away in the middle of the night, steal and even break in to a library. I'm not sure how parents will feel about their children wanting to be like Zach, Alice and Poppy because of their rule breaking, but I think children will love the characters for that very reason.

I was a little disappointed with the ending. I expected more from the ghost or the doll. As a result, the book kind of just suddenly ended because the quest was over. I would have liked a little more punch. I did like that Holly Black left a key question hanging - was there actually a ghost or did the children have an over-active imagination? There are a few facts that I don't think the children would have known on their own, so am leaning towards yes, but just a smidge of uncertainty is nice. It will get the children thinking.

Final Verdict: The book wasn't creepy enough for me, but the book is intended for children, and I think children will really like this book.

Frances
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A message for all of us, 4 Jan. 2015
By 
J. Bates (France) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Doll Bones (Paperback)
A ghost story for young adults about obsession and repression surrounding a scary looking doll in a cabinet. The three youngsters set out on a quest to release the doll from limbo on earth. In doing so, they release themselves from their perceived parental tyranny and the confines of childhood and learn how friendship is unlimited when pushed. This book is intelligently written and wise in the ways of teenage angst. Immensely enjoyable.
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