Published by Margaret K. McElderry on May 7th 2013
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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 . . .
Beyond the creepiness of the cover, I found that Doll Bones had much more to offer a reader than a horrific story. Zach is a boy who still enjoys the stories of make believe and playing with two girls with dolls that have their own characters and own world. When his father throws out all his toys, he cannot face the reality of what his father has done – thrown away his childhood wonders and instead tries to grow up.
But when Poppy insists on an adventure to return the doll bones of the dreaded queen and an actual ghost, he cannot say no. He finds himself with Poppy and Alice on bus with the creepy doll, who has promised to make Poppy's life miserable if she cannot find her resting place. Zach still struggles with telling the girls the truth about his character being thrown away and instead acts a bit like a jerk at times.
I love that this story is more than just solving the mystery behind the ghost and doll and the adventure it takes the trio of friends on. Zach is a boy that struggles with having his father back home, after abandoning them for several weeks. Poppy and Alice have their own difficult home life situations, all of which makes you feel for the three friends and what they have to deal with as children.
Doll Bones really takes a look at the hardships of growing up and the issues children have to deal with daily. Add in some creepy and adventureful elements and it was a book I could not put down.
Final Verdict: Dolls Bones is a book I cannot wait to put in the hands of my own readers, who appreciate a good story with a more complex message.