Doll Bones by Holly Black really is a fun book, and a perfect book to read during this creepy ghost filled Halloween season. However, you could easily enjoy this book year round; it's a lot like Miss. Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children or Monstrumologist in that matter.
When I read books I normally keep track of my thoughts in a note on my phone. I keep track of quotes I like and what pages they are on as well. I also write a pretty detailed review on my phone right after I finish the book so it is fresh in my head.
Today, I was lucky enough to have my 3 year old add a Wikipedia App to my phone and erase my notes for Doll Bones. I know she didn't do it on purpose, but man it was a bummer.
Therefore, I have to go straight from memory right now and won't include the page numbers from some of my favorite sections. Bummer for us all!
I give Doll Bones 4.5 out of 5 stars. I gave this book a high rating for many reasons, and it is actually my favorite Holly Black book thus far. It's a fun original story about a creepy doll, growing up, and friendship.
The character development is great, and the action of the story moves good, for the most part. The for the most part is the reason this book lost half a star. There were a few parts in the story where I wanted to just skim and/or skip ahead b/c it seemed a bit wordy. However, those instances were rare, and overall the balance of action and character development was well done.
I feel this book is perfect for 4th-7th grade, but 3rd grade could be fine if the reader is mature. The content is clean as far as language, violence, and sex goes. I only say mature b/c the concepts of friendship and the difficultly with growing up from childhood to teenager is for a bit older audience.
I do think this could be a fun read aloud, and it may be the only way (or a Lit Circle/Reading Group/Novel Study) to get boys to read it. The main character and narrator is a boy, but I think with the Doll in the title it will not naturally attract boys and may push them away even though this book is about an adventure book with a ghost haunting.. Girls will love this book as well. I do think this book can reach a wide range of interests, and the action/adventure makes it a good read aloud. Plus, there are several instances the teacher could stop and discuss and/or do a mini-lesson on a topic. Teachers, feel free to do these discussions/mini-lessons on the whim. You'll see the value while reading it.
Avid readers will not only enjoy the great story but also enjoy a few instances/references to other books like Percy Jackson. They are subtle references, but they are fun for those avid/big readers.
Overall, Doll Bones is a great unique story with a fun adventure/quest the characters go on where they learn about the history/back story of the doll, Eleanor Krechner/Queen, whom they are saving as well as themselves and their changing friendship. In a sense this book is about saving.
Amazon had the following book review:
"Black's tale (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2013) of friendship and the trials of growing up is set against the backdrop of a spooky ghost story. Zach Barlow loves to make things up. He and his friends Poppy and Alice spend every afternoon concocting new adventures for their dolls and action figures. However, Zach's recently returned father is less than thrilled about his son spending his time playing with dolls instead of taking part in more age-appropriate activities, such as basketball. When he commits a drastic act to force Zach to give up his play-acting, it precipitates a series of events that send Zach, Poppy, and Alice on a midnight quest to lay to rest the soul of a murdered girl, a soul that now inhabits a bone china doll. Along the way, the trio uncovers secrets about the past and one another, and discovers that they are capable of more than they ever realized. Nick Podehl expertly voices the three friends as well as the unforgettable characters Tin-Shoe Joe and the pink-haired librarian, Miss Katherine. Black has written an adventurous ghost tale that fans of Mary Downing Hahn and Peg Kehret and devotees of the author's previous novels will love."
Happy ghost story and adventure reading that everyone can enjoy!
Anyone read it? What did you think?