Sunday, August 25, 2013

Audiobook Review of Doll Bones

by Holly Black
Narrated by Nick Podehl

Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster)
Listening Library 2013
Format: Audiobook
5 discs- 5 hours 15 min
Disclosure: Obtained from library
I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars. 

Summary from Goodreads
Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends forever. 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 . . 

My Thoughts 
Sometimes I marvel at childrens' ability to create imaginary worlds through play.  My 11 year-old daughter and her friends can play for hours with their figurines or just make up characters that they act out.  Sadly, most teens and adults out grow this type of play. 

In Doll Bones, the relationship between the three friends on the verge of leaving childhood behind is endearing.  They still love to play make believe games with their action figures and have wonderful imaginations.  However, they are starting to peek into adolescence and this is producing many different emotions for them.  

When Poppy tells Zach and Alice that she is being haunted by a china doll made from the bones of a young girl (Eleanor) and she needs to put her to rest, the three decide to go on a quest.  Zach and Alice don't completely believe Poppy, but they decide to go along. At first, it seems like and exciting adventure. Then things don't exactly go as they planned. They hop on a bus, end up stealing a boat and sailing up the Ohio River and spend the night in a library. During the quest, it is revealed that Alice has a crush on her long-time friend Zach.  Poppy feels like their friendship will be threatened and is afraid that they are all going to grow up too soon and forget how to play.  The doll, they call "The Queen" does some creepy things such as moving to another room while the kids sleep and turning her head when no one is looking.  Eleanor visits Poppy and Zach in their dreams and sends messages about where she needs to be buried. Can the kids work together to complete this quest? Will they continue to play or will they grow up and forget about their games?  Readers will enjoy how Holly Black wraps things up in Doll Bones. 

Who will like it?
Students who enjoy a bit of creepiness (but not too much) may enjoy this book. There is time spent in a cemetery, on a bus in the middle of the night with a creepy old man and don't forget the creepy doll.
I would recommend this book for grades 4 and up. 
It would make a good class read aloud.

Friendship, quest, coming of age, teamwork, loyalty, ghost stories

Characters deal with: growing up, divorce, death of parent, teasing, crushes, feelings of betrayal, jealousy

Holly Black is no stranger to creepy stories.  Her newest book, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown comes out in September. Visit her website here.

Nick Podehl does a terrific job narrating this audiobook.  Visit his website here

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