Sunday, January 18, 2015

DOLL BONES by Holly Black

No Baby Talk, No Play, No Toys.

Zach, Poppy, and Alice are playmates for the longest time. They love making up stories out of their action figures. Their latest story involves the pirate William the Blade and the thief Lady Jaye, on a quest for the Queen, an old china doll that resides in a display cabinet. But like any good story, unfortunate things happen.  Zach's father threw away all his action figures, insisting that Zach is too old to play with them, and it’s time to grow up.

He was too angry and too ashamed to admit this event to his friends; Zach pretended that he doesn't want to play with Poppy and Alice anymore. He did everything to keep them off. Then, one night Poppy and Alice sneaked out to seek Zach’s help. They have to complete a final quest for the Queen –they need to bury her for her soul to rest in peace.
He wondered whether growing up was learning that most stories turned out to be lies.

The story is not exactly creepy as far as a ghost story is concerned, but it is enough to keep the quest going. The story focuses more on the friendship, their accountability for each other, and that confusing journey between childhood and adolescence.  It was very interesting how Holly Black skillfully handled the conflict brought about by situations when adults decide to tell kids that they can no longer act like kids, that their childish imaginations are no longer tolerable. Equally, between  Zach, Poppy, and Alice, the tension of growing up and making different choices are beginning to get to them. Each of them is growing up separately and in different stages.
I hate that you can do what you're supposed to do and I can't. I hate that you're going to leave me behind. I hate that everyone calls it growing up, but it seems like dying. It feels like each one of you is being possessed and I'm next.

I like how these kids came from different family settings to show that each child’s family is vital in their quest in the outside world. Kids need to know that no matter how inevitable changes are, no matter how different, they have a family to go back to and understand them. I like how it showed how important imagination and creativity are for adults, as much as they are for kids.  In a nutshell, this ghost story is creepy on the edges but soft, gooey, and thoughtful at the center.

Book details:
Title:  Doll Bones
Author:  Holly Black
Publication: Margaret K. McElderry Books (May 7, 2013)
Genre:  Fiction / Adventure
Rating:  ★★★

1 comment:

  1. Oh, wow I've been wanting to read a Holly Black after I read and loved her short story in My True Love Gave To Me but I didn't know where to start. I also read mixed reviews about this book, but after reading your post, I might give this a try. :)