Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Book Review: Doll Bones

I picked up Doll Bones to read with Sean (thrilled because it was a Newbery Honor Book), but he didn't seem all that sucked in by the beginning. For my part, I found myself analyzing the first 250 words to see whether I, as a reader, was sucked in and could tell what was going on. It only took one half page plus another half of the second page to get to 250 words. After 250 words, all I could tell was that there were three characters playing a make-believe game on a pretend ocean with action figure dolls. Not really enough to suck me in either. But, I continued to read because one of my blogging friends had recommended this author, Holly Black. I'm not sure how I felt in the end about the book. I did finish it, but at times it seemed to drag with anticipated misfortunes on their quest to bury a haunted doll. I lost interest quite often, but plugged on anyway. It wasn't a bad read, just not as enticing and spooky and gratifying as I had anticipated.

Zach, Poppy, and Alice are three middle school students who still play with action figures. That alone, says quite a bit about these characters. They have a strong will to believe. When the large china doll they call the "Great Queen," sends them on a mission to bury her in a cemetery in a near-by town, the three embark on this quest. Leaving in the dead of night, the three kids encounter weird strangers, unusual happenings, and giant obstacles. Will they make it to East Liverpool? Will they figure out the true story behind the ground-up bones within the doll? Will they get in trouble to the point of never being able to hang out again?

I wanted to suspend my disbelief and buy into the whole story of the supernatural pull of dreams from the doll. I really wanted to fully embrace the tale. Alas, it fell flat for me. The writing was good. The characters were realistic and interesting. I just didn't find the story all that enticing, sadly. Then again, I'm not the target audience. It would make a good October read-aloud for a classroom because it contains just enough supernatural bits to be spooky, without being too scary or intimidating. Moreover, it reminds kids that you're never too old to willfully suspend your disbelief and let your imagination soar.

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