Black, Holly. Doll Bones
7 May 2013, Margaret K. McElderry Books
Alice, Poppy and Zach have an elaborate game that they've played for years. Using some dolls, but mainly their imagination, they go on quests and construct elaborate worlds and missions for their characters. Now that they are in middle school, however, they feel somewhat awkward about playing, so when Zach's father throws out all of his action figures, he tells the girls that he can no longer play. In order to entice him back, Poppy says that she will bring out the Queen from her mother's china cabinet. The old doll might be valuable, and the children have long been forbidden to play with it. The doll has appeared to Poppy in a series of dreams, and she and Alice are convinced that the group needs to take her from Pennsylvania to East Liverpool, Ohio. The doll is really the ghost of a little girl names Eleanor Kerchner, who died in mysterious circumstances, and the children believe the china in her face is made from the bones of Eleanor, and the body of the doll is filled with cremains. Setting out at night, the group get a bus most of the way, but run into many snags in getting to East Liverpool. Upon reaching the town, they break into the local library to get information about cemeteries. When they are found by a kindly but firm librarian, can they manage to find out Eleanor's secrets and bury her in order to appease her ghost before they are sent back home?
Strengths: This was a well-paced middle grade novel with lots of different facets. It had decently spooky ghost parts, some action and adventure, and some friend drama. Nothing is overdone, and I never felt that the story lagged. I liked the inclusion of the pottery history. It was difficult to get a copy of this since everyone seems to absolutely love it.
Weaknesses: Maybe the hype ruined some of this for me, but I felt it could have been a stronger story. If all of the children had creepy dreams, I would have believed their willingness to go on the long trek, plus it would have made the ghost component creepier. The dreams are not described very vividly or in a spooky way. While I understood the unwillingness for the children to grow up, I don't know how much this will resonate with readers in the target demographic. I'm glad I have a copy and I can see it being popular-- I just thought the book would be super awesome.
Here was the excitement in my house yesterday-- a new kitchen sink AND garbage disposal. We will just not look at the ugly line of rust/caulk/nastiness that remains. It's better than the nasty beige ceramic and fiberglass sink that was there previously!
I also got seven boxes of books from Baker and Taylor, and there was only one box of books that I hadn't read, so I've been working my way through those. This was especially timely because I was completely out of things to read.
Oh! Best news ever! I am not in charge of any study halls, although one will be meeting in the library during third period, which is 6th grade lunch and SSR. Better than I expected-- I can always travel to classrooms if I need to!