Cohen, Marina. The Doll's Eye
February 28th 2017 by Roaring Brook Press
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Hadley isn't thrilled to be moved from her home in the city to a large, spooky house in the coutry. Her new stepfather, Ed, is okay, but his son Isaac is young, annoying, and allergic to everything, so they can't have peanut butter or wheat products in the house. There is a nice but somewhat creepy older lady, Althea, living in an apartment above the garage. Hadley finds a dollhouse in the attic, along with a doll's eye, and it starts granting her wishes. First, Ed and Isaac disappear, then her father (whom she had never met) show up, and lives up to her mother's description of "not nice". Bad things continue to happen, and even though she seeks help from her mother's friend in the city and a neighbor boy, Gabe, the creepiness continues. Some chapters are from the point of view of a little girl who lived in the house far in the past, and show how she set up the circumstances that Hadley is facing.
Strengths: Creepy dolls, demons, and alternate realities. Good, creepy stuff! Hadley is not a whiny character who is completely unhappy with her new family situation, which I liked. The fact that she sort of missed Isaac when he was gone made her more sympathetic. Her wishes were not very purposeful and mean-- just the sort of thing a child might wish after having to eat a soy butter and rice bread sandwich too many times!
Weaknesses: The ending felt very unfinished to me. There's usually something a bit more upbeat at the end of these creepy stories, and the characters are able to put the evil spirits to rest, but not so much in this book! I also didn't quite get why the snakes and bugs were proliferating-- they even show up on the cover, so some explanation would have been good.
What I really think: This is what I expected The Secret of Goldenrod to be! A little less creepy than Frozen Charlotte, but still deliciously spine tingling. Definitely purchasing.