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Doll Bones

Discover the Newbery Honor winner Doll Bones, from Holly Black, the cocreator of the Spiderwick Chronicles. A Kirkus Reviews Best Book. A School Library Journal Best Book. A Booklist Editor’s Choice Books for Youth. A Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book. A NYPL “100 Titles for Reading and Sharing.” A 2013 Goodreads Choice award nominee. A People Magazine “Best New Kids Book.” Six starred reviews!

Zach, Poppy, and Alice have been friends forever. And for almost as long, they’ve been playing one continuous, ever-changing game of pirates and thieves, mermaids and warriors. Ruling over all is the Great Queen, a bone-china doll cursing those who displease her.

But they are in middle school now. Zach’s father pushes him to give up make-believe, and Zach quits the game. Their friendship might be over, until Poppy declares she’s been having dreams about the Queen—and the ghost of a girl who will not rest until the bone-china doll is buried in her empty grave.

Zach and Alice and Poppy set off on one last adventure to lay the Queen’s ghost to rest. But nothing goes according to plan, and as their adventure turns into an epic journey, creepy things begin to happen. Is the doll just a doll or something more sinister? And if there really is a ghost, will it let them go now that it has them in its clutches?


Newbery Medal Honor Book, 2014

Mythopoeic Fantasy Award in Children’s Literature, 2014

2014 Locus Award nomination, 2014 Goodreads Choice nomination in Children’s Literature

Doll Bones was nominated for the following state awards:

2015 Rhode Island Children’s Book Award

2014-2015 Maine Student Book Award

2015 Magnolia Award (children’s choice award for the state of Mississippi)

2015 Blue Hen Book Award (children’s choice award sponsored by the Delaware Library System)

2014-2015 Sunshine State Young Readers Award (Florida)

2015 Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award (Vermont).


Every encounter redraws the blurry lines between childishness and maturity, truth and lies, secrecy and honesty, magic and madness. Spooky, melancholy, elegiac and ultimately hopeful; a small gem.

—Kirkus Reviews

Compelling, chill-at-the-nape tale with dynamics and emotional depth… The novel’s eerie vibe and eek-worthy plot may keep readers turning pages into the wee hours, but it’s the vivid characters and skillfully developed themes of identity, friendship and loss that linger long in the mind.

—The Washington Post

Nobody does spooky like Holly Black. Doll Bones is a book that will make you sleep with the lights on.

—Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series

Tightly focused, realistic tale—bladed with a hint of fairy-tale darkness…. Stories about the importance of stories…don’t come much more forthright and affecting than this one.

—Booklist, starred review

A little bit scary and full of heart, this story grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.

—Rebecca Stead, Newbery Award winning author of When You Reach Me

Black captures the adolescent sense that things are about to explode before they get explained. And it’s a darn good adventure, too.

—Publishers Weekly, starred review

It’s as psychologically haunting as the ghost girl’s physical haunting….Black begins with an ordinary experience of childhood and gives it a wicked twist to reveal the truth at the center of the impulse for storytelling.

—Jennifer M. Brown, Shelf Awareness

Doll Bones may be perfect….It’s a deep, strange and compelling book, at times lovely, at times heartbreaking and deliciously weird.

—Lauren Oliver, New York Times Book Review

Black poignantly and realistically captures how adolescence inherently brings change; how growing up affects the ways children play; and the inevitable tests friendships face.

—Horn Book

Black manages a careful balancing act of reality and fantasy, using the effectively creepy ghost story as the backdrop to a poignant exploration of what is lost along the way to adulthood…Keenly felt.

—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books