Doll Bones

Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler

About The Book

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 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?

Doll Bones is a winner of the Newbery Honor, is the recipient of six starred reviews, was on five Best Book lists, and was called “perfect” by The New York Times.

About The Author

Photograph by Sharona Jacobs

Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), the Modern Faerie Tales series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, The Darkest Part of the Forest,  the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare), and the Folk of the Air series. She has been a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award, a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of both an Andre Norton Award and a Newbery Honor. She lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door. Visit her at BlackHolly.com.

Raves and Reviews

"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

"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

"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, starred review

*"A darn good adventure."

– 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, starred review

"For the 10-12 year-old reader...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

"[An] eerie, tender novel".

– The Wall Street Journal

*"This novel is a chilling ghost story, a gripping adventure, and a heartwarming look at the often-painful pull of adulthood."

– School Library Journal, starred 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."

– BCCB, starred review

"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

Awards and Honors

  • ALA Newbery Honor Book
  • ALA Notable Children's Books
  • California Young Reader Medal Nominee
  • Maud Hart Lovelace Award Master List (MN)
  • Booklist Editors' Choice
  • ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
  • William Allen White Children's Book Award Master List (KS)
  • NYPL 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
  • Young Hoosier Book Award Master List (IN)
  • Garden State Teen Book Award Nominee (NJ)
  • Maine Student Book Award Master List
  • Colorado Children's Book Award Master List
  • Capitol Choices List (DC)
  • Blue Hen Book Award Master List (DE)
  • Sequoyah Children's Master List (OK)
  • Land of Enchantment Children's Master List (NM)
  • Nene Award Master List (HI)
  • Kentucky Bluegrass Award
  • Sunshine State Young Reader's Award Master List (FL)
  • Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award Master List (VT)
  • Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award
  • Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year Selection Title
  • Rhode Island Children's Book Award Nominee
  • MSTA Reading Circle List
  • Mississippi Magnolia Book Award Nominee

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Holly Black