Written by Holly Black
Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2013
2015-2016 Nominee - Middle School/Junior High
Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends forever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing... and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice.
But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll--who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity...
Excerpt from Doll Bones:
“So are you going to tell me what's going on?” Zach asked, sitting down across from Poppy. The wood planks were cold under his pajama pants, and he shifted trying to get comfortable.
She unzipped her bag. “You're going to laugh,” she said. “But you shouldn't.”
He glanced over at Alice. She was leaning against one wall of the shed. “Poppy saw a ghost,” she said.
He tried to suppress a shudder. Ghosts weren't something you talked about in an abandoned shed at night. “You're just trying to freak me out. This is some kind of stupid--”
Poppy carefully took the bone china doll from her backpack. Zach drew in his breath and went silent. The Queen's dull black eyes were open, her gaze boring into his own. He'd always thought she was creepy-looking, but in the reflected beam of the flashlight, she seemed demonic.
Poppy touched the doll's face. It was pure white, like a dinner plate. Hair, dry as brush bristles, was threaded into her scalp, and her cheeks and lips were rouged a faint pink. When she was tilted onto her back, here eyes stayed open instead of closing the way they should have, as though she was still watching Zach. There was a tear at the shoulder of her thin, brittle gown and tiny pinholes through the discolored fabric. It hadn't aged as well as the rest of the doll--and the ride in Poppy's backpack probably hadn't helped.
“The Queen," Zach said unsteadily, forcing a sneer into his voice to cover his rising fear. “So what? You brought me all the way out here to see a doll?”
Used with permission of the publisher, Margaret K. McElderry Books
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