Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. 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 . . .
I kind of picked this book on a whim. It looked creepy and it's by Holly Black, so I decided to give it a try. I ended up with a very interesting MG book with a creepy plot (for MG) and an adventure.
Zach, Poppy, and Alice like to create stories by playing with their toys. The toys are ruled by a Queen, a creepy antique doll in a glass case. After Zach's are thrown away by his father, Zach tells the girls that he can't play anymore, without saying why. The girls, in an effort to convince him to play again, take the doll out of its case and then they begin to get dreams from a dead girl. According to Poppy, the doll is actually made of bones of a long-dead girl who wants her rest. The children need to bury the doll in her proper resting place, or else they will be cursed.
This book is both cute and creepy. Those two don't seem to go together, but it's how I see this book. The cuteness comes from the MG aspect. Despite the plot, this book has a large childlike factor to it. The friendships, the toys, and the childish sense of adventure are all included. I like MG books, and this is one of the reasons why. The plot, of course, is creepy. I mean, a doll made of "ground-up bones of a murdered girl"? That's pretty creepy. I loved this aspect, though, and I thought it was very interesting. This is going to sound strange, but I do kind of wish it was a bit creepier. I understand why it was downplayed, due to the ages of the characters and intended audience, but I love creepy books.
Zach is kind of the MC of this book. This book is third person, but we see into Zach's head. Zach really felt like a 12 year old (I think he's 12...). He's in that stage where he's growing up, but not really. I found it amusing that a lot of girls in his class seem to have crushes on him and he just doesn't notice and thinks the girls and just acting strange. Pure 12 year old. He's also still playing with toys, which brings me to something that I hated! ZACH'S DAD IS A JERK!! Not really a spoiler, since it's in the synopsis, but Zach's dad throws away Zach's toys because he thinks Zach needs to grow up. There is nothing wrong with playing with toys at Zach's age! Heck! Most kids that age do (At least I did when I was that age. *old woman voice* Nowadays, kids are always playing with those electronics!) So, I was very furious at that part! Also, I really wish Zach didn't lie to his friends about his toys. Instead of telling them what happened, he told them that he didn't want to play anymore, which made his friends think he was a jerk. I understand kind of why he didn't, but it kind of made me sad.
Overall, I liked this book. It's a great MG read with both cuteness and creepiness. It didn't strike a huge chord in me and it's a lot like other MG books I've read, which is why it didn't get a huge rating, but I really did enjoy reading this and recommend this to other fans of MG!
Meaning: I liked it