Doll Bones


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“We had a story, and our story was important. And I hate that both of you can just walk away and take part of my stroy with you and not even care. I hate that you can do what you’re supposed to do and I can’t. I hate that you’re going to leave me behind. I hate that everyone calls it growing up, but it seems like dying. It feels like each of you is being possessed and I’m next.”

The mad halfway place between childhood and adolescence. The arrival of a new, deep kind of shame. The discovery of new things about people who seemed so simple. That’s what Doll Bones is about. Also: creepy-awesome doll.

I love short little books like this that just have so much depth to them. This is a book full of important truths, a uniquely modern book, and a damn fine ghost story.

Growing up–not hitting adulthood, just hitting adolescence–involves so many truths being unveiled. The selfish “heartlessness” of children gives way to the realization that everyone else is as much a complicated person as you are. Including your parents. It’s such a big and scary truth that it’s no wonder so many teenagers sink into depression and hatred. These kids are still ahead of the true teenage years, but instead they are wandering around the weird gray area between childhood and adolescence. They still remember and love so much of their childhoods, but development is starting to get uneven. Zach, the protagonist, can’t figure out why girls seem so mysterious now as opposed to six months ago.

And, hovering over all this, is the idea of “normal.” All weird kids (and maybe we were all weird kids, really) know what it is to have their parents worry about whether they’re normal. Are the kids hitting the developmental markers? Are they doing something that will make their lives harder? What can the grown-ups do to fix them?

The thing about growing up for the kids in this novel is that you realize the world is a much bigger, scarier, and more fantastic place than you every realized before. Everyone is real, and maybe everything in the world is real. “Maybe all stories were true ones.”


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