Doll Bones—A YA Novel Creepier Than Most Adult Horror

Doll Bones cover image
Doll Bones by Holly Black

One of my favorite things about Young Adult novels is that they often aren’t as bound to tropes as adult books are…adult in the sense of for adults, not in the sense of X-rated. Just to be clear. Anyways. Doll Bones by Holly Black, who also cowrote the Spiderwick Chronicles, is creepy as fuck—um, hell. Creepy as hell. So let’s start with that.

1—Quiet Dread and the Unquiet Dead

Ms Black creates a pervasive sense of unquiet through this novel, starting on page one. Zach, our viewpoint character, and his two best friends Poppy and Alice, live in a slowly dying small town. Each of their lives are out of their control—a fact not just of childhood but observed in those of the adults around them. The fear of growing up to be just as weary and beaten down as the adults in their lives underlies the more overt horror of the Queen—a doll that seems all too alive.

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