If you’ve read my maiden post, so to speak–the one about my Newbery project–you’ll notice that I said I can count on one hand the number of Newberys I’ve actively disliked. And this is true. If you happened to make a list, however, of books I sort of expected to dislike, it’d be longer. To be honest with you, I put off reading Holes and Maniac Magee because I assumed–yes, we all know what happens when we assume–that they’d be so boy-oriented I wouldn’t really like them. (THAT was clearly not the case, by the way. Loved. Them. Both.) And The Underneath and Elijah of Buxton looked so depressing (the latter by virtue of the general topic, really) that I put each of them off for a few years before bravely picking them up and–loving them, too. You’d think I’d learn, right? Then again, there was that Awful Experience that was reading The Planet of Junior Brown. (If anyone out there really liked that one, please comment and tell me why. Because I found it just SO VERY BIZARRE. And not really in a good way.)
Anyway, to make a long story short–too late! LOVE “Clue”!–I didn’t actually expect to like Doll Bones that much. I’m not much of a ghost story person–it’s not that they freak me out, necessarily, so much as I’m generally not that interested–and really, between the cover and the premise, it looked like a creepy ghost story. And it was, I suppose. Except that telling the story through Zach’s eyes meant that the writing wasn’t atmospherically creepy, if you know what I mean. He’s a twelve-year-old boy, and his observations sometimes made me giggle. Even better than the non-creepy tone, however, was the emphasis on relationships throughout the book. At the end of the day, those were even more important than the ghost story, although the ghost story was the catalyst for all of the relationship change. I liked Zach, Poppy, and Alice; I liked learning more about them; and I enjoyed following them on their ‘quest.’ I could see the story being creepier for kids or people who get freaked out by that sort of thing, mind you. It’s not that it wasn’t creepy at all. (And it’s not that things don’t scare me. I would never claim that. This just doesn’t happen to be the sort of thing that does, particularly.) The point is that it’s so much MORE than just creepy. Doll Bones is officially the newest title on my list of pleasant surprises.