Rating: 4 Stars
First off, dolls are creepy AF. Always have been, always will be. I am so incredibly grateful that Eleanor has a very limited interest in dolls, so we don't have a bunch lying around the house staring at me.
This was exactly the kind of book I would have gone for in elementary school, based on the cover alone. It's creepy and the story is pretty interesting. In fact, I discovered this book when one of my students brought it to school and has been reading it for the last two weeks or so. I kept telling her to hurry and finish it, so I could borrow it. Luckily, I didn't have to wait because this week Eleanor's school had a family literacy night and the book was available for purchase at the book fair. I had to buy it, and 5th grade Sarah was not at all disappointed.
The story centers on a girl named Josie, who has to move with her mom and sister to their grandmother's house in the country after her mom loses her job in Chicago. Josie has all the typical worries as a new kid in sixth grade, and juggles those worries with the strange rules her grandma has laid out:
1. Do not bring dolls into the house
2. Never go to the house in the woods
Pretty straight forward, no?
Josie starts hanging out with this girl Vanessa, and immediately everyone stops teasing and picking on Josie. She likes this, because she thinks Vanessa is just the cooooolest, and the other kids seem to be afraid of her. As an adult of course it was pretty easy to see what role Vanessa would play in the story, even without knowing exactly how the story would get where it was heading. The notation of the locket was a pretty big hint, especially when followed later by Josie's grandmother telling Josie the story of her childhood friend, Victoria.
I'm tellin' y'all, anyone has something antique? They're the villain or an accomplice.
This book is definitely appropriate for upper elementary/middle schoolers. There's enough creepy suspense to keep some of those on-the-fence readers interested. I personally enjoyed it and it reminded me of the books I used to read at that age. I will absolutely be reading it to my class at some point this year.