Admittedly, I don't have too much more to say that wasn't said back in March. But there is a little more. Mostly about the characters.
Zach was a really well-written character. His conflicted feelings over telling Poppy and Alice about the loss of his action figures is just brilliant. He's so uncomfortable with the idea of keeping secrets from them but at the same time he can't bring himself to tell them. He doesn't want them to see how hurt he is by what happened and doesn't want to be responsible for ending the Game. Zach struggles so much with what he's feeling and the reader sees it and it's so cool to see how that develops. He's the character that is being forced to grow and learns that not all growing is bad.
Poppy. Poppy is easily my favorite character. I love her enthusiasm (see previous Doll Bones post). She is, I think, the one I most identified with. As Alice and Zach get involved in other things and start noticing each other more she feels more and more like she's being left behind. That they're growing up with out her. In a lot of ways, she has the most invested in the Game, because she feels like it's the only thing tying the others to her anymore. I felt the most bad for her. There were a lot of moments that it seemed like she was pushed out by Zach and Alice. Moments like when they're entering the library and the others are acting like their characters and even Zach acknowledges that if Poppy joined in he would be mad and it would be ruined. But I also feel like she was set apart from the others in the beginning by how the Game was structured. Her characters were at odds with those of the others. In a lot of ways she is much how I was as a kid. Including the wanting everything to go my way and sulking when it didn't.
I love the little ticks and movements that Holly Black gives her to make her and her connection to Eleanor that much stronger. The always touching. The need to have her near. The connection. Eleanor reminded me of Poppy. The need to have the dolls the play with and everything.
Alice. I'm not entirely sure what exactly it is about Alice that doesn't work for me but I think it's because I can't really get into her head. We see much through Zach's eyes and I understand Poppy but not Alice. She complained the entire trip. More often than not I hated the way she treated Poppy. She threw every mistake and everything that went wrong back in Poppy's face. I never once got the sense that she really believed in what they were doing. She was willing to go when Zach was cool with it but took every chance to say that Poppy was crazy and try to talk him out of it, knowing it was important to her other friend. I feel like she's the friend who gets a boyfriend and forgets everything else. I guess I felt like she and Poppy were never really friends. She was condescending.
One of my favorite elements to this book is the importance of telling a story. As important as the act of playing the Game to Zach is it's the story that's really important and the idea of leaving the story unfinished that pains him the most. Eleanor's story is important and Zach uses her story to help write his own.
Also, huzzah Ohio!
But I highly recommend it to everyone. Read it. It reminded me so much of being a kid again. Plus it's the amazing story telling of Holly Black.