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A Box of Bones

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  166 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Twelve-year-old Kallie despises nonsense. She believes there's a rational explanation for everything, despite the good-natured prodding of her Grandpa Jess, who takes her to frivolous wastes of time like their town's local Festival of Fools.

There, Kallie meets a faceless man (must be some kind of mask) who gives her a strange wooden puzzle box (must be some kind of gimmick
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 28th 2019 by Roaring Brook Press
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  166 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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Hannah Greendale
A Box of Bones follows twelve-year-old Kallie in the modern world and a bone-peddler's assistant, Liah, who exists in an alternate world. Kallie's narrative is the more intriguing and engaging of the two, though it often halts for exposition dumps. Unfortunately, Liah's narrative is less developed. Further, Liah's chapters are all in italics; a needless strain on the eyes (hopefully this will be altered prior to publication).

Kallie and Liah's stories are supposed to overlap, but their connectio
Belles Middle Grade Library
Oct 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When I picked this up the 2nd time to continue reading, I was on page 50. I then finished the rest. Lol it was so good, & there was never a point that I could put it down. Such a suspenseful, fast paced, page turner. I loved it so much. Kallie is very level headed, goes by a routine, & is cautious. She doesn’t do anything that could even be a little risky, she doesn’t tolerate nonsense, & only trusts facts. She has a friend who is pretty much exactly like her. But then a new girl Anna steamrolls ...more
Ms. Yingling
Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

This author's The Doll's Eye was super creepy, but this just got off to a slow start, which is not what my horror readers want. It also spent a lot of time discussing the mother's death, which dragged it down even further. Just not what I needed, although this author writes well.
May 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Nobody does smart creepy quite as well as Marina Cohen. I loved The Doll's Eye and The Inn Between, but A Box of Bones is my new favourite.

The creepiness is subtly present throughout, but there are no wasted words in A Box of Bones. It's tightly crafted yet lush with intriguing and well-rounded characters who grow on you as they themselves evolve. I love the dual narrative and how Liah's and Kallie's stories intertwine. Each chapter ends on a cliff-hanger, propelling the reader breathlessly for
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great middle grade book. The story is original and captivating, the characters are nice and grow which is great! An amazing thriller/mystery book!
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When Kallie, a very matter of fact, no nonsense twelve-year-old gets a mysterious box from a faceless man at a festival, her well-ordered life begins to change. Her rock steady friend Pole has brought Anna into their fold, and Anna has brought with her a breath of fresh air and whimsy that serves Kallie well, if she allows it. Kallie’s story is mixed with Liah’s story, and their paths converge seemingly into one. Kallie’s quest for the truth causes her to doubt one who loves her. This is a wonde ...more
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
After reading and enjoying Cohen's book, The Inn Between, with my fourth and fifth graders in our after-school book club, I knew I wanted to read her newest book when it was published. Cohen was gracious enough to chat with my students via Skype about the book and her writing process. The kids were just riveted by her, and they continued to refer to her stories and anecdotes weeks after the chat. I truly appreciate that she gave so freely of her time to reach out to my students in such a meaning ...more
Karen Upper
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This newest release by Marina Cohen will have readers gripping the pages with intensity from beginning to end! In this story, Kallie’s world of ‘fact’ collides and begins to mix with the magically complicated world of Leah. Both characters are filled with a strong sense of purpose...a purpose that eventually weaves the girls together in very unexpected ways, revealing a unique tale where the facts of science compliments the truth of of stories.

This Middle Grade narrative is a tale of courage, sa
Debbie Ohi
Feb 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg-middle-grade
Deliciously creepy middle grade with lots of suspense. I am a big fan of Marina Cohen's writing, and this story did not disappoint. LOVED the puzzle-solving aspect, the dark edge, the fairy tale magic. ...more
Feb 05, 2019 added it
Often when I read this age range of book I wish it was for an older audience so that I could get more meat from it. I didn't get the relevance of the Jackal. It didn't seem to be good or bad, or even an omen, which I think is what it was meant to be. I like the story idea and the characters. I would have liked more story told in the parallel universe. What happened to the past empress and so on. the biggest take away for me was the setting. I HAD to Google Lake Champlain, Champ, and the bike fer ...more
Lourdes (Chapters We Love)
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ok, I just find out about this book and I’m here crying cause I need it in my hands right now!

I absolutely loved this story! Marina Cohen did not disappoint, her middle grade creepy stories are the best.

Review to follow
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
**Spoiler-free Review of A Box of Bones

***Content Warnings for A Box of Bones: drowning, implied death, implicit gore, hospitalization

When a faceless man gives Kallie a puzzle box, she becomes obsessed with unlocking its secrets. But when she opens it, her life becomes entangled with another world, a place where Liah is a bone carver’s apprentice who must defeat an evil empress…with a box of bones. The stakes start rising, which means Kallie must “decipher the meaning of her own story”…or else
Twelve-year-old Kallie Jones puts little faith in stories, instead relying on facts and proof to keep her world humming along. But when she receives a wooden puzzle box at a festival, things start to change. She becomes determined to figure out which combination of moves will open the box, and slowly, methodically, recording every move she makes, Kallie figures out its secret. But once she does so, it seems as though the pieces are causing strange things to happen. While Kallie is trying to sort ...more
I loved this creepy, alluring middle grade story by Marina Cohen! Kallie is very comfortable in her skin, smart, and kind of a loner. When Kallie accompanies her grandfather Jess to a Local Festival of Fools she is confronted with some strange goings on beginning with a faceless man giving her a puzzle box. As she sets herself the task of unlocking the box’s secrets, Kallie is drawn into a mystery of another time and place where Liah is a bone carver in training who must overcome an evil empress ...more
Nannette Demmler
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
ARC provided by MacMillan Children’s Publishing via NetGalley for an honest review.

What an absolutely marvelous story. The characters are sweet and well drawn out. The two stories are both wonderful, and a little bit creepy. The ending was just perfect and satisfying.

Kallie is such a delightful little girl who is very practical and doesn’t put up with any nonsense. Facts and truth are her comfort, she reads physics books for fun! She doesn’t know what to make of this faceless man who gives her
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Many thanks to the publisher and author for providing me and our #BookJunkies reading group an ARC of this title for review. All opinions are my own.

This was a fantastic little MG fantasy read. Imbued with the power of story telling and featuring fun, believable characters, I really enjoyed this. There was magic, there was a side story about the real life problems we face, and there was a message of writing your own story and taking control of your own destiny.

Kallie is a believer in facts. Aft
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
This book was received as an ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and Thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

When I first read this book, I did not know what to expect. Then as I read on and learned about Kallie and her belief that every myth, legend, and fantasy can be proved by science and that everything happens for a reason until she receives this magic box that unlocks a secret world that is becoming part of hers. This st
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Twelve-year-old Kallie is a strong protagonist who confronts life with logic, order, and no nonsense. Stories are lies, and magic and make-believe have no place in the ordered life she and her father have carved out after Kallie’s mother’s death. This ordered life turns upside down when Kallie receives a puzzle box. By solving the puzzle and opening the box, Kallie discovers a set of intricately carved bones. Something else escapes from the box, something that defies logic and order.
This fast-p
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile-lit
Legends are stories and stories are lies. That's what 12 year old Kallie believes, she is a serious person and does not believe in wasting time or stories. She is a no-nonsense person but when her Grandpa Jess takes her to their town's Festival of Fools a faceless man gives her a mysterious box made out of bone. At the same time the bone carver's story starts, and it doesn't take long for Kallie and the bone carvers' stories to intertwine. In order to figure out what's happening Kallie must step ...more
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Kallie is very much like her Father – rational and thoughtful. She doesn’t believe in the supernatural or the unexplained. Everything has a purpose and an explanation. Her Grandpa is funny, warm and a breath of fresh air. He takes her to the Festival of Fools where she meets a faceless man who gives her a box. This isn’t some ordinary box, Kallie must work to open it. Once she uncovers the pattern, something really weird happens and Kallie is worried that something may have escaped the box. We b ...more
Debbie Tanner
Kallie is a very rational thinker but when she's at a festival one day and faceless man hands her a mysterious box, she's a little wigged out AND intrigued. The box seems to be mechanical in nature, although there's no key hole and no obvious way to open it. After a lot of methodical trial and error, the box opens and she finds that there are cubes inside, along with a long slender stick? Letter opener? Pencil? Then she meets a really strange girl who is telling all sorts of fanciful stories, an ...more
Matthew Manganaro
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book was kind of a mess. A bomb was dropped in the beginning of the book that immediately piqued my curiosity. Unfortunately, it wasn't really talked about until halfway into the book when it started picking back up. It was great up until the ending where the conflict wasn't really resolved in a realistic way. The characters were just given the resolution and everyone was like, "okay, cool". I did really like the atmosphere Cohen set up, however. I pictured the entire book to be set in a Ti ...more
Laurie Murray
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book for my son because he had read The Inn between and really enjoyed it. He reas it and suggested I do the same. It is a great story about a young girl named Kallie who lives with her dad and grandfather. The story is written here in Burlington Vermont and talkers about the Festival of Fools. Kallie meets a faceless man in a pink fedora who gives Kallie a box. Things change for Kallie and the way she has lived her life. I recommend this for anyone who enjoys a YA books with suspe ...more
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A young girl finding her way between facts and stories discovers that what we know is not always true and what we believe does not always need evidence. Marina Cogen does an excellent job of weaving the story of Kallien her family, and her friends. The book has just enough twists and turns to keep you interested without making you dizzy.
Jul 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Beautiful writing. Confusing plot. It seems as if the author is trying to tie too many discrepant elements together. Middle graders who are strong readers and enjoy fantasy will want to give this a try.
Cecilia Rodriguez
Nov 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Set near Lake Champlain, thirteen year old Kallie takes an analytical approach to life.
In the subplot, Liah is an apprentice bone carver.
The underlying theme is understanding the difference between lying and the creative art of storytelling.
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Both whimsical and haunting, not by turns but simultaneously. It's a very impressive feat. ...more
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Appropriate for: age 11+

I liked this book, but it's less about magic and more about change. It's about the lessons the main character learns and what the reader can learn from those lessons.
Silvia Creed
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it
More like a 2.5 star read. The story lines didn’t flow very well.
Petr Olmer
Aug 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
The book feels very mechanical, the characters simple. No thrill and not much fun. DNF after nine chapters.
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