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Monday, September 5, 2011

Book Review: Sally's Bones by MacKenzie Cadenhead

Reading Level: Middle Grade
Publication Date: September 2011
Pages: 192
Series: no
Acquisition: received for review

Sally is a quirky character who loves Death Rock and faded blue jeans. She fits in better with the Addams Family than with a clique of catty sixth grade girls. After her mother's death, grief-stricken Sally begs for death...and death is exactly what she gets: a tail-wagging skeleton dog called Bones. A gift from beyond the grave, Bones is a dreadfully delicious girl's best friend.—In this cleverly written, alliterative tale the neighborhood's dog treats go missing and everyone blames Bones. Sally must solve the mystery to save her cadaverous canine from puppy prison. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Overall, I thought Sally's Bones was a very sweet story. Sally is a young girl who is understandably very upset and sad after the death of her mother. She asks for help and she seems to get it - in the form of a skeleton puppy she names Bones. Bones would do anything for her and the two become inseparable. And of course, trouble soon follows.

Have to say, for a middle grade (ages 9+) book, I found the beginning of Sally's Bones a little harsh and dark. I know a few young readers who do not enjoy books involving death in any form and I wouldn't be able to recommend this one to them for that reason. However, at the heart of the story is a very sweet girl with a wonderful family who learns about the power of love.

Even as a skeleton, it was hard not to see Bones as the supper cute puppy he is. Nothing creepy about him at all. Sally loves him so much and when the town and even Sally's father turn against him, Sally stops at nothing to clear his name.

The villains in this story were pretty spot on - the rich, pretty, mean girl Viola and her jealous mother were perfect and I loved how things played out in the end. Not giving it away - read it for yourself!

Sally's Bones, although perhaps a bit macabre, holds a loving message about family and I think young readers will really enjoy. As with most books for the younger crowd, I encourage you to read this one for yourself before passing it on but I think you'll enjoy it as much as the children in your life will.

I know I'll be keeping my copy to pass on to my little one in a few years. MacKenzie has done an excellent job creating mystery and suspense with characters I dare you not to fall in love with. As a debut, Sally's Bones is wonderful and I'm sure to be on the lookout for more from MacKenzie in the future.

Overall Rating:
4 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Jabberwocky / Sourcebooks
Author's Website


  1. Sounds excellent. Thanks for the note about the beginning.

  2. I agree completely about Sally's Bones. It was really cute and had a very good storyline, but definitely darker than I expected. It may not be the best thing for younger or more sensitive readers, but I think so many middle grade kids will enjoy it.


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