Marina Cohen's A Box of Bones is a dark, propulsive, middle-grade tale about a trick box, two worlds entwined, and a mystery that may be best left unsolved.
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). Intrigued despite herself, Kallie sets to work on unlocking its secrets and…lets something out. From here Kallie’s life begins to entangle with another world, a world where Liah, a young bone carver, journeys with her master to sell wares to a wicked Queen.
The sights, sounds, smells, and spells of Liah’s world are beginning to leak into Kallie’s, and if Kallie can’t decipher the meaning of her own story, “the end” might be far from happy.
Marina Cohen grew up in Scarborough, Ontario, where she spent far too much time asking herself what if. . . . In elementary school, her favorite author was Edgar Allen Poe. She loved “The Tell-Tale Heart” and aspired to write similar stories. She is attracted to the fantastical, the bizarre, and all things eerie. Her books include The Inn Between and The Doll's Eye.
Praise for The Inn Between:
"Cohen’s emotionally gripping tale perfectly captures the essences of friendship and sibling love. Readers looking for a mystery with heart, humor, and hairy moments will be captivated."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"The well-placed narrative balances emotion and plot, and the strong underlying mysteries offer up plenty of clues for attentive readers to piece together. Quinn is a likable, authentically muddled young character, and occasional flashbacks to events surrounding her sister’s loss flesh out her guilt-ridden motivations without overtaking the story. Ultimately offering a happy resolution, this middle-grade supernatural story functions well as horror for beginners and a clever concept for fans of imaginative fiction. "—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"For readers who enjoy being scared silly, this will fit the bill while also providing them with a thought-provoking ending."—Booklist
Praise for The Doll’s Eye:
"An ever present and always-growing sense of dread accompanied by an atmosphere of chills and mystery make this perfect for reading in the closet under the cover of night."—Kirkus Reviews
"Read this one with the lights on."—Booklist
"Cohen crafts a pleasingly shivery tale of greed, repercussions, and innocence. A must-have for horror fans."—School Library Journal
"Cohen makes maximum use of creaking doors and strange shadows to create a delightfully chilling atmosphere, while an unnerving neighbor and whispered rumors heighten the suspense."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books