Finding Your Own Story

A Box of Bones by Marina Cohen

Publication Date: May 28, 2019

Summary from NetGalley:

A box of bonesTwelve-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.


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 this box.  But she soon figures out the secret of the box, and what it contains will eventually change her life.  

I loved Kallie’s relationship with her grandfather.  You could tell from the start that although they believe in different things, they have a bond that is very important and loving.  Kallie’s relationship with her father was also loving, but less demonstrative.  

Anna is a girl in Kallie’s story who is the complete opposite of her.  She delights in making up stories and going on adventures.  She compliments Kallie and although their relationship is a struggle at first you can tell that this is the beginning of a life long friendship. 

Liah was a very strong willed and smart young lady.  She takes magic as a normal part of her life.  Her journey is totally different from Kallie’s but it is just as important.  And that Queen she meets, she is truly wicked and nasty.  She would kill you just for looking at her.  Liah is also very brave and kind.  She also has a wonderful relationship with her master that although he is strict with her is also loving.  

The two stories do not ever come together, but rather they mirror each other.  Things happen in Kallies’ life that are then reshaped to fit Liah’s story and vice versa.  The story moves along at a pretty quick pace and there are no slow spots.  The ending is quite surprising and little bit spooky.  Both girls show a tremendous amount of growth by the end.  

A wonderful story that is a middle grade gem.  I can’t wait to add it to my library’s collection and introduce it to my students.  They will love it.  

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