Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for as long as they can remember, playing together and inventing wonderful stories for their toys to act out. Their imaginative world of magical lands, marvellous adventures, heroes and heroines is presided over by the Queen (an old and valuable porcelain doll) from her regal throne in Poppy's mother's glass cabinet.
But now they are twelve, things are beginning to change: Alice has a secret to hide and Zach doesn't want his basketball team-mates to know he still plays with action figures. Then Zach's father decides to throw out all his toys, making a humilated Zach decide to give up the game - and his friendship with Alice and Poppy - forever. But one night, the two girls turn up at his house with an extraordinary and terrifying story. The Queen has appeared to Poppy in a nightmare - and now she has demanded their help.
Spooky dolls are a classic element of sleepover ghost stories, but here Holly Black combines the cliche with a thoughtful story about the challenges of friendship and growing up. With just the right amount of chilling, creepy gothic darkness to tantalise pre-teen readers, this is a beautifully-written little gem.