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.