Doll is a deceptively simple book: the writing is direct and elegant, the narrative immediate and page-turning, and before you know it, you are knee-deep in a disturbing, yet rich and emotionally challenging place. The subject matter is taboo and yet the main character, Thea, is so strongly drawn that you catch yourself finding her situation sympathetic, even momentarily natural. It is an ambitious topic for a first novel, but also funny (if you have a bit of a dark sense of humor) and weirdly romantic.
The title actually gives a great sense of how the book mixes genres and emotions. Dolls are cute and childish, but we've all seen enough films to know that they're also uncanny, somehow creepy. That mixture of the familial and the unfamiliar, the safe and the dangerously awry, plays out in a sophisticated and satisfying way here.