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The Graveyard Book
The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
ISBN: 310718
Pages: 289

0 stars, based on 0 rating
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Write a Review
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ophelia99 avatar reviewed The Graveyard Book on + 2527 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
When I heard that Gaiman was releasing another book I was very excited and I am happy to say that this book met all of my expectations. Gaiman is such an excellent storyteller.

This book expands on one of the short stories in "M is for Magic" by Neil Gaiman. In that story we meet Bod, a boy who lives in a graveyard. This book tells about how Bod got there and of the adventures he had there. You learn more about the mysterious Jack too! In fact I believe chapter 4 or 5 of The Graveyard Book, is actually an exact reprint of this story.

The story starts with a creepy killer named Jack who kills Bod's whole family (trust me no spoilers here, this happens in the first page); Bod as a small, curious toddler escapes to the graveyard. The book is interesting in that for the first two-thirds of the book each chapter is more of a short-story about Nobody Owens (Bod). Initially there is a large time span between each chapter and in each chapter (short-story) we learn about one of Bod's adventures in the Graveyard. As you get towards the end of the book things happen closer together and the chapters turn into more of what you would consider a standard chapter.

It is fascinating to hear about a boy who is raised in a graveyard by ghosts. Bod develops into and strong and very interesting character, that you can't help but love. Silas, the guardian of the graveyard, is also fascinating. Gaiman, as usual, adds an ironic touch to the story by showing how similar Bod's issues when growing up are with any other childs.

As for being a kids' book; for the most part the book would be okay to read to a young child. The first chapter, where Jack murders Bod's family, I found the be extremly creepy; so I would shy away at reading this chapter to a young child. Many of the other chapters are also scary. If a child under 10 was going to read this book, I would say a parent should read through it first and then you can read it together and skip any inappropriate parts. This book, naturally, deals a ton with death and what it means to be dead.

I absolutely loved this book. I thought the age level was a bit higher than Gaiman's Coraline. People who complain about Gaiman being too morbid, haven't read enough Gaiman. He is like the young adult, fairy tale version of Stepan King...many of his stories are crafted to make you think and feel slightly uncomfortable. This was absolutely a wonderfully crafted story, it's one I am keeping to add to my book collection.
Trey avatar reviewed The Graveyard Book on + 260 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I snagged this one after it was recommended to me by a friend and the next day it won the Newberry award. At that point I decided, 'I need to read this.' One mildly frustrating call to Books-a-Million later (We don't have it and can't get it. No, I don't know why (and can't be arsed to ask up the food chain why). I don't care if the website has it ... we have one in stock.)

Anyway, it was fun. It's a pretty light hearted fantasy piece and really makes me itch to re-read The Jungle Book. Its about Nobody Owens, the only survivor of his family and finds sanctuary in a local graveyard that's a nature reserve. There, the then nameless infant, is adopted and named by the inhabitants of the graveyard - some ghostly, one not so much. That last one would be Silas and he almost steals the show from Nobody, but Gaiman keeps the spotlight on Nobody and it works. The stories tell of Nobody growing to adolescence and his efforts to also learn to deal with the living - all the while trying to escape the attentions of the man that killed his family.

I liked it. I've dropped it in a drawer for my daughter when she gets older (along with The Thirteen Clocks and Mistress Masham's Repose). Time to see about a copy of The Jungle Book and Just So Stories.
starfkr avatar reviewed The Graveyard Book on + 53 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
If you are a fan of YA fiction (and specifically Harry Potter), you are sure to enjoy this book. Gaiman creates a magical world in which our protagonist, Nobody Owens, lives. After his family is murdered Nobody makes his way to the local graveyard where he is cared for and raised by the ghosts that inhabit it. It's a sweet story, blending fantasy and mystery together in a way I found delightful. I found myself bawling at the end of the book; I didn't want it to end! I loved it.
katfusion avatar reviewed The Graveyard Book on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is the story of Nobody Owens, a boy raised by ghosts in a graveyard. It's a pretty cute story. Not the best juvenile book I've ever read, because I think it was a little too "young" for me, but I know a lot of people would love it. It's my first Neil Gaiman, and I can see why people like him. It's whimsical and well written and Mr. Gaiman has a heck of an imagination.

I'd probably read him again, and recommend this book to anyone wanting a light, fun read.
Sleepy26177 avatar reviewed The Graveyard Book on + 218 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
For me it was an impulse to buy this extraordinary book. Actually I walked through B&N children books when I saw the interesting, shining cover. Of course I had read about the book sooner on different forums so I bought it and din't really read the books description. :-)

The man named Jack enters quietly the house, leaving the father, the mother and the daughter dead. With only the little toddler left he makes his way up to the top of the house to find the toddlers crib being empty.
The boy is awaken by a crash in the house. His curious manners make crawl, walking isn't an option at this young age, out of his room, down the stairsand through the open front door.
The man named Jack sniffs the air. He sniffs through the house, outside the door and follows the child's scent.

Mrs. and Mr. Owens look down onto the little toddler that half naked just crawled through the graveyards gates. The approaching man seems to be its father but then they hear a shout the man is going to kill the boy. Mrs. Owens speaks to the voice and fading shadow that begs them to protect the child and take it into their midst.
Mrs. and Mr. Owens agree and the child vanishes in the mist leaving the man Jack alone on the graveyard.
The Owens have been dead for hundreds of years and so have their graveyard friends. It is decided that the boy stays on the graveyard to be safe and raised like their own. With his guardian the solitary Silas, the boy grows and learns the secrets and dangers of the graveyard but getting older he seeks for more then the graveyard can offer bringing him to the danger of the outside world and eventually exposing him to the man who has never stopped searching for him.


I find the book utterly charming and entertaining.
The idea of having a child raised by ghosts learning the ghost of all ages and the graveyards history and accomplishing ghostly abilities is fascinating and lovely described by the writer.
The character Silas and his whole role in the book almost demand of more of him and his following adventures and maybe his former life. Same goes for the man Jack and what drove him to end the lives of Bod's family.

The first chapter though seems for me a bit too graphic for the recommended age range. Being not an expert on children books or not being a parent myself I'd still recommend parents to read over it first and then decide if their child's development is far enough to handle graphic scenes. The chapter might has well have been taken from a cozy mystery.

Otherwise the book is perfectly safe, including everything a child might like: A little creepy, lots of love and friendship between the ghosts and their community and how much love they put into the boys education. Lovely and enchanting.
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terez93 avatar reviewed The Graveyard Book on + 273 more book reviews
This first rate young adult novel is a twist on the traditional "ghost" story, whereby the reader is introduced to the world of the ghosts, a small, English graveyard populated by an entire "town" of spirits from many time periods, from ancient to modern. Their extraordinary world changes when one night, a toddler wanders into their graveyard, who has the uncanny ability to see them. As it turns out, the child's entire family was murdered by an unknown figure, who stalks the child into the graveyard, where he is hidden and protected by the multitude of friendly spirits. A childless couple then decides to adopt him, and names him Nobody Owens. They also enlist the assistance of an "un-living" figure, Silas, to provide for the child's material needs, as the ghosts can't leave the confines of the graveyard.

Young Bod is granted the Protection of the Graveyard, which means that he is bestowed with some of the spirits' supernatural powers, such as the ability to Fade, to instill Fear and to move with ease through the physical features of the cemetery. As the child grows, the graveyard becomes his whole world: nevertheless, he feels little deprived, as it takes a village to raise a child, and Bod has one - the whole community of ghosts, each with their own outlook on life and the afterlife, who instruct him in the various skills he needs to survive in the world of the dead and, eventually the world of the living. As with all of us, some new figures from the outside world occasionally make an appearance, including Scarlet, a five-year-old girl who finds Bod during her playtime in the cemetery, now a nature reserve, and Miss Lupesco, a werewolf enlisted to watch Bod while his physical guardian is away. More than any of the others, she begins his "formal" education, which includes geography, "languages" and other skills he will need to occupy the liminal space between life and death, and the world of the living and the world of the dead.

This beautifully written, poignant novel is full of the wisdom of the ages which even the young (and young at heart) will appreciate. (âYou're always you, and that don't change, and you're always changing, and there's nothing you can do about it.â; âIt's like the people who believe they'll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn't work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.") Although it's definitely heavy material, it's full of important lessons, such as bravery, loyalty, and love of a supportive community, even an adopted one. It turns on its head the typical trope about graveyards as a scary and threatening place. The author even wrote about this, regarding how he composed the ending: he had seen a documentary about South American death squads. The segment told the story of a young girl who had hidden every night in a mausoleum, where the death squads were afraid to tread, which had saved her. The cemetery then became rather than a place of ominous foreboding, a place of safety and refuge.

The end is quite bittersweet, as Bod loses his ability when coming upon adulthood, and, subsequently, a loss of innocence, to see and engage with his spirit "family," and thus must go out into the Big World to make his mark. It appears that he can't go home again... at least until he has lived his life. Only then can he return home, if he chooses, for the last time. Some of the novel's themes, such as Bod's leaving home at long last, with a few bucks in his pocket, to make his way on his own, now far removed from the protection of his ghost adoptive parents, will be far more poignant and heartbreaking for adults than children, I'll wager, but readers of any age will thoroughly enjoy this book. One of my favorite passages, in fact, reads as follows: "I had set out to write a book about childhood... I was now writing about being a parent, and the fundamental most comical tragedy of parenthood: that if you do your job properly, if you, as a parent, raise your children well, they won't need you anymore. If you did it properly, they go away. And they have lives and they have families and they have futures." Poignant, indeed.

This edition also includes some goodies for real fans: it features the acceptance speech the author gave when the book won the Newberry Prize, well deserved, as well as some handwritten pages of the original and some of the illustrations.
Dex1138 avatar reviewed The Graveyard Book on + 26 more book reviews
While I enjoyed reading the story of Bod and seeing him grow up, it wasn't until the end that I realized I would need more to make this truly satisfying.
Some things are never fully explained and maybe that was the allow young readers to come up with their own ideas about things such as the Jacks of All Trades and the Honour Guard. Had I read this when I was the "intended age" I have no doubt I would've played at being a boy in the graveyard (probably in an actual graveyard), chatting with spirits and hiding from assassins.
However, I didn't like the mystery around the events that set the story in motion. We never find out why Bod's entire family was targeted other than a vague mention of an ancient prophecy.
Desire for more background aside, it managed to keep me wanting to see what was around the next bend. There are some wonderful scenes: the ghoul gate, the Danse Macabre and especially Bod's leaving the graveyard.
It seems open for a sequel and I'm curious to see what would become of Bod in the outside world.
nccorthu avatar reviewed The Graveyard Book on + 569 more book reviews
A great read and certainly different from what is expected
nrlymrtl avatar reviewed The Graveyard Book on + 297 more book reviews
Miss Lupescu (shape shifter), Scarlett (Bods first live friend), and Liza Hempstock (deceased witch) are some of my favorite characters. As Bod ages, he learns about ghouls, school bullies, and eventually the man who killed his first family.

I love this book for many reasons. Neil Gaiman does an excellent job of showing that not all scary things are inherently evil. Each chapter shows yet another facet of the world of the graveyard and those experiences shape Bod as he grows into a young man. I would jump for joy if Gaiman wrote a follow up novel exploring Bods life after this book.
reviewed The Graveyard Book on + 22 more book reviews
This book is enchanting. It's a mixture of Alice in wonderland, Harry potter, and the Hobbit. While this book is actually intended for "tweeners" and young adults, it's one of the best I've read in a while. Each adventure is original nd frought with its owm scariness and humor. Highly recommended.
justreadingabook avatar reviewed The Graveyard Book on + 1711 more book reviews
Absolutely loved this book.
You are hooked from the first chapter and will continue to read through if possible.
Engaging and delightful.
renegadespiritcat avatar reviewed The Graveyard Book on + 198 more book reviews
Intriguing characters and manner of script that makes one think differently about life, death and the in between. Humorous in a twisted way but also thought provoking in others. Well thought out and a great read all the way around. Very glad a friend suggested it and happy to have read this book.
bejuwi avatar reviewed The Graveyard Book on + 32 more book reviews
Remarkable story!