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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book (edition 2008)

by Neil Gaiman, Dave Mckean (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
12,043None211 (4.2)1 / 984
Title:The Graveyard Book
Authors:Neil Gaiman
Other authors:Dave Mckean (Illustrator)
Info:HarperCollins (2008), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library, Read in 2012 (inactive)
Tags:'12, Fantasy, YA/children's, Vampires, May eventually give away, Newbery Medal, Didn't review

Work details

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

2009 (152) audiobook (93) cemeteries (201) children (128) children's (282) children's literature (132) coming of age (185) death (202) family (102) fantasy (1,641) fiction (1,114) gaiman (87) ghosts (889) graveyards (352) horror (307) murder (202) mystery (117) Neil Gaiman (114) Newbery (239) Newbery Medal (269) novel (113) orphans (195) read (168) read in 2009 (91) signed (80) supernatural (308) to-read (187) vampires (158) YA (391) young adult (501)
  1. 302
    Coraline by Neil Gaiman (FFortuna, moonstormer)
  2. 233
    The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling (veracity)
  3. 151
    James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (ut.tecum.loquerer)
  4. 154
    A Fine and Private Place by Peter S. Beagle (lorax)
    lorax: Beagle's work is not YA, but it is a classic, beautifully written love story involving ghosts and a man living in a cemetary.
  5. 80
    Un Lun Dun by China Miéville (heidialice)
    heidialice: Both are fantastical YA at its best. Gaiman is an acknowledged inspiration for Mieville, and it shows, though he has his own distinctive style and voice.
  6. 70
    The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (emperatrix)
  7. 71
    The House With a Clock In Its Walls by John Bellairs (timspalding)
  8. 93
    Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (ut.tecum.loquerer)
  9. 1510
    The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (ut.tecum.loquerer)
  10. 61
    Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman (moonstormer)
  11. 40
    The Thief of Always by Clive Barker (kawika)
  12. 41
    From the Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury (Ape)
    Ape: Eerily similar stories...
  13. 52
    The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (jonathankws)
  14. 96
    Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (heidialice)
    heidialice: Similar in setting, and both ghost stories, these are very different books, but fans of one should be interested in the other.
  15. 30
    Abarat by Clive Barker (kawika)
  16. 20
    Down the Mysterly River by Bill Willingham (keeneam)
  17. 20
    The Palace of Laughter by Jon Berkeley (FFortuna)
  18. 31
    Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman (PghDragonMan)
  19. 75
    The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (FFortuna)
  20. 21
    Johnny and the Dead by Terry Pratchett (brianjungwi, fugitive)

(see all 34 recommendations)


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English (853)  Finnish (2)  German (2)  Spanish (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  Hungarian (1)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  Romanian (1)  All languages (869)
Showing 1-5 of 853 (next | show all)
I wanted to love this book. I really dove into it with some enthusiasm because I love Neil Gaiman and his support of childhood literacy and public libraries. But, maybe my expectations were a little too high.

I enjoyed it well enough, but I didn't love it.

The structure of the plot was jarring. Each chapter would jump through Bod's life a few years without any warning. It took time to adjust and figure out just where I was in the timeline.

I did enjoy Bod's life very much though. Not only did we get to see the struggles of a "normal" young boy, we also got to imagine how life would be to learn the lessons and hear the stories from people long ago gone.

The idea most dear to my heart was that of "Fading". Oh, how I would LOVE to fade! Sometimes I even feel like I do fade, I just slip into nonexistence for a while when I really don't want anyone to notice me.

There were so many things that I enjoyed about this book, I just wish the plot was presented a bit more smoothly. ( )
  katemiller1724 | Apr 17, 2014 |
3.5 stars ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
I liked it, but i kinda hoped it was more horror-ish ( )
  AmandaEmma | Mar 26, 2014 |
Nobody Owens, Bod for short, was just a normal kid until his family was killed. He was going to be murdered until he crawled to the graveyard.. He was adopted by two new people. They were not normal. They were ghosts. Bod grew up into a very smart boy, and was taught in the graveyard by other ghosts. His guardian, Silas, also taught him things. One day, he had to leave to obtain information, he had to travel. When Silas left, he kept Ms.Lupescu in charge of him. She was a strict, mean, and unforgiving. One evening after his lesson, Bod meets three new people. Ghouls. The ghouls take him along and plan to turn him into a ghoul. Bod realizes that he has done something terribly wrong, and he while they're sleeping, they have an intruder. A huge monster dog. A Hound of God. And that Hound of God can talk.. Bod sees that the monster is really Miss. Lupescu's true form. After that, he is saved. Another day, he goes to the apple tree, and he falls. He sprains his leg, but it is made slightly better from a witch. Her name is Liza Hempstock. He and Liza become friends. Bod knows that she doesn't have a headstone, and decides to buy one for her. He goes into the cave of the Sleer and takes the brooch. He sells it to a man's antique shop. The man locks him inside his little backroom, and steals the brooch. Liza finds Bod, and saves him, helping him Fade. The two escape and take the brooch. Bod paints Liza's intials on a large rock, and puts it as her headstone. Liza is pleased. ( )
  AmberM.B3 | Mar 21, 2014 |
This book was absolutly amazing! I loved the way it lulled it's readers into a trance until you couldn't put it down. I remember reading this book the first time and not understanding it. Later in my life when I found this book again I remembered that I had already read it and added that knowlege to the newer one. When I reread the book, everything became clearer the second time than it did the first. Many of my friends have agreed with me that this book was simply outstanding. I highly suggest this book to anyone that likes mystery, family, trust, adventure and isn't scared of the dark!

When Nobody "Bod" Owens's family is murdered his new parents are far from normal... They're ghosts in an old graveyard just up the hill from his home. When baby Bod wanders into the graveyard, the murderer, Jack, come chasing after him. Luckily the ghost people protect the living child and take him in as they're own. Bod grows up around the dead, prohibeted from leaving the graveyard, his guardian tells him stories of the outside and brings back books from his adventures. When Bod meets a girl, things get strange, even though he can slip through shadows, the girl's parents can't see him, thus dubbing their daughter's new friend as imaginary. When Bod runs into something called the Sleer, he has to use his wits to get out alive, and even then, he's not done with adventures in the graveyard. ( )
  KelsieH.G3 | Mar 18, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 853 (next | show all)
Gaiman writes with charm and humor, and again he has a real winner.
added by lampbane | editVOYA, Rayna Patton (Jul 24, 2009)
Gaiman's narratives tend toward the episodic, and there are chapters of The Graveyard Book that could stand alone as discrete short stories. All the better for reading at bedtime, though, and what's lost in forward momentum is more than made up for by the outrageous riches of Gaiman's imagination
added by timspalding | editGuardian, Patrick Ness (Oct 25, 2008)
Like a bite of dark Halloween chocolate, this novel proves rich, bittersweet and very satisfying.
This is fine work, from beginning to end, and the best bedtime story read-aloud material I've encountered in a long time. Can't wait until my daughter's old enough to read this to.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Oct 10, 2008)
While “The Graveyard Book” will entertain people of all ages, it’s especially a tale for children. Gaiman’s remarkable cemetery is a place that children more than anyone would want to visit. They would certainly want to look for Silas in his chapel, maybe climb down (if they were as brave as Bod) to the oldest burial chamber, or (if they were as reckless) search for the ghoul gate. Children will appreciate Bod’s occasional mistakes and bad manners, and relish his good acts and eventual great ones. The story’s language and humor are sophisticated, but Gaiman respects his readers and trusts them to understand.

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Neil Gaimanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Iacobaci, GiuseppeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKean, DaveIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parpola, InkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Plouhinec, Valérie LeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riddell, ChrisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Rattle his bones
Over the stones
It's only a pauper
Who nobody owns

-- Traditional Nursery Rhyme
First words
There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.
Fortinbras Bartleby, ten years old when he had died (of consumption, he had told Bod, who had mistakenly believed for several years that Fortinbras had been eaten by lions or bears, and was extremely disappointed to learn it was merely a disease), now apologized to Bod.
“You’re always you, and that doesn’t change, and you’re always changing, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Nehemiah Trot said, “Ah, list to me, young Leander, young Hero, young Alexander. If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.”
“And for that reason, if for no other, it is vital that the child be raised with as little disruption as possible to the, if you’ll forgive the expression, the life of the graveyard.”
"It'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." p. 104
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060530928, Hardcover)

In The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman has created a charming allegory of childhood. Although the book opens with a scary scene--a family is stabbed to death by "a man named Jack” --the story quickly moves into more child-friendly storytelling. The sole survivor of the attack--an 18-month-old baby--escapes his crib and his house, and toddles to a nearby graveyard. Quickly recognizing that the baby is orphaned, the graveyard's ghostly residents adopt him, name him Nobody ("Bod"), and allow him to live in their tomb. Taking inspiration from Kipling’s The Jungle Book, Gaiman describes how the toddler navigates among the headstones, asking a lot of questions and picking up the tricks of the living and the dead. In serial-like episodes, the story follows Bod's progress as he grows from baby to teen, learning life’s lessons amid a cadre of the long-dead, ghouls, witches, intermittent human interlopers. A pallid, nocturnal guardian named Silas ensures that Bod receives food, books, and anything else he might need from the human world. Whenever the boy strays from his usual play among the headstones, he finds new dangers, learns his limitations and strengths, and acquires the skills he needs to survive within the confines of the graveyard and in wider world beyond. (ages 10 and up) -–Heidi Broadhead

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:17:42 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Nobody Owens is a normal boy, except that he has been raised by ghosts and other denizens of the graveyard.

(summary from another edition)

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1.5 8
2 78
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