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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
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The Graveyard Book (edition 2010)

by Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean (Illustrator)

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12,038None211 (4.2)1 / 984
bplteen's review
Review by: Courtney P

THIS BOOK IS A MUST READ IT'S SOOOO GOOD!!!!!!! ( )
  bplteen | Apr 27, 2012 |
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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 |
Everyone's family is a little different. Some people have aunts and uncle. Some people have parents and grandparents. Some people have cousins and some people don't. However, Bod - short for Nobody - has ghosts. After the murder of his family Bod is adopted and raised by the ghosts of a nearby cemetery until it is revealed that his family's murder is still at large, and looking for him.

I have said it before and I'll say it again; I love Neil Gaiman. This is just another excellent example of how well he understand the inner mind of youth and young readers. Exploring this richly dark world, Gaiman weaves his special magic to create very memorable and endearing characters as well as a gripping story that is appropriate for younger readers with a love for all things dark and spooky. ( )
  abrial2433 | Mar 18, 2014 |
Toddling into a graveyard after the murder of his entire family, a baby is adopted by the otherworldly inhabitants. Nobody Owens, or Bod, is raised by ghosts, taught by lycanthropes, and protected by a mysterious guardian. The book is dark, and doesn't have a traditional happy ending, but it uses humor in a way that keeps the goings-on from becoming too macabre. His friendship with a normal human named Scarlett is realistic because it avoids romance and sentimentality, which also keeps it appropriate for younger readers. The violence and danger in the book are toned down, and the ending is satisfying without being grisly. The calligraphic ink drawings are well suited to the text and show the heaviness of the tombstones and crypts with thicker strokes,while using a much lighter touch for the ghosts. The experience of loneliness and being trapped between worlds will resound with tween and teen readers who are no longer children, but not quite adults. ( )
  Honanb | Mar 17, 2014 |
The first thing that grabs my attention in the first chapter are the illustrations. They are in black and white which gives the feeling of eeriness. The illustrations help set the theme of the story to come. The author writes in a third person narrative and at times uses a second person point of view. This helps put the reader in the scene and feel the situations and events. The author uses narrative to describe what is occurring chronologically. I like how the author uses vocabulary not typically used by the target readers of this book.
  jenniferflowers | Mar 16, 2014 |
Nobody Owens, also known as Bod, is living along with ghosts in a graveyard. He is being raised by ghosts since the age of infancy. He learns how to read and write from Silas a ghost from the past, who is the only ghost that explores in the night. Bod is able to learn how to fade by his fellow guardians and "parents". Bod meets a girl who is his age named Scarlet. Scarlet wants to know about Bod but Bod cannot seem to know much of his own information. Scarlet and Bod become good friends and rely on each other for learning also. But the question is, does Nobody Owens know what can happen in the real world and the world of death too? The dangers? The good and happy things?

I recommend this book for middle school students and maybe even some high school students as well. This book is super interesting and draws my attention from the start of the first page of the first chapter. I am actually currently reading this book in my language arts class. I believe Neil Gaiman has a good sense of imagination. The Graveyard Book draws so much attention from my everyday work it take both of my sisters to get me to come downstairs and eat dinner. This is probably the second book that has done this to me. If you have read Coraline by Neil Gaiman, you might enjoy this book also. A good sense of imagination is the key to a good reading. ( )
  NagisaR.B3 | Mar 13, 2014 |
Gaiman is a natural storyteller. His voice and enthusiasm help the reader become more involved with this story. Although more frightening than other children's books The Graveyard Book is better in audio book, almost like you're being told a creepy ghost story by a master storyteller. A great read and listen for kids as well as adult Gaiman fans.
  Tvickrey | Mar 11, 2014 |
Nobody Owens manages to escape the killer of his whole family as a baby. He is raised by ghosts and werewolves in a hillside cemetery. Nobody eventually wonders how he can live with the living by being around the dead all the time. Unfortunately he can’t leave the cemetery or Jack, the murderer, will come back for him and finish his job of murdering the entire family. This book is classic Neil Gaiman. Wonderful, imaginative, spooky and I fell for it immediately. A young audience will fall too not only for the spooky story but for the imagination of the story and the wonderful characters. ( )
  cfranson | Mar 9, 2014 |
Utterly irresistible ( )
  newnoz | Mar 3, 2014 |
It was a weird book. It's definitely not a book I would say is a must read. And yet when I was reading it, I got so into the story that I really wanted to know more and I found there were times I couldn't put it down. ( )
  KamGeb | Feb 20, 2014 |
The story about Nobody “Bod” Owens who, after having escaped the man who killed Bod’s family, is raised by a family of ghosts and grows up as a ward of the cemetery. This is quite a fun read since it has so many different aspects to it - adventure, ghosts, mystery, and a general creepiness. It's also a great read-aloud book, even though the kids I read it to were maybe a bit too young to really get what was going on in parts and sometimes got a little too creeped out because of it. As a chapter-book it works, but if you read the whole thing in one sitting, it may be a little disjointed since it's episodic in nature. My only problem with it is that you have to wait a long while for the reason for the premise and, when it comes, it's a little anti-climactic; I would have liked a more substantial explanation for the mythology and a less abrupt ending. Gaiman's playful imagination is here in abundance, though, so I did enjoy it for that and for its fun characters. ( )
  -Eva- | Feb 19, 2014 |
The story of Nobody Owens, a boy raised by ghosts in a graveyard after his family is murdered. I love Neil Gaiman as an adult author, but had never read any of his books for children so I was excited to try The Graveyard Book. It definitely did not disappoint, though I worry that the dark tone of the story would be difficult for younger children. I would consider carefully before recommending this to some of my students, but overall it was a fantastic book with the kind of setting that draws you in immediately and makes it very hard to put down. ( )
  Octokitten | Feb 17, 2014 |
1 ( )
  PhotoS | Feb 17, 2014 |
I didn't like it that much. Very grey and black and white. Dark tale, scary story, ghouls and dark fantasy ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
If you’ve ever read Gaiman’s “American Gods” (and you should) you’ll have an idea of what to expect here. Neil Gaiman is a goldmine of mythology and history, and his knowledge leaks into the pages. Everything is infused with accuracy and research, everything is referencing old gods and famous moments in history. They call it a kids book, but as an adult reader you can get so much more out of all his subtle little nods to history.

The story starts out with each chapter being a self-contained ‘snippet’ from the main character Nobody’s life in the graveyard, following him as he grows up and makes friends with witches, steps through portals into other worlds, and deals with a teacher who might not be all that she seems. Towards the end of the story, all the individual sections start to come together as the man named Jack picks up Nobody’s trail once again…

Neil has a real gift with characters. The Graveyard residents are made memorable with only a few lines of text, and they’re all so likeable. I didn’t even realise how attached I was to these characters, until 2am on Christmas Day rolled around and I was still reading, still desperate to know what happened next and what these poor characters were going to have to go through.

This is a great fantasy novel – an easy, fast-paced read with a lot of depth and appeal to all ages. ( )
  EMaree | Feb 11, 2014 |
To cut to the chase: Sniff, I’m underwhelmed. I like Gaiman as much as the next geek, and after the Sandman books – which outshine everything else he’s ever done – my favorite works of his have been the ones aimed at younger readers. Loved Coraline. Loved the picture books with McKean. Maybe didn’t LOVE Stardust, but liked a whole damn lot anyway.

But this is like someone else trying to write a Gaiman book, clumsy and thin. Sure, there are tons of cool stuff. The man has ideas, as usual, and the particulars work: Ghulheim is lovely, the ghosts in the cemetery are sweet and corny, and the allusions and winks and quotes (of which I'm surely missing half) are clever and fun. But the story itself…I don’t know. It starts great with the Man Jack killing a whole family but the one who really matters – the boychild who instead stumbles into a graveyard and gets adopted. But what follows are a number of loose episodes, acting more or less as intermission up til the last hundred pages when the main bad guy and his bad guy pals suddenly and randomly resurface. The motivations of this rather abstract secret society remain obscure at best. But hey, that’s okay, because another secret supernatural society, helping our boy hero, are currently in a mountain in Krakow doing...um,something unspecified, but randomly dangerous, to help out. Oh yeah, and apparently something happened in San Fransisco too.

Bit of spoling here:
I mean, I like a bit of mystery, but actually getting an idea of why a secret society of philanthropist murderers spend a decade trying to kill someone, or why a vampire-werewolf alliance spend the same amount of time protecting him, besides two lines saying “Um, see, it was this prophecy” doesn’t seem to much to ask, does it? There seem to be pieces missing everywhere.

End rant? Sadly, not quite. While many of the characters kind of work, their relationships just don’t. I don’t feel them. We get sentimental descriptions of loss and pain and separation, but seldom get to feel something first hand, or see the bonds form. More often than not we just have to take the authors word for it: Oh right, he really liked her and now he’ll miss her bitterly, okay then. Right, I suppose it's sad when your mentor goes away, I'll take your word for it.

In the hands of a lesser writer, this could have been a real stinker. Now Gaiman mostly saves the mess, by being Gaiman. But I expect a lot more from this pen. ( )
1 vote GingerbreadMan | Jan 30, 2014 |
Especially good as an audiobook read by the author. ( )
  Jolie3 | Jan 2, 2014 |
Especially good as an audiobook read by the author. ( )
  Jolie3 | Jan 2, 2014 |
This children's novel that adults will love too starts with the murder of an entire family. Except one toddler boy, whose adventurous spirit makes him escape his bed, his nursery, the house and even the street. He manages to toddle into a graveyard, usually one of the more frightening places to be. But this one choice saved his life, because all those ghosts from the graves, along with others that aren't quite human, protect him, nurture him, and keep him from the murderer. They don't just do this for the night, but they adopt him, give him the freedom of the graveyard (along with some ghost-like powers), and take care of him for the rest of his upbringing. The school lessons from various ghost teachers hardly go beyond the 19th century, as most buried there lived centuries ago. But it is nevertheless benign, and mildly useful for the boy, known as Nobody Owens. Besides, in the graveyard, where all these beings protect him, things are safe from the murderers who never stop looking for the boy.

What marks out this novel as one of Gaiman's best for me is the wonderful juxtaposition between a boy full of adventure and curiosity, and his fenced-in world, full of death and constraint. It is strangely life-affirming, almost pleading with us all to make the most of the short lives we have, when we can make a difference to the world. Because after our deaths, even if there were such a thing as ghosts, our mark on the world ends, as does our freedom to experience what we choose.

Of course, being Gaiman, it is also wildly imaginative, with us always kept on our toes about what supernatural being is good or evil (many roles are flipped against the convention). It is also dark, violent, occasionally disturbing, but always gripping and a great privilege to read. ( )
2 vote RachDan | Dec 24, 2013 |
Creepy children’s book similar to Coraline, this tells a peculiar story of a normal boy named Bod, who grew up in a cemetery raised by resident ghosts up to his teenage years. Faced with dangers from his own “normal” kind, Bod would have to deal with the life he has inside the graveyard and the serious dangers awaiting him in the real world surrounding him. ( )
  snapsandreads | Dec 24, 2013 |
I've just finished reading Neil Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book". It's still sitting next to me, and I'm feeling sad that it's over, and am seriously considering re-reading it, immediately. It is, without a doubt, one of the most captivating tales I've ever had the pleasure to read, and it is hard to return to normal life after completing a book that sucked me in as deeply as this one did. If I could give it an 11 out of 5, I would, as this book definitely goes all the way to 11. ( )
  ahef1963 | Dec 23, 2013 |
This is the first book by Neil Gaiman that I've read and I couldn't wait to finish it. I found the story to be compelling, characters were rich, and the narrative was superb. Gaiman leaves some things for the reader to deduce for themselves but neatly concludes the book.

The book is recommended for ages 10 and up but I think that's a little too young it would probably get at PG-13 movie rating for the scenes of violence at the beginning and end of the book. Read or listen first and use your own judgment. ( )
  jorowi | Dec 17, 2013 |
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