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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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12,398884200 (4.19)1 / 1008
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 am pretty much in love with Neil Gaiman now. If the lovely book hadn't done so, his Newbery acceptance speech pretty much clinched it.

"We who make stories know that we tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best as we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. Someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. And who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort. And that is why we write."

That just warms my hard little heart. ( )
  amy_marie26 | Sep 8, 2014 |
Probably my favorite Gaiman book. The Graveyard book takes place in a graveyard. It is about a little boy who is taken in by the characters of the graveyard and his journey from infancy to adulthood. It is well written, intriguing, and entertaining - even if it is rather dark at times. I think that it is obvious to say that it is paranormal fiction, but there are ghosts and hounds of god and the like. ( )
  alb2219 | Sep 5, 2014 |
I had to struggle through the first 30 pages, and I almost put the book down. Something about the Disney-like beginning made me feel as though this book wasn't for me. I sat there and thought about all the unanswered questions I had: What was the shadowy organization that wanted the child and his family killed? What was the man Jack's motivations? Who was the spooky protector Silas? How does the boy(Nobody Owens) grow up?
I said to myself that I would read on until page 50, maybe something would pick up. And almost immediately it did, and I was quite happy. There is a rather wonderful Lovecraftian excursion into an underworld realm of ghouls and flying gaunts with a blood red dead sun and an abandoned city with impossible geometry that the ghouls have made their home. Like Lovecraft, it isn't exactly scary as it is deeply weird.
The rest of the questions were answered slowly, and mostly near the end, but in ways that didn't really satisfy me - they were rather expected, in fact had a really strong Tim Hunter/Books of Magic feel to them: the mysterious guide that is initiating our young hero into a magickal world is at deadly odds with a sinister faction that wants our hero killed because he is special/chosen. His maturation was interesting, but I wanted to see Nobody mature into someone capable of walking the line between the living and the dead, and the book completely drops the ball on this. The clean slate that he ends the book on is entirely unsatisfying.
So, it's well written, and the mix of characters and setting is compelling, but the story leaves me rather cold.
3 stars oc is the best I can give it.

Well, the more I think about the way that various conflicts are "resolved", I realize I can't actually go above a 2.5 ( )
  starcat | Aug 11, 2014 |
The Graveyard Book is about an infant boy that luckily wanders into the safety of a graveyard while a murderer is hunting him after killing the rest of his family. The ghosts of the graveyard adopt him, and raise him within the walls and gates of the graveyard. As suspected, he does not live the normal life of a regular boy with living parents. His adopted parents, being dead, cannot provide for him the needs that he requires as a living person, so Silas, a mysterious man that seems to be in limbo of the living and the dead, accepts to be his guardian and tend to the boy's needs. The boy is nicknamed Bod, short for Nobody, and his life in the graveyard is filled with monstrous adventures, ghostly lessons, and lots of heart break.

This is my first time reading anything written by Neil Gaiman, and I have to say, I am not disappointed. It's not the fastest read I've had, considering how short it actually is. I kept finding myself putting the book down and forgetting about it every now and then, but the moment I'd pick it up again, I'd be hook once more. As for the writing style, amazing. It was so fairy tale-like and whimsical, though dark and sinister and the same time. There were occasions where I was reminded a bit of Lemony Snicket's style of writing. The way the boy was sometimes described and the adventures he'd get into, along with the random definitions of simple words I'd come across throughout the book is what really reminded me of Snicket. Other than that though, the entire style was unique and intriguing.

My favorite characters were Bod, and Liza Hempstock. I loved bod because of the way he handled his emotions, and basically the brave little person he became. He had great character development. Liza was simply awesome because of her witchy-sassiness. I think they made a great pair of friends.

I don't think I disliked anything about this book. It was just all around really great. I fell in love with every single character, I hated the villain, there was a twist towards the end, there's action, there's horror, there's magic, and there's sadness.
I will admit, my heart broke at the end, and I cried. It's not exactly a spoiler, but you have been warned!

I definitely recommend this book, and I hope that everyone who reads it enjoys it as much as I did. I've jumped onto the Gaiman Train and I will absolutely be reading more of his books in the future. ( )
1 vote nikkiplusbooks | Aug 1, 2014 |
It's an okay book and very weird.After finishing the book I am feeling unsatisfied.

None of the mysteries of the story was answered properly.What were the "Jack" men really?It was not answered properly.The prophecy about the boy was neither very impressive.And what kind of guarding Silas really do,it was not answered either.A boy lived in a graveyard for 15 years of his life and then he suddenly took off on his own to the outside world without the adequate knowledge about it.How is he going to survive, I have no idea.
Well over all a mysterious book which remains mysterious even after finishing it. ( )
  sreeparna | Jul 27, 2014 |
If Kipling's 'Jungle Book' had a contemporary counterpart, this would be it: an orphaned infant boy raised in a cemetery by the spirits of the deceased. This (comparative) vein alone makes this a good read, and the judges thought so too, as it won the Newbery Medal in 2009. ( )
1 vote MomsterBookworm | Jul 14, 2014 |
I really wanted to like this book. I've heard so much about Neil Gaiman, but it was too far out of my comfort zone. It is a YA book about a boy who lives in a Graveyard, raised by ghosts who protect him from the man who killed his parents. I just didn't like it, but I thought it was well-written. I will read more by Gaiman. ( )
1 vote Bridget770 | Jul 8, 2014 |
Bod's family was murdered by the man Jack when he was a baby. He escaped to a local graveyard where the ghosts take Bod in until he is 15. The man Jack is still trying to find Bod during the whole time he is living at the graveyard. During his stay at the graveyard, Bod learns a lot;his letters, numbers and how to stand up for himself which prepares him for his meeting with the man Jack when he is 15.
  ashleyann65 | Jun 30, 2014 |
I read this with my book club, so for my review, I’ll share some of our observations. Many of us, myself included, enjoyed the references to popular mythology, although some people didn’t notice all of them. I think we all generally felt that the book read like a bunch of short stories which had been pasted together but were a bit disjointed and the ending was quite abrupt. On the other hand, we all loved the writing and drawings, both of which I thought worked well together to capture the emotion of different scenes. Like in Gaiman’s talk, I felt as though every word was carefully chosen. I was struck by the creepiness of these scenes he described, but even that was overshadowed by the beauty of the writing. This was a very cool, unique middle grade book.

This review first published on Doing Dewey. ( )
  DoingDewey | Jun 29, 2014 |
A retelling of The Jungle Book set in an English graveyard. In the opening scene a toddlers entire family is murdered but he escapes into a graveyard where is adopted by the ghosts, ghouls and other inhabitants therein. He grows up learning their ways, befriending them, but always torn between them and an interest in the outside world -- and the company of living people. But among those living people are the person who murdered his family and is still trying to track him down.

At its best the book is excellent. But it can be a bit uneven, meandering, and more obvious in places. Overall, however, falling short of perfection is not an argument against reading this very imaginative book. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
Originally posted at Read. Run. Study.

I liked the movie-adaptations of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust and Coraline, but I had never read one of his novels. I have been trying to fix that for a while, and finally did when I picked up The Graveyard Book.

The first thing that struck me when I opened the book were the illustrations by Dave McKean. I loved the illustrations! They were lovely and dark, but not exactly scary – they just worked beautifully.

As for the story, The Graveyard Book is nothing if not unique. We are, after all, talking about a book that follows the development of a child as he is raised by the inhabitants of a graveyard. I didn’t know what to expect going into the book, and I’m glad for that so I’m not going to tell you much. Let’s just say I developed a little crush on Silas (Please someone tell me I’m not alone on that.) Gaiman’s writing is beautiful, even in a book targeted towards children. His command of language is simply impressive. Somehow, he leaves you with a book that is easy enough for a child to read and enjoy, yet speaks to an adult as well.

My first instinct upon finishing it was to give it 4 stars – I really enjoyed the story, but I felt as though it lacked something. As I’ve considered the story further, it has grown on me and now I’m torn. Do I leave it at 4 stars, or bump it to 5? I think the answer is to split the difference, and assure you that this will not be my last foray into Gaiman’s novels.

Rating: 4.5/5

As I was writing this review, I found video clips from The Graveyard Book Tour in which Neil Gaiman narrates each chapter of the book. The book, as narrated by Neil Gaiman, gets 5 stars. His narration finds what I couldn’t in the book which may simply be his accent and inflection. ( )
  readrunstudy | Jun 21, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this book. Filled with fun, quirky, interesting characters, it tells the story of Bod Owens and his life in the graveyard. I'd definitely recommend it for an enjoyable, light read. Perfect for a summer on the patio to counteract the cold, foggy gloom of the graveyard. ( )
  mitchma | Jun 2, 2014 |
When a toddler wanders into the graveyard, the ghosts that reside there are thrown into an uproar. How can they possibly care for a living child? But Mr. and Mrs. Owens are adamant that they will take in the baby, whom they name Nobody (Bod for short). And so Bod grows up in the graveyard learning the basics of Fading and Dreamwalking while also remaining curious about the world outside the graveyard gates and the murders of his family that led him to the graveyard to begin with.

Gaiman's ability to write charming but spooky novels always delights me and The Graveyard Book was not a disappointment. The tales of Bod's life in the graveyard are by turns sweet and scary but always entertaining and I appreciated the episodic nature of the novel as it allowed Bod to grow up quickly over the course of the novel. I was thoroughly delighted by the slow reveal of the villain and found the overall concept very clever. Additionally, the illustrations by Dave McKean add an extra element of creepiness that enhances the atmosphere of the novel. And of course, being Neil Gaiman, there are also some truly beautiful sentences woven into the narrative that I found particularly moving. ( )
4 vote MickyFine | May 25, 2014 |
This one makes me really wish there were half stars!! 4.5 stars! ( )
  patsaintsfan | May 23, 2014 |
This one makes me really wish there were half stars!! 4.5 stars! ( )
  patsaintsfan | May 23, 2014 |
When I started reading this book i didn't really like it that much but when i started reading it more i got into the book.This book is about a baby boy,who is later named Bod Owens.He later starts growing up into a handsome young.But he soons find out that his entire family is dead.A man named JAck had killed his family long ago.Bod gains his own powers over the years.He has learned to Fade and DreamWalk.Basically what these are,are Fading is when u dissappear like a shadow,noone can see u.DreamWalks are when you can go into someones dream and make it into something else. Bod meets a girl named Scarlett. She later finds out that Bod is a really mysteryouis boy. She iS later in danger from the man who killed Bod's family is changing his name to Mr.Frost (Jack Frost).They both find out he is a really bad man and Bod has to try to defeat him. ( )
  tevins.b3 | Apr 22, 2014 |
Summary: This book follows the life of Nobody Owens (Bod for short). When his family was killed when he was a baby, he wandered out of his home to a graveyard, barely escaping the murderer coming for him. The ghosts of the graveyard adopt him, and until he leaves at fifteen years old, his life is spent learning he ways of the dead while trying to balance in the ways of the living.

Personal Reaction: I love Neil Gaiman. And I love this book. I love the certain level of creepiness and adventure Gaiman brings to Bod's life, and how Gaiman gives us a glimpse into his idea of the afterlife.

Classroom Extensions:
1. This could be used as an example of fantasy/horror. After a short lesson over characteristics of fantasy books, this could be read aloud book for the whole class. After each chapter, have students get into groups and discuss what elements of fantasy novels they saw and heard.

2. Have students draw their interpretation of Silas and Bod. What made them think the characters looked this way? Under the drawings, have students write their view on what each character's personality is and whether they liked the character or not and why. Compare everyone's drawings to show that a single character in a book can be interpreted many different ways,there is no one right way o see a character.
  ElissaBroadaway | Apr 21, 2014 |
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 |
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