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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
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The Graveyard Book (original 2008; edition 2010)

by Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean (Illustrator)

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13,055919175 (4.19)1 / 1058
Review by: Courtney P

THIS BOOK IS A MUST READ IT'S SOOOO GOOD!!!!!!! ( )
  bplteen | Apr 27, 2012 |
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Read my review of the audiobook version (originally read by author alone, not the later full-cast version) of this 2009 Newbery Medalist fantasy at http://newberryproject.blogspot.com/2009/07/graveyard-book-2009.html.
  rdg301library | May 24, 2015 |
I did not enjoy reading this book as much as other book I read this trimester. The Graveyard Book is about a boy who's parents are killed when he is a kid by a man named Jack. The boy is then adopted by the ghosts in the graveyard near his house. He is named "Nobody" and taught the basics of the graveyard by the ghosts. He then goes to fight the man named Jack. Does he defeat Jack???
I did not this book as much because the action did not occur until the end. I mildly recommend this book because even though the action does not occur until the end - it is good when it happens. ( )
  craig22 | May 17, 2015 |
OMG! This book is a magical roller coaster ghost train ride! You go through every single emotion while reading this! Sadness. Horror. Happiness. Freaked out. You feel all of these things at any given moment! AMAZING. I originally bought this for my Son. As is tradition I read it first before giving it to him, so I know the contents.
Apart from the beginning (parents and sister murdered) it's fine for an eight year old I'd say (maybe your opinion will be different always check first) I also think it's a perfect read for an adult too. There are plenty of odd characters and each one you get attached to. I read this in one night, that is how brilliant it is. Nobody is one of my favourite characters this month. The Jack thing was perfectly planned!! I could almost live in this story for ever. The graveyard bunch are slightly insane but brilliantly together. You could easily read each chapter as a short story if you wished or you could read it in one go and see the chapters build together. Either is good. But whatever you choose, not reading this is not an option! I can totally see how this won the Carnegie and Newbery medals. This deserves the praise of the whole world.
My favourite parts are when the ghosts are mentioned they are mentioned with everything written on their grave... [Example: Doctor Trefusis (1870-1936, May He Wake To Glory) inspected it and pronounced it merely sprained.] I thought this was classic. This whole book could indeed be a classic one day in the long away future. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR! I don't know what took me so long...... ( )
  darceypaige | May 16, 2015 |
[4.5] Another finished in an unintentional sequence of morbidly titled short ebooks. (I'm slightly tempted to read Burial Rites to continue the theme, but the novel inside doesn't have the humour and irony of the others, and it's not that short anyway.) It may be May, but this weather *sounds* appropriately autumnal for reading such things.

Gaiman ... he's just so good at what he does. Whilst I'm not sure I agree with the cover quote from Diana Wynne-Jones: "The best book Neil Gaiman has ever written", there are moments when it's a masterclass; the opening chapter, for instance: this must be how you write horror for pre-teens; this is how you make something superbly chilling and creepy without any gory details.

He has so many ideas, he can throw something away on half a chapter or a minor character when many authors would have constructed a whole book around it. It's a melange of allusion richer than the average Discworld book; none are essential to understanding the plot, so it would be enjoyable for the 8-12 reader who hasn't read lots of these other books without them having a sense of missing things, but it means the story has another level of fascination for the adult reader well-versed in classic fantasy. Like Potter, Nobody Owens is a Boy Who Lived, which may seem a little too obvious (more obvious than the Jungle Book / Wild Boy theme Gaiman was aiming for). But what about a different twist on the governess from Willoughby Chase, and she and her charge finding themselves in a Tolkienly-named and landscaped mini-adventure where some of the interior scenery sounds like a German Expressionist film set and the inhabitants bring to mind varieties of goblin from multiple universes? Or a seventeenth-century teenage witch who's also kind of Tiger Lily? An old graveyard allows the wrapping together in one setting of spirits from pre-Celtic to Victorian - the low-fantasy children's books from the 60s, 70s and 80s which I loved, likewise set in provincial England, rarely had such a span in one volume, and each subplot has just as much magic as any of those novels. Shortening the hero's name to Bod likewise evokes that era. Sometimes allusions scuttle about at word level, barely conscious; the author knows so much, it can't help end up in there somewhere: "...purple. Doctor Trefusis..." [my italics]. Half-recognised references to films and books of decades past constantly flit in the back of one's mind: like the hero's guardians, haunting yet comforting.

To the reader who's technically old enough to be a parent of the child characters, a few plot points seem unlikely, that relevant adults wouldn't have thought a situation dodgy much earlier - but kids' fantasy books need that sort of scenario to function. And I thought the background of the villain somewhat underdeveloped (and thereby damp-squibbish), although he's the perfect Gaimanesque mix of the derivative reworked into the original-oh-I-never-would-have-thought-of-that. Re-reads of kids' books often show we were happy to take a writer's word for the badness or goodness of something, and this lot could on that basis perhaps still seem majestically powerful.

May 2015 ( )
  antonomasia | May 6, 2015 |
A good story, but I found the ending depressing, maybe unnecessarily depressing.

I listened to the audio book version. ( )
  Amelia_Smith | May 2, 2015 |
A children’s/young adult novel, the story maintains Gaiman’s dark humor and shadow worlds without the heaviest aspects of his adult works. Nobody (Bod) Owens crawled out of the house as his family was murdered, and found his way into a nearby graveyard. Taken in by two ghosts and given the Protection of the Graveyard, Bod was raised by his mysterious neither living nor dead guardian Silas and spirits from times just after the Roman conquest to a few hundred years ago. He learns to reading and writing, Latin phrases, constellations, how to dreamwalk, how to Fade, how to Haunt… things a boy should learn and things that will help to keep him safe, for Silas warns the graveyard’s inhabitants that the man who murdered Bod’s family is still looking for him. Playing in the ancient graveyard turned nature preserve, going to school (half faded to remain unnoticed), and chatting with hundreds of dead friends and teachers, Bod walks the line between the living and the dead, and as he grows the man Jack knows the time he has left to kill Bod and finish the job grows short… and though the Graveyard itself works to keep Bod safe while he is within its bounds, in modern society it is becoming much harder for a boy to remain unnoticed, overlooked, and undocumented.
The story is, despite its macabre themes and setting, fairly lighthearted and heartwarming. It is filled with short stories of Bod’s adventures as he grows up in his unconventional home. The story makes me think of the saying ‘it takes a village’, though in this case, it truly takes a graveyard. ( )
  Ailinel | May 1, 2015 |
This full cast audiobook version is nothing but delightful! ( )
  LiterateHousewife | May 1, 2015 |
I really want someone to read this book so I can talk with them about it! I didn't even know it was for "kids" until after. (A little more mature, the same age as the Harry Potter group, probably). A little reminiscent of that, too, in just the fact that there is a boy, who lives... I was probably about halfway through when I thought, you know, kids could totally read this book and they would like it and, bonus, there is nothing bad in it. Well, surprise, it is for kids. Just doesn't strike you straight off as a kids book... you'll see why in the very first sentence if you read it. Really hooks you from the start. Very fun. Though a very different book than I've ever read before. ( )
  KR_Patterson | Apr 28, 2015 |
Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book is a delightfully creepy and eerie story about a boy, Nobody Owens, who is adopted by a graveyard full of ghosts after his family is killed by a mysterious man. With his guardian, the not-quite-alive but not-quite-dead Silas, Bod grows up on the border of life and death.

Gaiman shines when he gracefully writes between delicious horror, bits of comedy, and just a touch of sadness. Bod's adventures include being kidnapped by ghouls (simultaneously hilarious and threatening), meeting the witch of the graveyard and attempting to find her a gravestone, and suffering under the tutelage of the curious Miss Lupescu. While some authors would falter when balancing so many different atmospheres, Gaiman makes it look effortless.

When the end finally comes - as it must, unfortunately - it is both hopeful, sweet, and with just the right touch of sadness.

Definitely a treat for any age. ( )
  kittyjay | Apr 23, 2015 |
This is a fantasy book about a boy who’s family was killed by a man named Jack and is now living in a Graveyard. It follows him as he grows up in the graveyard and makes friends with a girl called Scarlet Perkins. He is danger from Jack, who is trying to hunt him down and kill him.
This book was very interesting and a good read. I liked the concept of it and the inclusion of all the fantasy elements. It was a cute book, and I enjoyed it very much.
Extension Ideas:
1) Students can create their own ‘graveyard’ and the ghost that they would see or befriend.
2) We can hold a class discussion about how Nobody Owens has changed from the beginning of the novel, to the end when he leaves the Graveyard.
  GSoto95 | Apr 15, 2015 |
Had to think about this one a while. Maybe 3.5 stars. But it's just not sticking in my memory like a really good book does. Part of the problem is that I'm just not into paranormal, sorry.

And I thought it a little odd that there were two things happening - there was the narrative, the mystery, that culminated in a big, but briefly described, battle. And there were the middle chapters that were more about the boy's adventures through the years. I liked them better, though I would've liked to have seen the other characters 'fleshed out' more (for example the witch). ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
If a book about a kid growing up in a graveyard, taken care of by ghosts, can be called adorable, then this book is adorable. ( )
  bexaplex | Mar 30, 2015 |
The story of a boy raised by the "inhabitants" of an cemetery is oddly plausible. A unique coming-of-age story, wryly humorous but keeping a straight face through-out. One chapter (#4) is also included in Gaiman's book "M is for Magic". ( )
  librisissimo | Mar 16, 2015 |
One of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors. This would be a great book for reading out loud to 5-6th graders, or for them to take turns reading out loud to the class. The humor and suspense would be appealing to this grade level, although the murdering maniac might be a bit much for the more delicate constitution. ( )
  Maggie.Goff | Feb 26, 2015 |
As a huge fan of Neil Gaiman's work, I couldn't wait when I heard this book would be out. As soon as I received my pre-ordered copy I read it in a couple of days and fell in love. Having reread the book for a group read discussion, I fell in love with it all over again. Nobody Owens isn't your typical young adult protagonist, but he's charming and likeable in his own way. I highly recommend this to anyone who would like to start reading Mr. Gaiman, or anyone who enjoys his previous work. ( )
  walksaloneatnight | Feb 24, 2015 |
As a huge fan of Neil Gaiman's work, I couldn't wait when I heard this book would be out. As soon as I received my pre-ordered copy I read it in a couple of days and fell in love. Having reread the book for a group read discussion, I fell in love with it all over again. Nobody Owens isn't your typical young adult protagonist, but he's charming and likeable in his own way. I highly recommend this to anyone who would like to start reading Mr. Gaiman, or anyone who enjoys his previous work. ( )
  walksaloneatnight | Feb 24, 2015 |
As a huge fan of Neil Gaiman's work, I couldn't wait when I heard this book would be out. As soon as I received my pre-ordered copy I read it in a couple of days and fell in love. Having reread the book for a group read discussion, I fell in love with it all over again. Nobody Owens isn't your typical young adult protagonist, but he's charming and likeable in his own way. I highly recommend this to anyone who would like to start reading Mr. Gaiman, or anyone who enjoys his previous work. ( )
  walksaloneatnight | Feb 24, 2015 |
As a huge fan of Neil Gaiman's work, I couldn't wait when I heard this book would be out. As soon as I received my pre-ordered copy I read it in a couple of days and fell in love. Having reread the book for a group read discussion, I fell in love with it all over again. Nobody Owens isn't your typical young adult protagonist, but he's charming and likeable in his own way. I highly recommend this to anyone who would like to start reading Mr. Gaiman, or anyone who enjoys his previous work. ( )
  walksaloneatnight | Feb 24, 2015 |
I enjoyed this immensely. The story is well written, the characters likeable (or hateable), the setting intriguing, and it flows amazingly. A quick read, but it's so entertaining. ( )
  adam.d.woodard | Feb 23, 2015 |
Review originally posted on Goodreads.

If you enjoyed this book and haven't listened to the audiobook read by Neil Gaiman, do yourself a favor and DOOOOO IT! It's so good. I don't tend to like audiobooks because they don't usually have a reader I like or the reader is just hard to understand. Neil Gaiman had me entranced from the beginning. ( )
  apollymipanthos | Feb 7, 2015 |
Read for Fantasy/Science Fiction Assignment. ( )
  SaritaInce | Feb 2, 2015 |
I am an unapologetic Gaiman fan. His books are layered up bits of goodness: cohesive, imaginative plots acted out by compelling characters with solid themes underneath it all. What I appreciate most, however, is his prose, which always reads rather slyly. He treats the most unusual plot twists with a completely straight face, which brings us all in on the joke. A boy raised by dead people? Sure. Why not? Seems perfectly normal to me.

This is more straightforward than his other novels, probably because it's intended for a middle-grade audience, but that doesn't detract in any way. It is beautifully written, funny and tragic in turns (or at the same time) and just really enjoyable. I'd recommend this to anyone age 10 and up (possibly even 8, depending on the kids' ability to handle scary situations). Like with Coraline, I can't wait until my kids are old enough to read this. ( )
  CherieDooryard | Jan 20, 2015 |
Imagine a city painted in the dull, grayscale watercolors of a city eternally at dawn and rained on. It is in this landscape that we watch as Nobody “Bod” Owens comes of age. As a toddler, Bod escaped the clutches of a hitman who had just killed his parents and sister by crawling up a hill to the gates of a graveyard. There the kind denizens and Silas, his dark and silent guardian, took him under their wing and granted him the Freedom of the Graveyard, where he gains protection from the outside world and learns to be as ghostly as one made of flesh can be. Throughout the book, a variety of mystical and intriguing characters are introduced, such as the world of ghouls and Ms. Lupescu, a Hound of God. Each chapter presents a new adventure of Bod’s life and although these chapters connect into a broad narrative as a whole, they can feel a little disjointed. Much of that feeling comes from the desire to learn more about the characters and settings introduced in the book; new ideas will be presented, but without a satisfying amount of depth of detail. In this way, while interesting the book can feel a little unfulfilling. Additionally, the book can feel slow paced at times, but the degree to which the narrative comes to life nonetheless makes it feel more like a lilting song than a truly slow and boring story. This book would surely delight children who enjoy supernatural stories as it follows the vein of horror and macabre without ever feeling too adult or scary. Recommend additional purchase. Ages 10 and up. ( )
  kornelas1 | Dec 3, 2014 |
This enchanting novel cloaks its exploration of family and independence in the trappings of a horror story to appeal to young readers and adults alike. The story follows Bod, whose family was murdered when he was a baby by an agent of a shadowy organization. Bod is adopted by the ghosts who live in a nearby graveyard, and he grows up there, learning the secrets of the undead. When Bod is older, the assassin returns, accompanied by other agents of his organization. Bod uses his knowledge of the graveyard to dispose of the assassins and protect the graveyard, but now that he has proven that he can be self-sufficient, Bod must leave the graveyard and make his own way. The prose oscillates between the lyrical and frank, and the twisted black ink illustrations lend a creepiness to the text, though they do not add to the narration. The story balances violence and death with love and friendship. Not all of the mysteries Gaiman introduces are explained, creating a sustained sense of wonder throughout. The reading level is suitable to young readers, but the sophisticated themes and compelling story will appeal to children and adults. Highly Recommended. Grade 7+. ( )
  kottenbrookk | Nov 30, 2014 |
This book is one of the best I have EVER read, and I say that without hyperbole. I am still teary-eyed, and I cannot hope to capture the amazing feelings the stories left me with -- for make no mistake, while this book is a novel, it is also a collection of wonderful short stories. And since Neil Gaiman, IMO, shines when he writes short stories, it should not surprise me in the least that this book was so perfect.

I will be forever grateful to the librarian who handed me this book when I simply went it to get a copy of "M is for Magic" for a book club reading. Thank you every so much! ( )
  ladypembroke | Nov 22, 2014 |
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