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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book (original 2008; edition 2010)

by Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
13,663960154 (4.19)1 / 1085
Review by: Courtney P

  bplteen | Apr 27, 2012 |
English (943)  German (3)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Spanish (2)  Finnish (2)  French (2)  Dutch (2)  Hungarian (1)  Romanian (1)  Catalan (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (960)
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This was a charming tale. Neil Gaiman just has an amazing way of story telling! I am recommending this book to all of my nieces!

This book could be used as a lit circle book in any grade from fourth up. It is a wonderful example of creative writing with themes that are universal.
  mtknick | Feb 8, 2016 |
The 2009 Newbery winner and an engaging story about a living boy raised by ghosts and other spirits in a graveyard. It took me a while to get into it, but I ended up really liking it.

I also liked that the edition I had contained a transcript of Gaiman's Newbery acceptance speech, in which he talked a lot about the role stories play in shaping our minds, helping us process real life, and also helping us escape from real life.

I liked the line, "Sometimes fiction is a way of coping with the poison of the world in a way that lets us survive it." ( )
  klburnside | Feb 8, 2016 |
macabre & yet delightful. Puts life &death in perspective ( )
  _amritasharma_ | Feb 5, 2016 |
Narrated by the author. An entertaining depiction of a different kind of family, the ghosts who care for young Bod at the graveyard after his family is brutally murdered. Part fantasy, part ghost story, part vengeful tale and wholly a story about an orphaned boy you come to care for. Nicely done! ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
like the story but slow at times and took awhile to get going ( )
  jimifenway | Feb 2, 2016 |
Very original! Overall, I liked the book a lot but did feel that some important things were unresolved- that maybe because I am an adult reader and not the target audience. ( )
  Cricket856 | Jan 25, 2016 |
It's a wonderful story, but if you have the opportunity to listen to the CD version narrated by the author, I highly recommend it. He does a fabulous job with the characters' voices. ( )
  Gingermama | Jan 24, 2016 |
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - very good

Ok, hands up, I'm usually quite scathing about adults reading children's books. I should now admit to two exceptions: Jasper Fforde and Neil Gaiman, two of my favourite authors and therefore two authors whose children's books I have occasionally read.

This is a lovely book. Obviously written for children, each chapter stands on its own, could be a short story, and documents an adventure or occurrance in the life of Bod. (I guess this stops the 'just one more chapter, I can't sleep until I know what happens next' aspect of reading to a child at bedtime). Bod's family are all murdered in the first chapter. Somehow, the baby escapes & crawls to the nearby graveyard where the 'residents' adopt him and vow to raise him and keep him safe.

All sorts of adventures ensue. Each little story deals with a different age of Bod's life and each has its own little moral or 'point of learning' for a child, but well hidden in Gaiman's whimsical and inventive story telling.

He won both The Newberry Medal and The Carnegie Medal for this book - well deserved.
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  Cassandra2020 | Jan 24, 2016 |
Gaimen's writing has never been better. His word choices are great and perform both the perfunctory job of telling his tale and the more challenging job of making the tale live. One of the best compliments anyone, I think, can give to a book is that they wished it wouldn't end. I felt that way about this book. I'm betting a sequel will come in time. Coraline received a great deal of praise, and I did appreciate, but I didn't love it. This one is far ahead of Coraline. Clever, creepy, well-aced, and witty.

If there is a weakness to this story it's that it misses one group of readers most likely -those in their late teens to late twenties. I could be wrong but this is a great read aloud for kids 10 and up and much fun for adults sharing with children. ( )
  RalphLagana | Jan 23, 2016 |
I have been a comic book geek for as long as I can remember and one of the names constantly batted around in that genre is Neil Gaiman because of his successful "Sandman" series for DC Comics. I finally felt that it was time to read a book that he has written, so I picked up "The Graveyard Book" from Bracken Library on Ball State University campus. The book is truly a gem in their collection.

The book centers on a boy that lives in a graveyard. The story progresses in a fantastical manner that keeps the reader engaged. Never have I felt so invested in a story as this one. Almost every single moment that you are reading you wonder what will happen next in the story. For a book to keep you so well gripped throughout shows how well the book is plotted out. The written word is simplistic in nature, but each one seems like it was plucked out of a hat with care. You want to keep reading this book and that is when you know a book is truly genious! ( )
  SoulFlower1981 | Jan 20, 2016 |
An enjoyable read; a book to relax with. Nobody "Bod" Owens is a young boy who grew up in a graveyard, watched over by the ghosts and a single guardian, Silas, who took him in after his family was killed by a mysterious assassin known only as "Jack". He has a series of adventures that seem disconnected at first, but revolve around the development of Bod and the strange people he meets as he learns magic and explores the graveyard and (eventually) the outside world. Jack is still out there, however, and still determined to find him...

Plot 3/5 Mostly because I like more connected, plot-driven stories, and because I had a lot of questions that weren't answered at the end of the story. (It doesn't feel incomplete, I just want to know lots of details.)
Characters: 4/5 It takes Gaiman almost no time to introduce his characters. Within a paragraph of their first appearance we know who they are and what kind of a person they're likely to be. However, they often come off as somewhat simplistic, which may be a side-effect of the cast being made primarily of ghosts, who don't really have much room for character development, being dead.
Setting: 5/5 Gaiman beautifully weaves magic into the real world, cresting an easily-believable graveyard populated with ancient history and occasional forays into the modern world come off as strangely alienating, despite the familiarity of the setting. As with his characters, he describes the world almost without you noticing.
Text: 5/5 Gaiman's language is simply beautiful, as always
Parental Guidance? Nope. The graveyard thing isn't even morbid. ( )
  jerenda | Jan 20, 2016 |
This was great fun. The graveyard is peopled with interesting characters and the author's introduction of the ghosts with the use of their epitaphs is clever. Other fascinating details used throughout the story lent it a warm, whimsical feel. Truly a delightful read. ( )
  penelopemarzec | Jan 19, 2016 |
Entertaining and easy to read. Interesting premise, and made me want to reread Kipling's "Jungle Book" on which this novel was based. ( )
  CarmenMilligan | Jan 18, 2016 |
I enjoyed this book very much. As I understand it, he wrote it for his daughter, and reading it from that perspective made it even more enjoyable for me. Also, I listened to it as an audio book, and I have to say that Neil Gaiman is an excellent reader (this is the 2nd one I've heard him read)! Usually when an author reads his/her own book they don't do a very good job (IMO). But I wish that Neil Gaiman would start to narrate other people's books--I LOVE to hear him read! Enjoy! ( )
  TerriS | Jan 17, 2016 |
The Graveyard Book, set in the graveyard in “Old Town” (somewhere in England) is a story about Bod, an unusual boy living in an unusual place and under truly unusual circumstances. When tragedy strikes his family, Bod is adopted by the denizens of the cemetery and guarded by a man known only as Silas.

While he grows he is taught by ghosts from every century, by Silas, and by Miss Lupescu (a werewolf). The tales of his adventures combine a wonderful sense of humor with shades of creepiness and a dash of magic. The assassin that killed Bod’s family was supposed to kill him, too. His failure haunts him and he continues to hunt the boy. In the end, Bod faces the killer—but not without cost.

The end is bittersweet, but well crafted and fitting, even full of hope for Bod’s strange future.

More suitable for tweens and teens, The Graveyard Book has its dark moments and some violence. It is the winner of the British Carnegie Medal and the American Newbery Medal. As an adult, I found it occasionally dark, occasionally sad, and frequently heart-warming. ( )
  RobinLythgoe | Jan 15, 2016 |
Graveyard book is Gaiman's version of Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Books. Unfortunately Gaiman stayed too close to the original. All the good bits were Kipling's, and since Gaiman followed Mowgli's story so close he couldn't really explore all interesting aspects of being raised by ghosts. Still, it's well written and someone who hasn't (recently) read the Jungle book will propably enjoy it a lot more than I did.

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  Paula_S | Jan 15, 2016 |
It would be hard to summarize this book without giving away the story. In brief, it is the tale of a young boy, adopted by the denziens of an ancient London graveyard after the brutal murder of his mother, father, and sister. It is there he resides and is protected until the time for hiding is no longer necessary.

This was a captivating tale and the characters delightful. I can only hope that Mr. Gaiman will someday return to tell the rest of Bod's story. My only disappointment was in the conclusion of certain branches of the story of which I can't go into much detail without spoilers. While it might seem minor it was enough to knock down my rating a tad.

I started the book on audio with my son, but he has the attention span of a gnat and was too easily distracted so I ended up completing it on my own in print. The audio was read by the author, who had the perfect voice for the story and the music at the beginning of each chapter provided flawless ambience and atmosphere. I hope someday to be able to return to the story with my son because I know that he would enjoy it even more than I. ( )
  Mootastic1 | Jan 15, 2016 |
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
A young boy is left an orphan after his parents and sister are killed by the sinister man Jack. The boy escapes his own death by wandering out of his home in the middle of the night and finding his way into the town graveyard. In the graveyard he finds protection, is adopted by the graveyard’s ghostly residents, and is given the name Nobody Owens. The Graveyard Book is a paranormal coming-of-age story target toward children but entertaining for all ages. Readers follow the adventures of Bod from a toddler to a teenager and along the way meet a wonderful cast of characters.

I ‘ve read several of Gaima’s book and never really understood the obsession with him. In general, other books I’ve read have seemed very average (entertaining stories but nothing spectacular). However, I really liked this book and enjoyed it much more than his other books. The language and humor was sophisticated for a child’s book. I was impressed by the mix of macabre and touching moments. The tale should be terrifying (murder of parents, a killer who continues to hunt for Bod to finish the job, ghouls, crypts, etc) but the Gaiman writes in a way in which terrifying moments don’t appear too scary for his target audience. Overall a great story filled with interesting characters and adventures. The chapters almost stand by themselves as short stories but together create a touching and engaging story. I didn’t give this book 5 stars because, for me, a 5 star reading is one that not only entertains, but makes me think, or raises deeper issues (probably not fair for a children’s book). I look forward to being able to read this book to my daughter when she is a little older.

I listened to the audio version narrated by Gaiman. He did a fabulous job with the narration and if I decided to get any more of his books, I will try for the audio versions. Listening to him read the book, made me want to curl up in front of the fire with hot chocolate. His reading reminded me of how my grandmother used to read to me as a child and made me very nostalgic.
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  JenPrim | Jan 15, 2016 |
Nobody Owens, Bod for short, is a toddler when his family is murdered by a man named Jack. Bod manages to escape and end up in a graveyard. Two of the ghosts in the graveyard adopt Bod and Silas, a mysterious figure who isn't alive or dead, becomes his guardian. Gaiman fully imagines the ghosts in the graveyard and Bod's world growing up there. It took me awhile to get into the book but by the end I was entranced and wished the book was longer. ( )
  RachelNF | Jan 15, 2016 |
I'm not really sure how to review this and it took me two days to mark this a "read" just because I was trying to think of a worthy review. No such luck; this is the best I've got.

I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it. I did like it a lot.

As I read the first few pages I was wondering why everyone had such a hard-on for Neil Gaiman's writing, because I didn't like what I was reading. But later I had to attribute that to the fact that I had just finished a very sad book and the opening pages of this book were also sad. However, as I read on, I stopped being sad and became intrigued. This book literally takes place in a graveyard. It was interesting watching Bod grow from a precocious toddler into a determined young man. The people he met and the adventures he went on were exciting.

I think the only complaint I can give is that I didn't love it like I thought I would, but that could have more to do with me than the book itself. Sometimes when things get built up so big, they're almost too big, and it sets us up for disappointment. So many people have told me how wonder Neil Gaiman's books are and most reviews I've read on his work is excellent, but it always boils down to personal preference and you headspace when reading something. Peraphs if I had read this prior to the other book or a few months from now I would have had a different feeling. Perhaps not.

I can say that I did enjoy reading this book and I do look forward to reading other works by Mr Gaiman. ( )
  PriPri77 | Jan 15, 2016 |
Audiobook performed by a full cast, including the author.

From the book jacket: Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy – an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack – who has already killed Bod’s family.

My Reactions
Well, I don’t know why I waited so long to read this Newbery Award winner. It was really delightful. It’s a coming-of-age story, a ghost story, a thriller, and a murder mystery. It has all the best of traditional story-telling techniques – friendship, adventure, obstacles the hero must overcome, villains, ghouls, ghosts, witches, vampires, werewolves, an innocent child, and more than one surprise.

The novel is divided into eight chapters, each one something of a short story. Over the course of the book Bod grows from infancy to about age 15 – skipping ahead about two years with each new chapter.

I was touched by Bod and his dilemma – whether to stay in the graveyard where he is safe, or go into the world where there are other living humans, people who might become friends, but where he would be in danger. But young boys cannot forever stay where they are safe. They grow up and curiosity leads them away from what is familiar to the unknown. And it is the parent’s/guardian's job to prepare that young person to become independent.

The audio book is masterfully performed by a talented cast of voice artists, including the author. It has the advantage of adding music to the Danse Macabre, and that theme repeats at the beginning of each chapter. The text has some wonderfully atmospheric illustrations, usually leading each chapter.
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  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
I preferred this over American Gods. The pacing was better and the overal tone was lighter and more my taste. ( )
  CatherineJay | Dec 30, 2015 |
An intriguing and wonderful parable-story, suitable for kids ten and up, but perfectly readable and enjoyable by adults. The early chapters read as perfect short stories by themselves; at the end, their threads are sewn together. A deceptively simple-seeing triumph of storytelling. ( )
  john.cooper | Dec 26, 2015 |
Bod is not a normal child, growing up with a family of ghost who are centuries old and invisible to the normal human. The story is heavy on the idea of family,adventure, good vs. evil and friendship. This is one of my favorite books that I read this term and plan to recommended to children and adults alike! ( )
  Atroesch | Dec 7, 2015 |
Such a great story, for both adults & kids. Definitely worth a purchase! ( )
  cyrenitis | Dec 2, 2015 |
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