Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Lovely Bones (original 2002; edition 2004)

by Alice Sebold

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
28,75283932 (3.71)627
Title:The Lovely Bones
Authors:Alice Sebold
Info:Back Bay Books (2004), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:@read: own, August, 2008

Work details

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (2002)

  1. 51
    Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Maiasaura)
  2. 84
    The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (leahsimone)
  3. 20
    The Little Friend by Donna Tartt (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: Both books display the effects on a family of the murder of a child.
  4. 10
    The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Despite differences in plot -- a teenager's post-murder afterlife in The Lovely Bones, and civilization's slow, steady collapse in the aftermath of disaster in The Age of Miracles -- the thoughtful young heroines of these melancholy, haunting stories are similar to one another.… (more)
  5. 43
    White Oleander by Janet Fitch (leahsimone)
  6. 32
    Atonement by Ian McEwan (RocknRain)
  7. 21
    The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard (WildMaggie)
  8. 11
    The Book of Fred by Abby Bardi (Bookmarque)
    Bookmarque: Not as sentimental as this. A very good coming of age novel.
  9. 11
    Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (Jen7waters)
  10. 00
    Unstolen by Wendy Jean (lucyknows)
    lucyknows: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold may be paired withUnstolen by Wendy Jean. Both novels deal with death and crime and how it affects the families left behind
  11. 33
    The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom (nu-bibliophile)
  12. 44
    Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (sarah-e)
    sarah-e: Though not as emotionally charged, this deals with independence and death and ghosts.
  13. 00
    Shade: A Novel by Neil Jordan (ShelfMonkey)
  14. 00
    The September Sisters by Jillian Cantor (meggyweg)
  15. 11
    Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin (jbarry)
  16. 12
    The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue (cataylor)
  17. 01
    A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton (TheFlamingoReads)
    TheFlamingoReads: A melancholy story of how people deal with the death of a child.
  18. 01
    La fortuna de Matilda Turpin by Álvaro Pombo (albavirtualy)
  19. 01
    La mirada del otro by Fernando G Delgado (albavirtualy)
  20. 01
    Where I Want to Be by Adele Griffin (jbarry)
    jbarry: touching arration from heaven

(see all 27 recommendations)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 627 mentions

English (817)  Dutch (5)  French (5)  All (2)  Spanish (2)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  All (1)  All (835)
Showing 1-5 of 817 (next | show all)
In the first sentence of The Lovely Bones, we learn Susie Salmon’s name. In the second sentence, we learn that she was murdered at the age of 14. This book wastes no time, and dives directly into the chilling plot. The first few chapters were difficult to get through. Gory details of her murder filled the pages, and I couldn’t help but hope that maybe the second sentence was a lie—maybe Susie would make it out alive. Once I realized that Susie Salmon was truly dead, I settled down a little bit.
One of the many things that I enjoyed about this book was reading about the different ways that individuals coped with the death. Some chose to shut everything out, while others clung to people for support. It was painful to read the section where the dad took the ships in bottles that he made with Susie and smashed them on the ground, but I feel that this scene accurately represented how people deal with loss differently. Because the characters were so upset throughout the book, it gave me a deeper look into their personality and revealed who they truly were. Not all books allow the reader to look into the darker side of the human mind.
To me, the most striking part of this book was Susie’s description of heaven. Alice Sebold, the author, decided to stray away from the biblical description of heaven and created something that was entirely her own. At points, this heaven seemed a bit cheesy. It was full of fashion magazines and ice cream, and anything that Susie wanted she could have. But overall, I liked that she was able to watch her family from her heaven. It gave an interesting vantage point to the narration of the book. Even though Susie’s voice couldn’t be heard by anyone except for the reader, it built up excitement as to what would happen to those left behind on Earth.
To those looking for an action packed murder mystery book, I’m sorry, but you haven’t found it. The first few chapters keep the reader on the edge of their seat, but then the plot slows down and begins to drag on for what seems like forever. I’m not at all saying that I didn’t enjoy reading it, but I do think that some parts could have been cut out to shorten it up just a little bit. However, the long plot allowed me to get close to Susie; I grieved with her and felt her longing to reach out of her heaven and touch her family just one last time. But let the following stand as a warning to future readers of this book—the ending of The Lovely Bones will really disappoint you. ( )
  Nikkichapman | Mar 5, 2017 |
I can't say why I didn't like this book without posting a spoiler...but I am probably the only person in America who didn't jump on the Lovely Bones wagon. ( )
  janb37 | Feb 13, 2017 |
Tom gave this a 3. It was too long. Her sister was not an interesting character. It was overwhelmingly sad which upped it from 3 to 4 for me. ( )
  mahallett | Jan 10, 2017 |
Surprising book. I don't normally read books like this that have some supernatural elements but really it's a story about family and how they deal with grief. These are a few points and impressions of this book.

Sebold surprised me. I expected a murder mystery or a story of vengeance or something of that nature. Harvey, the child murderer is looked at during the book naturally. In fact he commits the deed in the rape and murder of Susie Salmon (like the fish, we are reminded!) and we get to see the insides of his mind and motive. Sebold writes the crime neatly and not graphically at all, which I was glad to see.

Harvey is not a character written of much. He takes little time through most of the book. In fact Harvey is rarely doing much of anything during the majority of the book. He does meet his end at the end of the book (which is not a spoiler, you have to expect that the bad guy gets his just desserts) but it's written as an afterthought, a footnote. Ho hum.

The book also explores the Salmon family dealing with its grief and the community coming together. The community comes together more out of sympathy and "now I'm supposed to" but other friends and family seem more sincere.

The big parts of the story revolve around Susie's mom, her sister Lindsey and her life, and Ray (the foreign-born boy in a white neighborhood, though race is not touched on much).

The mom was the biggest disappointment. She completely gives up on the family when they needed her the most, tries and fails to get a cathartic from adultery and ends up in California moping and feeling sorry for herself. Quite a pathetic character though she comes into her own at the end.

There's a supernatural incident when Susie actually comes to take over a body for a brief few hours. Does she use this unusual incident to tell people who her killer was? No! She makes love to a boy she's always wanted to "do it" with when she was living. I mean, yeah, romantic but far from this practical reader's logical sense!

Overall, the book is an emotional response to grief and how people deal and survive, choices made and living with those decisions. It's not a murder mystery. It's not even a ghost story, really.

The book also uses a flashback within flashback mode that is odd and takes some getting used to.

And the lovely bones? It's an analogy. Read the book!
( )
  James_Mourgos | Dec 22, 2016 |
Disturbing, but amazing read!!! ( )
  GothykMama | Dec 18, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 817 (next | show all)
Sebold's compelling and sometimes poetic prose style and unsparing vision transform Susie's tragedy into an ultimately rewarding novel.
added by bell7 | editLibrary Journal (Aug 25, 2009)
Although some sections tend toward melodrama... other passages are dreamy and lyrical. Most striking is Sebold's mastery of a teenager's voice, from such small details as Susie's Strawberry-Banana Kissing Potion to her completely believable thought processes.
An extraordinary, almost-successful debut that treats sensational material with literary grace, narrated from heaven by the victim of a serial killer and pedophile.
added by bell7 | editKirkus Reviews (Aug 1, 2002)
Don't start "Lovely Bones" unless you can finish it. The book begins with more horror than you could imagine, but closes with more beauty than you could hope for.
Sebold takes an enormous risk in her wonderfully strange début novel: her narrator, Susie Salmon, is dead—murdered at the age of fourteen by a disturbed neighbor—and speaks from the vantage of Heaven. Such is the author's skill that from the first page this premise seems utterly believable... If in the end she reaches too far, the book remains a stunning achievement.
added by Shortride | editThe New Yorker (Jul 15, 2002)

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alice Seboldprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bresnahan, AlyssaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Always, Glen
First words
My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie.
Inside the snow globe on my father's desk, there was a penguin wearing a red-and-white-striped scarf.
These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections—sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent—that happened after I was gone. And I began to see things in a way that let me hold the world without me in it. The events my death brought were primarily that the bones of a body that would become whole at some unpredictable time in the future. The price of what I came to see as this miraculous lifeless body had been my life.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Publisher series
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
The Lovely Bones is a moving exploration of loss and mourning that ultimately puts its faith in the living made even more powerful by a cast of convincing characters.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0316168815, Paperback)

On her way home from school on a snowy December day in 1973, 14-year-old Susie Salmon ("like the fish") is lured into a makeshift underground den in a cornfield and brutally raped and murdered, the latest victim of a serial killer--the man she knew as her neighbor, Mr. Harvey.

Alice Sebold's haunting and heartbreaking debut novel, The Lovely Bones, unfolds from heaven, where "life is a perpetual yesterday" and where Susie narrates and keeps watch over her grieving family and friends, as well as her brazen killer and the sad detective working on her case. As Sebold fashions it, everyone has his or her own version of heaven. Susie's resembles the athletic fields and landscape of a suburban high school: a heaven of her "simplest dreams," where "there were no teachers.... We never had to go inside except for art class.... The boys did not pinch our backsides or tell us we smelled; our textbooks were Seventeen and Glamour and Vogue."

The Lovely Bones works as an odd yet affecting coming-of-age story. Susie struggles to accept her death while still clinging to the lost world of the living, following her family's dramas over the years like an episode of My So-Called Afterlife. Her family disintegrates in their grief: her father becomes determined to find her killer, her mother withdraws, her little brother Buckley attempts to make sense of the new hole in his family, and her younger sister Lindsey moves through the milestone events of her teenage and young adult years with Susie riding spiritual shotgun. Random acts and missed opportunities run throughout the book--Susie recalls her sole kiss with a boy on Earth as "like an accident--a beautiful gasoline rainbow." Though sentimental at times, The Lovely Bones is a moving exploration of loss and mourning that ultimately puts its faith in the living and that is made even more powerful by a cast of convincing characters. Sebold orchestrates a big finish, and though things tend to wrap up a little too well for everyone in the end, one can only imagine (or hope) that heaven is indeed a place filled with such happy endings. --Brad Thomas Parsons

Look Inside the Motion Picture The Lovely Bones (Paramount, 2010)
(Click on each image below to see a larger view)

Saoirse Ronan as Susie Salmon
Saoirse Ronan as Susie Salmon
Mark Wahlberg as Jack Salmon
Saoirse Ronan as Susie Salmon and Director Peter Jackson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:43 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

This is the tale of family, memory, love, and living told by 14-year-old Susie Salmon, who is already in heaven. Through the voice of a precocious teenage girl, Susie relates the awful events of her death and builds out of her family's grief a hopeful and joyful story.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 20 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.71)
0.5 33
1 277
1.5 53
2 696
2.5 172
3 2189
3.5 493
4 3393
4.5 299
5 2180


3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 113,297,954 books! | Top bar: Always visible