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The Graveyard Book

A fantasy novel for young adults written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Dave McKean.

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A great read for older kids and adults alike

  • Jul 13, 2010
Perfectly-paced storytelling from Neil Gaiman and stark illustrations from Dave McKean combine to make this a fantastic, enjoyable quick read. I have always found that McKean's art evokes imagery from Gaiman's tales incredibly well, with their sharp, almost woodcut-seeming black lines, and this is certainly the case in The Graveyard Book, as in Coraline.

Though the story opens with serious action, it takes a bit of reading before one becomes truly absorbed by the tale and the plight of the main character. Gaiman's deep, witty humor manifests right away, though, notably in the names (or lack thereof) of the characters and the silly ghosts of the graveyard.

A man called only "the man Jack" is hired to kill a family, and he almost succeeds, but for a bumblingly intrepid baby that escapes into a haunted graveyard nearby. The book follows Nobody Owens, or Bod for short, as he grows up as the only living person in a graveyard inhabited by all sorts of ghosts. This is a fantastic twist on the coming-of-age story, and things do not play out just as you would expect from such a tale, which is wonderfully refreshing.

This book is sure to captivate readers aged about 10 and up. Bod is an excellent character to follow through childhood, and Gaiman imagines some intriguing and creative mythology and lore that add to the fascination for older readers in particular. The tale is dark, to be sure, but told with whimsy, self-awareness, and creativity that keep it original rather than overdone.

Graveyard has a timeless quality to it, and deserves the awards it has won so far.

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July 13, 2010
Nice review. This is a book that's been recommended to me since I've finished reading "Coraline."
More The Graveyard Book reviews
Quick Tip by . March 24, 2011
I've always been fond of slightly dark fantasy adventures about children, whether written by Lewis Carroll, Edward Gorey, Roald Dahl, or J.K. Rowling. Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book is certainly of that same vein and is worthy to sit upon the bookshelf among those authors mentioned above. The novel is a Gothic coming of age story, modeled on Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, and tells the story of a young boy, Nobody Owens, whose family was murdered when he was a baby and as a result …
review by . November 29, 2010
Once again, with imaginative and narrative skill, Neil Gaiman has created a children's book unlike any other. At once gothic and phantasmagoric, it is still, at heart, a children's story with perhaps a literary nod to C.S. Lewis and H.P. Lovecraft.     At the beginning of the story a murder happens which leaves the lone survivor-a male toddler-moving out into the open towards a cemetery which is inhabited by a band of spirits from all generations. Once in the graveyard, the spirit …
review by . November 28, 2010
Entertaining and enjoyable
First I want to say how wonderful it was to listen to Neil Gaiman narrate this audio. I love his wry humor and wit, and this book doesn't disappoint.   The Graveyard Book was like a darker combination of Harry Potter and the Jungle Book. A coming of age story where a small boy Nobody Owens finds himself orphaned and being raised by a graveyard full of ghosts and 1 possible vampire (this is never really made clear) while being hunted by an assassin with a keen sense of smell. I was …
review by . July 02, 2010
The concept of this story is refreshingly unique considering the current trend of writing about monsters and death.  The life of the protagonist as he grows up in the graveyard, makes for an interesting story, but the other characters are what make this book a must read.  The book also takes the reader into other worlds as we travel along learning life lessons with Nobody Owens.  This book is not just for kids, its a great read for all ages.
review by . August 30, 2010
Pros: Interesting idea.     Cons: Weak storyline.     The Bottom Line: If this were a meal, it would be missing a lot of meat and potatoes.     Sometimes I wonder if I must be missing something when it comes to some of the books I read.  I enjoyed Hyperion while everyone around me went nuts trying to read it.  American Gods grated endlessly on my nerves while others raved about it.  I guess in the end it just depends upon …
Quick Tip by . July 02, 2010
Changed the food industry!
Quick Tip by . July 02, 2010
This is a an engaging, interesting story. I was always together with Bod. The ending in a way disappointed me, but it also made me feel food since it was unexpected and that's what you expect from great writers.
Quick Tip by . June 24, 2010
I was a little disappointed by the end, but the overall story was good, and the writing kept me going without any problem.
Quick Tip by . May 19, 2010
This is a kids' book? Yep - and good stuff, too!
review by . October 06, 2009
The adventures of Nobody "Bod" Owens while having the run of the graveyard... this was such a simplistic and enjoyable read. It felt like a very long short story - only because it was written in a way that each chapter was a story of it's own--even though it dealt with the same characters. There was a thread that ran through them all, but it was mostly in the background. Yet the end tied it all in and left me very satisfied with the outcome. I loved that we watched Bod being raised, nurtured and …
About the reviewer
Cara ()
Reader of many genres, though satire is always a favorite style, and my roots are in sci-fi, fantasy, and horror.      I am a writer and artist with advanced degree in publishing and … more
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About this book


The Graveyard Book is a young adult fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman. The story is about a boy named Nobody Owens, whose family is killed by a mysterious man named Jack, and who is subsequently adopted and raised by the occupants of an old graveyard. Gaiman's first full-length children's novel since the bestselling and widely acclaimed Coraline, The Graveyard Book won the 2009 Newbery Award.
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ISBN-10: 0060530928
ISBN-13: 978-0060530921
Author: Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Harpercollins Childrens
Date Published: October 01, 2008
Format: Novel
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"Deliciously Different"
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