January 8, 2009

Book Review: The Graveyard Book

Posted by at 6:02 am in Reads | Permalink

Imagine that you’re growing up without any parents. Imagine that a kindly group of strangers have taken you in and are raising you. Now imagine that all of those strangers have been dead for centuries. Halloween came and went a long time ago, but if you find yourself in the mood for something a little spooky — or just a really, really good story— I’ve got just the thing.

It’s called The Graveyard Book, and it’s a children’s novel written by Neil Gaiman. Neil usually writes for adults, but he’s written for kids in the past — Coraline, his first novel for a younger audience, is being made into a movie by the guy who did The Nightmare Before Christmas.

The Graveyard Book is the story of a young boy — called Bod, short for Nobody — who’s adopted by the (deceased) (obviously) inhabitants of a local graveyard after his parents are murdered. Like I said — it’s a little scary. It’s never gory or gruesome, but some parts might give you shivers. Some of us like that, though . . .

To say any more would give too much away, but the book manages the impressive and difficult feat of advancing an exciting overarching plot through a series of short vignettes (self-contained stories or scenes) about Bod as he grows up and learns the ways of the world. Each chapter up until the last could actually probably be read on its own and still be a great story, and I’m impressed that Neil managed to pull that off while still linking them all to the very cool plot of the book as a whole.

And his prose (his style of writing, the words he chooses, the way he structures his sentences, etc.) is great. He’s got this sly sense of black humor — I lost count of the number of puns he made on the word “grave” — and a very theatrical, visual way of writing. You can definitely see the action playing out in your head.

If you liked watching Katniss change and grow up in The Hunger Games, or seeing our world given a little twist in Harry Potter, or the dark, fantastical elements of Twilight, then you’ll love The Graveyard Book. It’s a quick, easy read, but it’s a lot of fun. Especially if you miss Halloween already.

Until next time, Splotters!

— Jack, STACKS Staffer

  1. lightsong1

    I read The Graveyard Book and adored it! People who like this would also like A Series Of Unfortunate Events and the Harry Potter series. Yay!

  2. Larry

    Amazing book, but does anyone know the site were Neil Gaiman reads from the actual book? THANKS!

  3. Kameron

    I never red a book this scary. because if you compare it to goosebumps. the grave yard book would be more scary

  4. Ostoro is in GATE

    What is this book. Ive never heard about it before. All I heard about was that this got a Newberry Award!!!!!!!! : )

  5. Dionna144

    i my self has read the grave yard books. it is a really good book. i wish that there is a another book,like a second book to the grave yard book i would totatly read it.

  6. mariah

    Hi this is Mariah I love listening to the graveyard book online it was really good in the first chapter.

  7. olivia

    I LUV THIS BOOK! i read it for my summer reading and i loved it! can u make a second graveyard book?!

  8. Adina

    The Graveyard Book was Great. It made me think about how many people help eachother out. Even ghosts.

  9. Cory

    I love, love, loved The Graveyard Book. I always read the Newberry winners and this just may be one of the best winners ever!

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