The Graveyard Book

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The Graveyard Book

by Neil Gaiman

Harpercollins Publishers | September 30, 2008 | Hardcover

The Graveyard Book is rated 4.5714 out of 5 by 14.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy.

He would be completely normal if he didn''t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy-an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer.

But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack-who has already killed Bod''s family. . . .

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, the graveyard book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 pages, 8.63 × 5.9 × 1.1 in

Published: September 30, 2008

Publisher: Harpercollins Publishers

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0060530928

ISBN - 13: 9780060530921

Found in: Fiction and Literature
Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great for all readers! (CONTAINS SPOILERS) *** SPOILERS ALERT!! *** I really, really liked this book. And no, it’s not because I’m madly in love with Neil Gaiman (seriously – he looks like a rock star!), but because he can write a damn good book. The Graveyard Book falls into the category of Juvenile/Children books, according to Neil. I’ve only read two other books of his from this category – Stardust and Coraline – and I was intrigued the whole way through both of them. Enough so that I tried to read them in any instance I had, in any spare moment of time. Even the movies were wonderful. But maybe I’m just biased. Back to The Graveyard Book. On the first page, we learn the fate of the main character’s family. It was a scary beginning, which made me wonder what age exactly a “juvenile” is, but I trudged through (at 28 years old, I figured I could take it). The family is killed right off the bat by the man Jack (from the order of the Jacks of All Trades) and the main character, a toddler of just over a year at the time, manages to escape. He finds his way to the local graveyard and is adopted as part of a family of ghosts in a graveyard and from then on his name is Nobody – Bod, for short. Bod grows up like any normal kid, learning his ABC’s by doing gravestone rubbings, taking classes from the local graveyard ghosts, and learning lessons from his guardian, Silas (who isn’t dead and isn’t alive, but is ‘in between’), and his alternate Mrs. Lupescu. He’s given “Freedom of the Graveyard,” sees “as the dead do” and learns how to fade (i.e. disappear), dreamwalk, and how to instill fear in people. Wait? That’s not normal? Well, it’s normal for Bod. If you’ve ever read the Lemony Snicket books, The Graveyard Book is very reminiscent of them – without the goofy language. Instead of a whole series of short novels, Bod has many adventures in this book – he goes to school, he meets the ‘Sleer’, he meets Scarlett, he meets Liza the Witch – and they all manage to tie together quite nicely for a slightly-expected ending. My only disappointment was that Scarlett and her mom move back to Scotland, where they were originally from. The romantic in me wanted her to stay and for her and Bod to have more adventures – maybe in future books. I don’t think that Neil is planning on releasing more books in the series, which is okay because everything is resolved in the end (though he does leave a few ends hanging just slightly, which could work for a sequel). I was also sad that Bod eventually doesn’t see his graveyard family anymore, having grown up and all. The illustrations throughout, by Dave McKean, are great, though sometimes I was left staring at them wondering how they are depicting the story at certain points. The illustrations aren’t distracting at all, and are quite lovely, but sometimes I wanted more of them – they really only appear at the beginning of each chapter for a few pages, and again at the end of the book. I would recommend this to readers, young and old, who want something different, something that makes them smile in wonder and amazement, and something with enough mystery and fantasy for all.
Date published: 2012-01-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from My favourite by Gaiman (that I've read so far) Nobody (Bod) Owens' family is murdered when he is still a baby. He manages to crawl away to a nearby graveyard, where the ghosts protect him from the man who wants to murder him, too. In fact, the ghosts of the graveyard decide to take care of him till he is old enough to be on his own. They know that this man will continue to try to murder the little boy. The story follows Bod, as he grown up amongst the graveyard-folk, while they teach him some "different" skills and protect him from the outside world. I found the first chapter very creepy. Unfortunately, the creepiness didn't continue throughout, as I was hoping, but it was still very good. Each chapter skipped ahead a few years in Bod's life, and so initially they felt a little like vignettes, but it all came together at the end. Very enjoyable, and my favourite book by Gaiman, so far.
Date published: 2011-04-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A VERY unusual "coming of age " story! Although this is a young adult book, it has plenty of interest, excitement and intrigue to offer an adult reader. Nobody Owens [Bod to his friends] lives in a graveyard, where he is looked after by the ghostly residents who live there and one live [we think] - but quite mysterious - guardian, Silas. Bod cannot leave the graveyard, because there are sinister forces looking for him. The same forces that killed Bod's entire family when he was a baby want to find him and finish their evil deed. Bod is hidden and safe in the graveyard, but, as he grows, he longs for the adventures of the world outside the graveyard. Not that there aren't adventures to be had IN the graveyard, mind you, what with all sorts of people and stories and secrets held by those inside. I listened to this as an audio book, and Neil Gaiman, the author also narrated the audio version, and did an excellent job. The story is clever, unusual and creative - filled with mystery, adventures, good guys and bad guys, damsels in distress, lessons to be learned, and important decisions about life to be made. The characters are diverse and endearing - except the bad guys, who are deliciously evil and unredeemable - and are all brought fully to life by Gaiman's deft writing and narration. This is a fast and easy read chock full of twists and turns, murder and mayhem, and unexpected suprises as Bod tries to figure out who he is and what his life should be. Along the way, Gaiman also delivers, oh so subtly, lessons about courage, choices and family which are sometimes sweet and tender, and other times bitter and sad. Ultimately though, the book is a thoroughly satisfying adventure story that neatly combines a boy's coming of age with magic, mystery and excitement. A very fun read!
Date published: 2010-05-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dark and delightful! I loved it! I have to confess, I had reservations about a book featuring a protagonist who lives in a graveyard, but Neil Gaiman has worked his storytelling magic and convinced me otherwise. Gaiman's fantastical world is dark, detailed and rich, and a wonderful examination of life lived from the other side. The older I get, the more I enjoy books that up-end my normal viewpoint on life (and fantasy), and that Gaiman's book does exceedingly well. I'll look forward to sharing this book with my children!
Date published: 2009-11-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unrivalled! I liked graveyard to begin with. Such quiet, calm places, especially on dark nights. Now, I’ll never look at them without wondering! Gaiman is by far a master at what he does, weaving a story that, while aimed at youngsters, can nevertheless capture adult hearts. Bod is the epitome of a child, curious in everything, yet outside the world most other children know. His abilities reflect those that many children wish they had, though he learns, unlike so many of reality’s children, to moderate his use of them and Gaiman has provided an invaluable moral there. Moderation in everything and consideration for one’s actions. Bod’s guardian, Silas, is a wonderfully mysterious character: readers can’t be sure if he is good or bad, vampire or not, angel or demon. They can only observe how he patiently guides Bod through life until such a time as he has no more to teach. And the myriad of ghosts, themes, and adventures Bod becomes entangled with is enough to boggle the mind! A truly unrivalled feat of literature in the realm of children’s fantasy!
Date published: 2009-09-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Gaiman did it again The Graveyard Book opens with a murder, as three family members are slaughtered in their sleep. However, one victim slips past the mysterious culprit. An innocent todler escapes by sheer luck and wonders into old cemetery following his desire to explore. The little boy finds refuge with a family of local ghosts, who decide to adopt him. Thus begins the story of Nobody Owens who grows up in the graveyard learning the ways of the dead, unsuspecting that the man who killed his family is still looking for him outside the cemetery gates. After being completely entranced by Coraline, I just had to get my hands on The Graveyard Book, and I wasn’t a bit disappointed. Neil Gaiman created yet another fascinating world in which childhood dreams meet mature execution. The story is fresh and imaginative: the ancient crypt where the Sleer awaits and the brute land behind the ghoul gates are by far my favorite parts of the book. The old characters like ghosts and werewolves that are so overplayed by every horror book out there seem to take on a new twist. Their supernatural identities are presented as ordinary, giving them more room to develop as characters without the usual “cardboard” monster feel. Don’t tell me you didn’t love Silas! It was refreshing to focus mostly on his role as Bod’s guardian rather than his origins. Even though I didn’t find The Grave Yard Book as spooky as Coraline, I enjoyed it immensely and recommend it to anybody.
Date published: 2009-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An intoxicating read... You will curl up in your bed and read it until dawn comes. I loved following Nobody Owen's life, and reading about all of the things that he encountered. This is somewhat similar to The Jungle Book. Not in a copycat way but it's a little bit similar though it's a little bit more grim. It involves a boy with no parents and grows up in a graveyard instead of a jungle. He is raised by the dead, and a man named Silas who is neither dead nor alive. Instead of being raised by a bunch of animals. A good read, I fell in love Nobody Owens and I know that more people will fall in love with him for centuries to come.
Date published: 2009-06-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant! The Graveyard Book is now one of my all time favourite novels. I cared for the character and the storyline was brilliant. I thought Dave McKeans drawings were perfect! A wonderful book full of greatness. Highly reccomended!
Date published: 2009-06-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Surprising Pleasure When I first picked up this Neil Gaiman book, I didn't know what to expect. I had seen the movies "Coraline" and "MirrorMask," so I had some inkling that there would be a sort of supernatural, fantasical element. What I didn't expect was the humour, the amazing artwork and that depth of imagination Gaiman put into this book. Nobody Owens is a lovable young boy whose family is murdered. As the sole survivor, Bod is taken in by a graveyard of ghosts who raise and educate him, while also hiding him from his family's murderer, the man Jack. In this story you meet Silas, the mysterious guardian, and other memorable ghosts who shape Bod's life. I found this book to be refreshing, imaginative and captivating. I think that the content may be a little mature for some kids, so I suggest some caution if you purchase a book for a child. The artwork was amazing: a sort of graphic novel kind of feel to it, but I appreciated it. Overall, I thought the book was unique and a great read; I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Date published: 2009-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Impressed I have seen both the Stardust and Coraline movies, but have yet to read a novel by Neil Gaiman: until now! A former co-worker of mine recommended this book to me, and I am glad I picked it up. I finished it in under a week and was very pleased with the style of writing, the story, the characters, and even the illustrations that came with every chapter. A great book not just for children.
Date published: 2009-04-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Best Newbery Winner of this Century After his family is killed a baby escapes by wandering out the open door and making his way to the graveyard. A married ghostly couple adopt him and name him Nobody Owens, Bod for short. Nobody then commences to grow up in the graveyard and can see and talk with all the ghosts of those buried there. In fact, he himself is not quite in the land of the living but somewhere between the life and death. He must stay here in the graveyard until he is old enough to look after himself on the outside as the man who killed his family is still looking for him and will continue until his job is completed. I really enjoyed this book. Finally a 21st century Newbery winner I can rave about and recommend. The story and the characters are just wonderful. I really enjoyed the premise. It reminded me a bit, at first, of Terry Pratchett's Johnny and the Dead even though the plot's are completely different. Even though I don't believe in ghosts and my religion tells me differently what will happen in the afterlife, it still is so much fun to imagine a world of ghosts. To imagine graveyards are full of the people buried there talking to each other. The book is really well written, fun and exciting. I think this is the type of book that will appeal to pretty much anyone, even those who don't like fantasy as a rule. Finally a Newbery winner that *will* be enjoyed through the ages! My only reason for not giving a full rating of 5 is that I really did not like the illustrations at all. They were dark, hard to see the details and I thought the faces were horrible. They definitely did not enhance the reading experience at all. From looking at covers at LibraryThing I see there is an edition with illustrations by Chris Riddell. Now that is someone whose art I appreciate and I'd love to have a look at those illustrations.
Date published: 2009-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Story Neil Gaiman is a master storyteller. He has weaved a master coming of age story about a young boy who through tragic events ends up being raised by the inhabitants of a graveyard. Gaiman has managed to what could be a very dark and macabre tale and made it light, playful and fun. The main character Bod is a very sympathetic character that you find yourself becoming very close to and rooting for all the way through. Gaiman has once again managed to weave and interesting and unique tale and I hope he will write the further adventure of Bod one day.
Date published: 2008-11-23
Rated out of 5 by from Wonderful! I always forget how much I love Neil Gaiman. This is a fantastic story of a boy name Bod who ends up growing up in a graveyard. This is an enchanting story, told only the way Gaiman could pull off. It is full of wonderful characters, with interesting back stories. Each chapter is kind of like a short story with a beginning middle and end and wonderful illustrations. Perfect for reluctant readers.
Date published: 2008-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman How can one write a review of The Graveyard Book without at least mentioning how much anticipation was there before reading this book. From the very first moment I heard about this story I was anxious to grab myself a copy. But knowing that I planned to take part in the 24 Hour Read-A-Thon, I thought what better book to have on hand. But the only problem was buying the book ahead of time I worried I would not be able to hold off until the event came about. So I bought the book the night before the Read-A-Thon, it nearly killed me to wait so long and I avoided bookstores for the week beforehand. But finally the Read-A-Thon came and I could finally start reading The Graveyard Book! Now normally with anything I anticipate and yearn for so, there always is a bit of disappointment when the final reading is not quite the amazingly fantastic thing I’ve built it up in my mind to be. But with The Graveyard Book, the only disappointment was with the speed I read it and coming upon the final page. I was sad to leave this wonderful Graveyard world and all it’s quirky inhabitants. Nobody Owens, known to friends as Bod, arrived in The Graveyard one night when he was just a young baby, escaping from his home and the cruel killer stalking it’s many dark rooms. The ghostly residents of The Graveyard sense the danger the child is in and take it upon themselves to protect and raise Bod. Given The Protection of the Graveyard, Bod is able to live amongst the dead almost unseen to the living and able to master many special talents that will keep him safe. Along with his loving adoptive parents the Owens’, Bod also has a mysterious caretaker called Silas, who provides Bod with the human necessities like food that a young boy needs. Almost every ghost within gates of the Graveyard leaves a mark upon Bod’s soul as they care for and teach him things that help shape the person he becomes. The Graveyard Book was much more than a child’s story, it is a very powerful coming-of-age tale that presents many important aspects of a child’s development both social and psychological. Bod faces many of the same things that a normal child would and his dead caregivers handle them with love and skill. Growing up in this environment makes Bod into a caring and logically thinking boy who seems to understand so much about the living people he has been shrouded from. There seems to be a strong message found within this story of the importance of living your life to the fullest, but only doing so with fore-thought and knowledge of the dangers involved. The many characters that make up this story are all unique and likable in their own strange ways. I was especially drawn to Silas, and would loved to have heard more about this man’s hidden life. Liza Hempstock, a phantom witch was an extremely engaging friend to Bod, who unknowingly taught Bod much about acceptance, empathy and the wrongness of judging people. A smaller character, but one that made me laugh was Nehemiah Trot, a dead poet who could write an ode at the drop of the hat and also knew the finer points concerning revenge. Then we have the bad guys, the ghouls who lurked behind the GhoulGate waiting for unsuspecting visitors, the man Jack who stalks Bod endlessly and the very puzzling Sleer. All of whom add chilling moments, mystery and horror to Bod’s adventures. One of my favourite chapters from this book was Danse Macabre, it involves a event that brings the living and the dead together for a very important time. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this chapter and could not help but think that it would make an amazing musical interlude in the style of Tim Burton. “Rich man, poor man, come away. Come to dance the Macabray. La-la-la-oomp! La-la-la-oomp! Time to work and time to play, Time to dance the Macabray. La-la-la-oomp! La-la-la-oomp! One and all will hear and stay Come and dance the Macabray. La-la-la-oomp! La-la-la-oomp! One to leave and one to stay, And all to dance the Macabray. La-la-la-oomp! La-la-la-oomp! Step and turn, and walk and sway, Now we dance the Macabray. La-la-la-oomp! La-la-la-oomp! Now the Lady on the Grey, Leads us in the Macabray. La-la-la-oomp! La-la-la-oomp!” Overall, The Graveyard Book was a wonderfully crafted story, with a plot-twist that left me shocked and a ending that made me both totally satisfied and sad to see come. I found this book shelved under the Young Readers (8-12) section, but I feel this book deserves a place among the adult and teen sections also. I am sure that it would appeal to a large audience and it is written in such a beautiful way that I would also have no problems reading it to a younger child. This is a book that holds a strong appeal to me and has definite re-read value.
Date published: 2008-10-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from You will definitely like this one! The only book that I have read from Gaiman is "Stardust" and while this one does not blow me away like that book, it does have it's own qualities. The book starts off with a murder, which sort of seemed Harry Potter-ish as you read it. As you get further into the book, things get a bit interesting. As I was reading it, I noticed that each chapter seemed like an episode from Bod's life and he seems to have grown older in each one. There are books that seem to blab on about something that doesn't even have to do with the plot, always make my eyes glaze over and I usually end up not finishing the book. And there are books that leave out so much detail and assume that the readers will somehow decipher or make up their own story as they go along. But Gaiman makes the transition so smooth between each chapter and does not need to add any extra filler or adds just enough information, so the readers are not confused or bored. Further into the book, Bod learns things from the graveyard and it's occupants. They teach him how to Fade and Haunt, and also give him history lessons. The one chapter I liked was the 'Dance Macabe', and for me, it is something kind of eerie, but nice. But what I really liked about this book was the pictures. In between chapters there black and white drawings of scenes from that chapter. Not only does it give the readers a visual of the plot, but also adds to the atmosphere. Sometimes I would be really into the story at some spooky part and then when I turn the next page, a picture is there unexpectedly, almost jumping up at you. You don't know how many times that happened to me while I was reading this. Gaiman pulls off this story by not adding too much or too little details, and that's the way I like it!
Date published: 2008-10-15

– More About This Product –

The Graveyard Book

by Neil Gaiman

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 pages, 8.63 × 5.9 × 1.1 in

Published: September 30, 2008

Publisher: Harpercollins Publishers

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0060530928

ISBN - 13: 9780060530921

About the Book

Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place-he's the only living resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians' time as well as their timely ghostly teachings-like the ability to Fade.

Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds of both the living and the dead? And then there are things like ghouls that aren't really one thing or the other.

This chilling tale is Neil Gaiman's first full-length novel for middle-grade readers since the internationally bestselling and universally acclaimed "Coraline," Like "Coraline," this book is sure to enchant and surprise young readers as well as Neil Gaiman's legion of adult fans.

From the Publisher

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy.

He would be completely normal if he didn''t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy-an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer.

But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack-who has already killed Bod''s family. . . .

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, the graveyard book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

About the Author

Neil Gaiman is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous books, including the novels Neverwhere, Stardust, Coraline, Anansi Boys, and The Graveyard Book; the Sandman series of graphic novels; and the story collections Smoke and Mirrors, Fragile Things, and M Is for Magic. He is also the coauthor (with Terry Pratchett) of the novel Good Omens, and coeditor (with Al Sarrantonio) of the fiction anthology Stories. He is the winner of numerous literary honors, including the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy awards, and the Newbery Medal. Originally from England, Neil Gaiman now lives in America.

Editorial Reviews

"I wish my younger self could have had the opportunity to read and re-read this wonderful book, and my older self wishes that I had written it." (Garth Nix, author of The Abhorsen Trilogy)

Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12

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