Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Johnny and the Dead” as Want to Read:
Johnny and the Dead
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Johnny and the Dead (Johnny Maxwell #2)

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  6,051 ratings  ·  160 reviews
Paperback
Published December 5th 1996 by Great Britain : Oxford University Press (first published 1993)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Johnny and the Dead, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Johnny and the Dead

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Joanne
Of all the Terry Pratchett books I've read (and I've read them all, as far as I know) I was very surprised to see how much I enjoyed the books he'd written for children.

This is no book for very young readers, but my ten year old son read it and greatly enjoyed it. Terry's usual razor sharp satirical wit is toned down just enough to not baffle a young reader, but enough to keep an adult flipping the pages happily.

I loved the way he portrayed young Johnny's ability to comprehend the older generati
...more
K. Carters
Marvellous! I took a while with this book as everything came at once but this was superb. I enjoyed Johnny and the Bomb but this is so much stronger in tone. The snappy one liners are there and I loved the idea of Ghosts dancing to thriller because they just like it. The characters are well thought out and funny too. I actually felt upset when Tommy Atkins met up with the rest of the volunteers and returned to France -a spine tingling moment!

I would have liked Eric Grimm to be a darker character
...more
Priya Patankar
Loved it - totally and utterly. Pratchett is so profound while being so funny and so wise. This book is meant for children but I think there is so much depth to it that any adult would like it too (Though on second thoughts, I give adults more credit than they deserve).

The plot centers around Johnny, who can see and talk to the dead in the cemetery near his house. And why can he do that? In Pratchett's words 'Because he is too lazy not too.' It has the usual suspects from the Johnny Maxwell ser
...more
Aelvana
It's the sequel to Only You Can Save Mankind, and Johnny and his friends are as hilarious as ever. This time, Johnny starts seeing dead people hanging around the town cemetery, which is problematic because the town has sold the cemetery and a company plans to build offices on it. The dead enlist Johnny's help, and the adventure begins. This book was published over a decade ago, but it's amazing how much of the social and political issues within are still relevant today. There's a lot of subtle c ...more
Chris
In Johnny and the Dead, Terry Pratchett takes a serious topic and makes it funny while keeping it serious. Pratchett teaches the reader about life and death, and about how what might be an insignificent action can cahnge things. He does without preaching.
Anne
I probably should remove a star for the ending which was, well, rather dead. Nevertheless, I am always charmed by Terry Pratchett. Gaiman's The Graveyard Book was better for story, but this had a little more thinking, more reality leaking out, between the lines.
Natalie
this book unlike the previous installment in the Johnny Maxwell trilogy managed to be everything I love about Terry Pratchett subtle, funny, thought provoking and highly enjoyable.
Where the first book was dry, (in my personal opinion) incredibly in your face and oozing with the message, this was more behind the scenes, it wasn't all "________ is bad you know because _____ even though ___________" it was more about the story than the morals, even though they were there.
The characters in this
...more
Katy
Read for Children's Book Challenge. I enjoyed this one - particularly the way the dead characters responded to modern life! I've loved TP for years anyway, so read all three Johnny books in a row, having bought the full set to get the one we were supposed to be reading, and then being too ocd to start with the middle one!, immediately after reading his new collection of non-fiction writings. It was really interesting to compare how he'd changed as a writer. I preferred this and book 3 to the fir ...more
Wallowing Hippo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John
Of course, I've read the Johnny Maxwell books in the wrong order, starting (correctly) with Only YOU Can Save Mankind (which I liked) but then going on to #3 in the series, Johnny and the Bomb (which I thought was absolutely splendid). My opinion of Johnny and the Dead falls roughly midway between. Johnny has developed the ability (as would the kid in M. Knight Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense a few years later) to "see dead people" -- notably those in the local cemetery which the council wants to se ...more
Patrick
Great story! It features Johnny Maxwell from Only You Can Save Mankind, and you have a more complete picture of the characters, especially his 3 friends if you've read that one first, but it is basically unrelated plotwise. Well, same clever themes, but different storyline.

This one is better. Despite the cover, the book is not meant to be creepy at all. It is actually kind of a sweet book, though the criticism of modern-day uncaring society is a tad heavy-handed, and deals with Johnny trying to
...more
colleen the contrarian  ± (... never stop fighting) ±
I liked this one a lot better than the first, which I found a bit meh, though interesting in parts. Maybe it's just me, though - give me a choice between aliens and ghosts, and I'll pick ghosts every time. :>

This one, though, seemed to have more humor, and I was glad to see more of Johnny's friends, who seemed more surface in the first book but more relevant in this one, though it's still very much Johnny's story.

And I really liked the different, um, living challenged, especially William Stic
...more
Chris
Review by Nerfreader for the audio version.

This second book in the Johnny Maxwell series hits the Halloween sweet spot. Terry Pratchett is a comedy master, and Johnny and the Dead has some really funny parts. The writing has tightened up a bit from Only You Can Save Mankind. The plot is smoother and the laughs louder. Luckily, Johnny and the Dead can stand on its own.

Johnny and his friends are the best part of these books. They're well developed and play off of one another with expert timing. I
...more
Kirsten
"Granddad was superstitious about books. He thought that if you had enough of them around, education leaked out, like radioactivity."

Terry Pratchett has a wonderful way of saying things not unlike Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) and other witty, comical British authors. His interaction with his characters usually leans toward the satirical without being entirely unkind.

"Mrs. Nugent was the Johnson's next door neighbour, and known to be unreasonable on subjects like Madonna p
...more
Jared
Johnny and the Dead is the second book in the Terry Pratchett's series involving Johnny Maxwell, a kid who sees things a little differently. In this story that's particularly true, as Johnny begins seeing the dead people in the cemetery near his home. He soon learns that the city has plans to shut down the cemetery and turn it into some kind of commercial development -- I don't remember exactly what.

Johnny ends up being the advocate for the dead to keep their cemetery intact, and he learns a lot
...more
Socialbookshelves.com
Johnny and the Dead is, without a doubt, one of the finest short novels that I’ve ever read – Pratchett has this knack for characterisation, and whilst he’s more well-known for his Discworld series, you’d be a fool to pass up a chance to read one of the books in his Johnny Maxwell trilogy.

This particular novel tells the tale of young Johnny Maxwell, who finds out he can speak to the dead and ends up acting as their figurehead in a campaign to stop their cemetery from being destroyed. While it mi
...more
Jaz
Nice quick read for when life is crazy. Trademark TP wit, great for kids ages 9+, but enjoyable by all ages really.
Johnny and the gang are hilarious, the ghosts hahaaa even more.
Grimm was quite a creepy character but turned out to be sad in the end. Quite nice social issue discussion in form of preserving history versus the money making dodgy company.
I didnt realise this was the middle part of a trilogy must check the other 2 out.
Julia Miller
Johnny Maxwell can see the dead. Perhaps because he's just too lazy not to, perhaps because he's missing something that keeps everyone else from seeing them. The why isn't what this story's about. This otherwise normal young man from a city very like many others--worn out, dying, infested with bad neighborhoods and recession-stricken strip malls--finds himself the voice of the dead as he tries to keep a huge company from tearing down the local cemetary for high rises.

As a long-time Terry Pratche
...more
Bekki Fahrer
Pratchett's wit and unique humor come out even though it was a kid's book. Johnny and his pals are fun to spend time with. This book is reminiscent of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, but is exploratory and nostalgic where that one is dark and ominous. They are both imaginative and humorous, and the protagonists will not accept "because that is how it always is" as a reasonable answer.
D. McAtee
Very fun book sort of Beettle Juice (without the highly stylized after life as presented by Tim Burton) mixed with Stand By Me. The dead are treated as persons and are not gruesome in the least. The plot centers around a little boy confronted with the challenge of standing up to adults and bureaucracy for something he believes in and the dead who learn there's still something of life left in them.

Very entertain with humor and the oddly philosophical notes Sir Pratchett manages to bring to all hi
...more
Jc
Terry continues his tongue in cheek, young-adult novel serious featuring Johnny Maxwell and friends. This one has Johnny seeing dead people and, like with the aliens in the first book, developing a special if bizarre relationship with them. Don't expect too much - it is a comic YA novel after all, but for what it is it is wonderful, and very Terry Pratchett.
Catherine  Mustread
Reminiscent of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, this book also takes place mostly in a graveyard -- one that is threatened with removal after being practically given away to a big developer. Johnny begins to see and hear the "residents" who demand that he do something to save their home. In the process of doing research about the people there buried, he discovers that a group of men had all gone off in the same regiment (Pals' Battalion) to WWI and only one, Tommy Atkins, survives the first com ...more
Charity
It feels a bit strange to read a Pratchett book that isn't Discworld, but he brings his charm and subtle profoundness to "our" world through the eyes of a boy who suddenly realizes he can see ghosts! Johnny embarks on a journey to preserve the old town cemetery from being bulldozed. It has the usual charm and sweetness of Pratchett, with his usual hijinks and silliness, but is also appropriately morbid.
Natalia Wendkowska
It is a very nice story, more suited for teens perhaps but also enjoyable for grown-ups. It sounds like a classic idea - boy sees ghosts - no one else does - ghosts ask boy to help them and then the mess that comes from that. Easy enough. The wounderfull part of course is the way Prachett tells the story because that really makes it so magical, funny and unusual. When you start reading you can see it is a "Prachett" - the author's stile is very present in this story. The book is also much shorte ...more
Phoebe
Again, a very well written children's/youth novel by Terry Pratchett. It's thoughtful, yet amusing. The story is quite creative and I liked the solution at the end. Johnny Maxwell is saving someone again, this time it's the local cemetery. The cemetery is supposed to be sold to a company which is going to build office buildings on top. Johnny and his friends speak up at a public meeting, reminding the adults that the past is important for the people living in the present, and that the cemetery i ...more
Catherine
Read this with Master 8 who thoroughly enjoyed it - to the extent that he got EXTREMELY annoyed if he missed out on being read to for some reason. There were some words and occasionally paragraphs which needed explanation or discussion, but for the most part he was able to follow the story.
He was a bit nervous to begin with, as the story revolves around a boy who can see and talk to dead people, and there's quite a bit which happens in a cemetery. However, this is not a scary story – it is about
...more
Cynthia Egbert
I loved this book! I know, I know, I love most everything that Terry Pratchett writes...but this one will open up a great opportunity for discussion with your children about death and your beliefs...as well as opening discussions on "fighting city hall."

Semi-spoiler alert...here are some of my favorite quotes from this book...

"It all balances, you see. The living have to remember, the dead have to forget."

"You've heard of a train of thought...this is a flight of imagination!"

"Johnny blinked. And
...more
Marie Sweetman
I loved this thought-provoking and hilarious book. Johnny's a real hero: quiet, thoughtful, ultimately determined. He wrestles a lot with the way people perceive him, and for good reason: first of all, he's going through puberty, and secondly, he can see dead people.
Zana
Oh thank God. Finally an older Pratchett book that I can enjoy unreservedly on its merits. Maybe what it takes is to just not have any female characters?

Chock full of puns about death and corpses, along with excellent comedy and nice commentary.
Jon Cox
The thing I liked best about this book is just how prosaic and small the whole conflict was. There is nothing earth-shattering, nothing of national import, nothing even that would impact anyone too much in the same town. Not only is Johnny an ordinary fellow, but the conflict of the book has no real importance to anyone but Johnny and some dead people. Yet the story is interesting and engaging. And the resolution is both unpredictable and ironic. I was dissappointed only by the fact that the sem ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • My Favorite Fantasy Story
  • The Unseen University Challenge: Terry Pratchett's Discworld Quizbook
  • A Dog Called Demolition
  • Flying Dutch
  • The Boys' Book: How To Be The Best At Everything
  • The Wizards of Odd
  • The Mammoth Book of Comic Fantasy
  • Legends 3 (Legends 1, Volume 3of3)
  • The Oxford Book of Fantasy Stories
  • Tintin in the New World: A Romance
  • The Crystal Prison (The Deptford Mice, #2)
1654
Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe. Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, including his first Discworld novel, ...more
More about Terry Pratchett...
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1) Mort (Discworld, #4) Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8) Night Watch (Discworld, #29)

Share This Book

“I think it's IMPOSSIBLE for anyone famous to come from here, because everyone around here is insane.” 22 likes
“Of all the forces in the universe, the hardest to overcome is the force of habit.” 8 likes
More quotes…