The Graveyard Book
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The Graveyard Book

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4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  199,931 ratings  ·  15,991 reviews
After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

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 belon...more
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by HarperCollins (first published September 30th 2007)
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Community Reviews

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Patrick

Recently, on a car trip with my little boy, I decided to try listening to an audiobook.

In the past this hasn't been a success. He loves to be read to in person, both picture books and chapter books. But he not a fan of listening to books in the car. At best he's indifferent, but usually he just asks me to turn them off.

Generally speaking, he'd prefer to listen to Macklemore's Thrift Shop, which he calls "The Sway Music."

But he's four now, with a vocabulary that's diverse to the point of being...more
Betsy
Jul 31, 2008 Betsy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Betsy by: Monica Edinger
I’ve noticed that there’s been an increased interest in the macabre in children’s literature lately. Sometimes when I’ve had a glass or two of wine and I’m in a contemplative mood I try weaving together a postulation that ties the current love of violent movies into this rise in children’s literary darkness. Is the violence of the world today trickling down into our entertainment? Hogwash and poppycock and other words of scoff and denial, says sober I. But I’ve certainly seen a distinct rise in...more
Nataliya
It takes a graveyard to raise a child. This is a summary of this magical, sweet and imaginative story for children, which (in a good tradition of the Brothers Grimm) started with a triple homicide.
“There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.”
Neil Gaiman does not waste time with unicorns and princesses and butterflies which are often considered acceptable for children. He kicks off his book with the brutal murders of a child's entire family, written in a chilling tone that made me...more
Valerie
This is how it usually goes with me and Neil Gaiman books:

Scene: at the library.
Picks up Stardust and reads back flap... thinks, "hey, this looks like a great book. What an interesting idea for a story..." When actually reading Stardust: bored.

A couple months later. At the library.
Picks up Neverwhere... thinks, "hmmm. This looks really interesting, but that's what I thought about Stardust. Well, maybe I'll give him one last chance." When actually reading Neverwhere: stupid last chances!!!

So I wa...more
mark monday
Once there was a little girl who lived in a big house in a strange and wonderful city in the North. Her name: Dove Black*. An unusual name for an unusual girl. Her equally unusual mother took her away for the summer, across the sea. I came to that strange and wonderful city and stayed in that big house. In the house was a book. The Graveyard Book! I fell prey to an odd illness during my visit; while my companions made merry in the streets and taverns of that city, I recovered on the wide and sun...more
Jason Koivu
Jun 10, 2014 Jason Koivu rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jason by: Everyone...just fucking everyone
Shelves: fiction
I've got a doctor's appointment scheduled for Monday. Maybe I'll ask what's wrong with me, I mean, why don't I love Neil Gaiman as much as everyone else?

After all the hype surrounding him, I finally gave in and started reading his books. Aside from his collection of short stories, Fragile Things, I haven't been as impressed as I expected to be.

The Graveyard Book in particular I found to be slow moving and depressing. Maybe that's inevitable being that most of the characters in it are dead. It'...more
Meredith
**SPOILER ALERT**

This book was entirely mediocre. The plot was disjointed and very loosely woven throughout the story, and much of it didn't make any sense. Details (what few details there were) seemed to be added at the last minute to make later events in the story make sense. It's almost as if Gaiman wrote the middle first, then the beginning, and then the end. I think he had a million ideas floating around in his head and had no idea how to connect them all, so he made up some stuff on the fl...more
Caris
I always have a little trouble rating children's books. Read as a book for adults, The Graveyard Book is a solid four. There are too many things that are oversimplified for the book to earn a five. But when I step back a moment and remind myself that this book was written for children who do not know what I know and who have not experienced what I have experienced - that's where the fifth star comes into play.

My adult complaints are as follows:

1. Not every situation in the story furthered the pl...more
karen
and thats me finishing my last book for this class. and i managed to read it the same day i watched coraline, so im a little gaimaned out right now. this book was enjoyable - it is a little episodic-with-overarching- storyline number about a child living in a graveyard with the dead after a man slaughters his family with a knife. typical newbery fare. there are a few very memorable scenes, and i think i developed a crush on silas, but i have too much of a headache now for anything else. maybe mo...more
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Jun 29, 2013 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Hugo Award for Best Novel (2009)
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Kelly
It’s an imaginative tale with a fable-like quality. Bod, the lone survivor of the murder of his entire family finds protection and comfort in the oddest of places – a graveyard. A story of murder, survival and retribution chalk full of dead people that somehow manages to be both dark & cheerful at the same time – like how Gaiman pulled that off. An easy, entertaining read - young adult leaning towards children’s - fun to read at any age. Fast moving plot right from this hook of an opening li...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
This review is hard to write. Not because I can't think of enough wonderful things to say about this book, but because there are so many things I loved about it. I am very glad that I had the experience of listening to this book on audio. Hearing Mr. Gaiman read it is icing on the scrumptious cake. He has a beautifully expressive, soothing, and emotive voice. He wrote it, so he has the advantage of knowing exactly what emphasis to put on the different lines and passages, and how he wants the var...more
Dan Schwent
I pre-ordered this almost a full year before it came out. It was worth the wait.

At first glance, The Graveyard Book reminded me of A Fine and Private Place by Peter S. Beagle. While I'm sure there's some Beagle in its parentage, the afterward mentions the Jungle Book as an inspiration.

Nobody Owens is an orphan boy raised by all the ghosts living (or unliving) in a graveyard. Each chapter in the book takes place in a different year of Bod's young life with his family's murderer lurking in the ba...more
Amanda
What a dark, macabre, and lovely book. Occasionally, I run across a book like this that gives me hope for young adult fiction (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is another such book that I read earlier this year).

I know that the book is loosely based on Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, which I've never read (of course, I saw the Disney movie, but I'm assuming they managed to bugger that up like they do everything else--although, I will admit to loving Bagheera, mainly because of Sebastian C...more
Maggie Stiefvater
I have just this moment closed the cover of THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, after loitering rather longingly over the acknowledgments and possibly the back jacket flap as well.

I don't think I can manage a proper synopsis or review of this book -- about an orphaned boy who is raised by a graveyard of ghosts -- so I think I will just have to say that I love it very, very deeply. For so long I refused to pick it up because I thought it sounded quaint and possibly twee, but it was neither. It pushed all the but...more
Lisa
Disappointing. I first read an excerpt of "The Graveyard Book" as one of the short stories in "M is for Magic", a collection of Gaiman's short stories (4 stars, see review). And, that's just the problem: each chapter of "Graveyard" seems like a short story in itself, well written and no doubt imaginative, but in the context of a novel, only loosely connected to the chapters before and after it. There is little character development, nearly zero build to a climax. Characters are introduced and ad...more
Nandakishore Varma
I remember reading The Jungle Book in translation while in the fourth grade, and being spellbound by Kipling's gifts as a storyteller. I remember reading the original in English as a young man and still feeling the magic afresh. I had not expected it to happen a third time... but it did. Thanks to Neil Gaiman.

The Graveyard Book is a thinly disguised parody of, and a tribute to, The Jungle Book. Only, the Indian Jungle here has been translated to an English graveyard; Sher Khan has been transform...more
Stephen
4.0 to 4.5 stars. Another superb effort by Neil Gaiman. He is one of only a few authors who I have NEVER been disappointed in after reading one of their books. That is saying a lot as I come to each of his new books with very high expectations. This one certainly met those high expectations and is a terrific YA fantasy. I do find that I enjoy his more mature fantasies more than his YA fiction, but that is simply a personal preference and is not a result of the YA books being of lesser quality. T...more
Will Byrnes
When a family is murdered by a mysterious killer, one of the intended victims is missing, a young, diapered boy, who had wandered off just before the crime took place. But the killer needed to complete the job. Fortunately for the boy, he was taken in by the late residents of a nearby graveyard. And when the spirit of his newly deceased mother asks for their help, the residents agree to raise her son. He is given to the care of the Owens couple and named “Nobody,” Bod for short, as he looks like...more
Jonathan

Before I had picked up The Graveyard Book I was yet to find a Neil Gaiman novel I loved. His writing was always solid and interesting in Neverwhere and Stardust but I didn't love those books to death like other readers. It's rather curious that this is the case because one of my favourite recent Doctor Who episodes was written by Gaiman. However I now have to look no further. This is the kind of book I was looking for.

The Graveyard Book sounded like a macabre story. It focused on a boy named Nob...more
RandomAnthony
I will be referencing a few comments on Montambo's review thread as I review this book, so you might want to read that thread before I start. Here's a link. I'll wait.

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

Are you back? Good. I should start by saying I'm a Gaiman fan and pick up his books with high and perhaps unrealistic expectations that he'll knock it out of the park every time. I worry that he's lost his way the last few years. Both The Anasi Boys and Coraline were servicable but unremarkab...more
Ronyell
SilasNobody

“There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.”

That is pretty much the opening sentence to Neil Gaiman’s classic story, “The Graveyard Book,” so you definitely know what kind of book you are getting yourself into! After reading so many of Neil Gaiman’s fantastic books (“Coraline,” the “Sandman” series and “American Gods”), I just had to check out one of his most beloved young adult books, “The Graveyard Book” which also had the honor of winning the Newbery Medal Award! Filled with hear...more
Steven Harbin
Nov 25, 2012 Steven Harbin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers of fantasy, coming of age stories, young adult fiction, adventure, supernatural tales.
Revised review originally posted at :
http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi...

In many of his books Neil Gaiman delivers a fantasy version of the type of story that is usually known as a “coming of age” work of literature. His children’s book Coraline is an obvious example, but so in a unique way are his adult works American Gods and its companion Anansi Boys. In each of those novels, the main character is initially naïve and ignorant of their own personal abilities as well as the motives and agen...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
Jan 26, 2009 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: for fans of faintly macabre stories, like me
Newbery Winner, 2009!!!! Woot! I am thrilled that this book won the Newbery Award! Congratulations to Neil Gaiman!

Update with spoilers: While I loved the main part of the story - Bod living in the graveyard, learning from the ghosts - I didn't find the reason for him being there well enough developed.
A vague prophecy about the boy growing up to destroy the "Jacks", and so a Jack is sent to kill the whole family? And he didn't START with the boy? It all seemed like a set up to an ongoing series,...more
Michael
At this point, if Neil Gaiman writes it, I'm going to read it. He's just that good and while "The Graveyard Book" isn't his best novel to date, it's still an enjoyable story and well worth the time.

It's a dark sort of fairy tale, the kind of thing Gaiman has excelled at telling since his days working on "The Sandman." The story follows Nobody Owens, or Bod for short. When his family is killed by the mysterious Jack, Bod escapes into a cemetary where he's adopted by the local residents and raised...more
Kirstine

Do you have children?

If yes, go buy this book and read it to them.

If no, go buy this book and read it to yourself so that you’re prepared for when the day comes when you either have children of your own or find yourself in close proximity to one.

It will give you great insight into how these small, devilish masterminds work.
… Okay, perhaps a slight exaggeration, but I actually do think it describes in a very simple and relatable way how children think, and how they see the world – even if that...more
Catriona (LittleBookOwl)
First book read in 2014. A fantastic start to the year.
This beautiful book was just phenomenal. Such gorgeous characters, a story full of weird and wonderful twists, and the most bittersweet ending.
OH, BOD!

Now onto the review:

THE SHORT
The Graveyard is a beautifully written story about a boy living in a rather peculiar place... a graveyard. Being raised by ghosts means that Bod has had a very different upbringing compared to your typical child. He finds himself in many interesting places, some tr...more
Clouds

Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my LOCUS Y-A list.

I think I’ll always have a soft-spot for imaginative young-adult speculative fiction and as the good people at Locus did such a grand job with picking their Sci-Fi winners, I’ll trust them to single out some special y-a books too.


There were s...more
Moira Russell
This is a very charming, entertaining well-written little book that I greatly enjoyed reading, and I can see why everyone's raving about it (and why it's winning every YA award out there), but I was left with some niggling naggling feelings after finishing it. Some of those feeling started to crop up while I was reading it, which sort of spoilt my enjoyment, but I guess that's nobody's fault but my own.

One of the problems I had with the book was that I felt it got off to an exceptionally slow s...more
Madeline
"Scarlett said to Bod, 'You're brave. You are the bravest person I know, and you are my friend. I don't care if you are imaginary.' Then she fled down the path back the way they had come, to her parents and the world."

Nobody Owens, Bod for short, first comes to the graveyard as a toddler, having escaped his house after his entire family was brutally and (for the moment) inexplicably murdered. A ghost couple, the Owens, take him in and raise him, along with a guardian named Silas (who isn't a gho...more
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“You're always you, and that don't change, and you're always changing, and there's nothing you can do about it.” 1286 likes
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