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Life, Law & Libros

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (4 stars)

Mini-reviews are tweaked versions of reviews I wrote before starting the blog. It's a good way to show some love to older books (and keep me from panicking when I slack off and don't have anything new). The originals remain on Goodreads (unless it was, like, one sentence), and the new reviews get posted here in between reviews of books I'm currently reading. How to tell them apart? The mini-reviews get this cool intro paragraph. :)

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Series: n/a
Genres: MG/YA, Paranormal, Fantasy
Published on September 30, 2008
Published by HarperCollins
Final Rating: 4 stars
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 belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. 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.

I have tried two other Gaiman books and not gotten into them. That was not the case here.

Following the murder of his family, Bod is taken in and raised by a graveyard full of ghosts. It's not safe outside the yard, so we watch him grow up inside its boundaries, though it has its own dangers. By bits then bounds, the outside world breaks into Bod's life and it will take all his courage and knowledge, of the living and dead, to stay alive. Even in "normal" moments, the story never feels slow or dull.

Nobody Owens is fascinating. You want to learn more about the boy who grew up in a graveyard and his world. At the same time, he's severely normal and you're watching him grow up and try to understand our world like every other kid. I enjoyed watching his journey, and he's likable. The graveyard inhabitants are mysterious, generous, difficult and pompous by turns, but I loved the moments we shared with them all.

The ending is more of an un-ending, but it's a fitting conclusion for a wonderful, original story. My one complaint might be the seeming abruptness with which the grand scheme/worldwide plot comes together.

Highly recommended. :)


  1. I can't believe I've never read a Gaiman story! I don't even know where to begin. I love the cover of this and I like the sound of this Nobody character. I'm already curious about why he's lived in a graveyard. Thanks for sharing!

    1. You're very welcome! Gaiman's books have been hit or miss for me, but this one was a home run. :)

  2. Four stars from you is high praise ;) I've read two other Gaiman books. One was good one was...Just odd. I haven't given up yet though, this idea sounds highly intriguing

    1. "Odd" definitely comes to mind with a lot of Gaiman stuff, but this book was on the good side of weird if you want to give it a go. :)