Monday, October 12, 2009

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Book 36 of 50 for the New Author Challenge
Book 6 of 55 for the Countdown Challenge (2008)
Book 4 of 25 for the MG Book Challenge

Awards: IBBY Honor List; Booklist Editors' Choice; Horn Book Fanfare; VOYA Award/Honor; Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature; Boston Globe/Horn Book Award/Honors; Newbery Medal; ALA Notable/Best Books; Kirkus Editors Choice; Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award/Honor; Hugo Award; Locus Award for Best Young Adult Novel; British Fantasy Award Nominee for Best Novel; Cybils Award

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Neil Gaiman is another one of those authors that I have inexplicably been avoiding. There is some creep factor going on with his stuff and it makes me nervous. But a middle grade book that is a Newbery winner to boot seemed like a safe bet. Plus, my in person book club picked this as our spooky October read. It definitely fit the bill!

The novel opens with the murder of three family members. The baby, however, escapes to a nearby graveyard where he becomes known as Nobody (Bod) Owens. Bod is raised by ghostly adoptive parents and a guardian who is part of both the living and the dead. As Bod grows he begins to be more curious about the world outside. He has an inquisitive nature, and he has been taught well by the centuries of ghosts who live in the graveyard. But the dark force that killed his family is still on the loose with unfinished business...

There were parts of this book that took my breath away. (There was some tear shedding involved at the end.) Gaiman has interesting conceptual ideas, and there were a some passages I wished I had highlighted along the way. However, there were some slow parts and, in my opinion, the novel is too dark/violent/intense for younger children. I will probably wait until middle school to pass this one on to my kids. I also didn't really "get" the illustrations. But overall, this is a great fantasy, deserving of its many accolades.

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Source: Purchased


Veens said...

Neil Gaiman is one author.. who has been hyped.. and i get scared of such authors :) So I avoid there books :) for as long as I can!

But I think it is high time I read one :)

Charley said...

I started to read this book but did not stay interested. I've wanted to try to finish it since it won the Newbery - perhaps this is the perfect time of year to do so.

bermudaonion said...

I've read 2 of Gaiman's books and enjoyed them both, so I'm really looking forward to this one. Maybe I can squeeze it in before Halloween.

Jaz said...

I've read a few Gaiman's, I've liked them some, especially Stardust and Good Omens. Anansi Boys was okay, as was Neverwhere. Coraline is just way to weird.

Melissa said...

You have to read Stardust. You will like that one. Next up on my Gaiman quest is Neverwhere... though I have to admit that I'm curious about the Sandman graphic novels.

Coraline is weird. But a good spooky weird (if you read the book first). I think it's scarier than The Graveyard Book. (It did its job and scared both M and C!)

Nina said...

I only have read Coraline and I thought it was funny, scarry and so good. I have read it to my nieces a few weeks ago and they adored it. They now want to read it every night (I have heard). :) This one I haven't read yet, but sounds so fun to read! So thank you for your great review, i'm going to add this one to my tbr list.

E.J. Stevens said...

I haven't read the Graveyard Book yet but plan to soon. Neverwhere is my favorite Gaiman book however it has both the scary and weird factor (if you don't like that sort of thing). You will probably enjoy taking a look at Coraline and The Wolves in the Walls.

Kim said...

I've only read Stardust and this one by Gaiman. I seem to be in the minority but I was not impressed with Stardust. I do think I want to try one more, maybe Neverwhere.

trish said...

I'm so glad you liked this because this will be the first Neil Gaiman I pick up. Jennifer at Literate Housewife is doing a Neil Gaiman month and asking people to blog about the first time they read one of his books...might be something you'd like to do! Especially since both of our first experiences with Gaiman will have been with The Graveyard Book.

Also, I wanted to contact you because I'm putting together a tour for Karen White's sequel to The House on Tradd Street called The Girl on Legare Street. I thought you might be interested since you read the first one. The tour's in December. Shoot me an email if you're interested. :)

alisonwonderland said...

Thanks for the link!

The creepiness factor of Gaiman's work is something that has kept me from really embracing it. But I've now read InterWorld, which I enjoyed, and The Graveyard Book, which I adored - so I'm going to try another one sometime soon.

Shona said...

This was the first of his books I read . Still have Coraline on my shelf which I hope to pick up soon. I must say though I didn't exactly love this book I found it interesting.