The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman (2008)

Genre: Horror
Interest Level: 8-15
The Graveyard BookThis is, I believe, the first children’s book I’ve ever read that opens with a triple murder. Neil Gaiman first caught my attention with the delightfully creepy Coraline . A few years later, he won the Newbery and the Carnegie Medal for The Graveyard Book (the first book to win both). I went into this title cautiously – double award-winners have a lot to live up to! In The Graveyard Book, a toddler survives the murder of his family and makes his way, unnoticed, to a graveyard. There, he is adopted by the ghosts who live there: together they agree to raise him (it takes a graveyard to raise a child) and protect him. With the exception of having ghosts for parents, the boy (known as “Bod”, short for Nobody Owens) enjoys a relatively normal life. He learns his letters as well as haunting, he makes a few friends, including one live one, and he faces bullies during his brief sojourn at a school. He also grows pensive as he learns the fate of his parents, and determines to exact revenge on the man who killed his parents and his sister when he was not yet two. Delightful characters slip in and out of the storyline, ghostlike, and the twist in the plot, while easy to spot for adults, will surprise young readers.
This is a delightful story for reading aloud on chilly winter nights, though it may be hard to put down once the clock chimes bedtime. While creepy and macabre, it’s an enjoyable shiver and is suitable for all but the most delicate of imaginations.
More discussion and reviews of this novel: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2213661.The_Graveyard_Book

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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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