Books Reviewed / Middle Grade

That Time I Read a Neil Gaiman Book for the First Time: A Book Review

That Time I Read a Neil Gaiman Book for the First Time: A Book ReviewThe Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean
Published by HarperCollins on 30 September 2008
Genres: MG Paranormal & Supernatural, MG Fantasy
Pages: 307
Format: Audiobook, Paperback
Source: Library, Owned Book

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a perfectly normal boy. Well, he would be perfectly normal if he didn't live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the world of the dead.
There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard: the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer; a gravestone entrance to a desert that leads to the city of ghouls; friendship with a witch, and so much more.

But it is in the land of the living that real danger lurks, for it is there that the man Jack lives and he has already killed Bod's family.

A deliciously dark masterwork by bestselling author Neil Gaiman, with illustrations by award-winning Dave McKean.

Good Morning Lovelies!

Today’s review is on a supernatural/fantasy MG book I got a chance to read for one of my classes this past Spring. I’m just finally getting around to reviewing it; although, I’ve had some notes already written up on it. For all my thoughts on this one, check out my review below!

Ownership: Own it / Borrowed Audiobook from Library
MG supernatural/fantasy
Publisher:Harper Collins
Published: 2010 
Price: $8.99 (paperback);
Amazon, AudibleB & N, Book DepositoryGoodReads, IndieBound

My Rating:

four stars

The Graveyard Book follows Nobody Owens, a boy who is adopted and raised by ghosts in a graveyard after his parents are brutally murdered. While it beings with a grim and violent scene, the story quickly takes on a coming-of-age tone as ghosts in the nearby graveyard Nobody (or Bod for short) has crawled to as a baby take him in and raise him. As Nobody grows, he learns about life within the graveyard as well as experiences life outside of it. All the while the threat from his infancy hunts him still.

Gaiman does a wonderful job of creating and maintaining the graveyard setting. His characters are well defined and develop strongly throughout the book. The cast of characters he’s created are entertaining and add an interesting take on orphan-boy story trope. I really enjoyed Nobody as a main character. Seeing him grow as a boy and experience life within the graveyard as well as learn about the “human” world made for a very interesting POV to read from. I also really enjoyed all the secondary characters that Gaiman created. From the “tutors” to the creepy killer, Gaiman definitely showcased his skill for creating a unique set of characters. My favorite had to be the mysterious Silas, who was the only character from the graveyard (outside of Bod of course) able to cross into the “human” world.

As side from characters, I also feel like this novel does a great job of introducing younger readers to the supernatural genre. While there are some adrenaline-spiking moments, nothing too scary or violent happens outside of the book’s first scene. Readers instead will encounter more of a coming-of-age story as Nobody learns to: make friends, listen to the wisdom of his ‘elders’, accomplish tasks on his own, and confront not only the world outside of the graveyard, but his past as well.

Lastly, the accompany illustrations by Dave McKean add to the overall ambiance of the novel. I really enjoyed seeing them side by side with the text. I’m very interested though to see what the graphic novel version might be like.

On another quick note, I half read this in physical format and half listened to it as an audiobook that I borrowed from my library through Overdrive. I think the audiobook version was narrated superbly! I listened to the full cast production and thought it was brilliant! Each narrator really brought the story to life and I loved the main narrator. His voice was perfect for this slightly macabre story.

With that said, while its seemingly tame in content, some readers might think otherwise and might feel the story is actually scary or too supernatural for their taste. So while I thought it was pretty tame in content, younger readers might think otherwise. However, I still feel like this is a worthwhile read and highly recommend it to anyone interested in a unique supernatural MG book. Also, of course, I’d recommend it for Gaiman fans as well. This being my first time reading him, I’m definitely interested in picking up some of his other works 🙂

Thanks for stopping by! Let me know if you’ve read this book and if so, your thoughts on Nobody Owens & his ghostly family! Also, if you’re a Gaiman fan, what book of his should I pick up next?

As always, Happy Reading!

*Disclaimer: None of my links on this post or on this blog are affiliate links. If I ever begin to participate in affiliate links, I will let you know. 🙂

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