Friday, May 10, 2013

The Graveyard Book

by Neil Gaiman
published: HarperCollins, 2008
pages: 312

Bod Owens leads a completely normal life, apart from growing up in a graveyard where most of his friends are ghosts and his guardian, Silas, belongs neither among the living or the dead. Sometimes Bod wishes he could leave the graveyard, but knows that if he does, he will no longer be under the protection of it.  When the mystery of why Bod lives in a graveyard surrounded by ghosts instead of the living starts to unravel, Bod finds out information about his birth family and why they were killed.

This story is a most interesting one.  I never would have thought that a boy growing up among the dead would interest me, but if you put Neil Gaiman's name on it, I will try it out.  I have said this many times recently, but I was pleasantly surprised by this book.

Mystery in this book is enticing.  It seems to be Neil Gaiman's style of writing, only sharing enough of the world so that the reader isn't confused.  Other non-crucial details aside are mysteries to infer from the story.  I really enjoy this way of writing because it allows extra imagination on the part of the reader.

The characters are incredibly interesting and alluring.  We never find out exactly what Silas is, but from context clues we can gather that he's probably a vampire.  I really like that this isn't spelled out for us because it adds to the aforementioned mystery of the novel and the characters.  None of the characters in this book are completely divulged.  I feel like everyone has a secret that they are unwilling to expose, which, for me, makes them that much more realistic.  It would make sense to know a character's every whim if the story was being told in first person, but here it's third person and the characters work.  Everything seems to be quite seamless without needing all the information.

Neil Gaiman has secured his name on my read-anything-this-author-has-ever-written list.  I cannot wait to pick up another one of his titles.

Stars: 4.5/5


"Wistful, witty, and wise - and creepy.... Closer in tone to American Gods than to Coraline, but permeated with Bod's innocence, this needs to be read by anyone who is or has ever been a child."
     --Kirkus Reviews

"An utterly captivating tale... this is a rich story with broad appeal and is highly recommended for teens of all ages."
     --Booklist, starred review

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