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The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book

Written by Neil Gaiman

Narrated by Neil Gaiman


The Graveyard Book

Written by Neil Gaiman

Narrated by Neil Gaiman

ratings:
4.5/5 (1,473 ratings)
Length:
7 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Sep 30, 2008
ISBN:
9780061707391
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

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.

A HarperAudio production.

Publisher:
Released:
Sep 30, 2008
ISBN:
9780061707391
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Neil Gaiman is the celebrated author of books, graphic novels, short stories, films, and television for readers of all ages. Some of his most notable titles include the highly lauded #1 New York Times bestseller Norse Mythology; the groundbreaking and award-winning Sandman comic series; The Graveyard Book (the first book ever to win both the Newbery and Carnegie Medals); American Gods, winner of many awards and recently adapted into the Emmy-nominated Starz TV series (the second season slated to air in 2019); The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which was the UK’s National Book Award 2013 Book of the Year. Good Omens, which he wrote with Terry Pratchett a very long time ago (but not quite as long ago as Don’t Panic) and for which Gaiman wrote the screenplay, will air on Amazon and the BBC in 2019. Author photo by Beowulf Sheehan

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Reviews

What people think about The Graveyard Book

4.3
1473 ratings / 630 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    A young boy grows up in a graveyard, surrounded by spirits and ghouls.I love me some good children's lit, and I love me some Neil Gaiman even more. Put the two together, and I'm a happy girl indeed.THE GRAVEYARD BOOK is a creepier take on THE JUNGLE BOOK, but you don't need to have read Kipling's classic to enjoy Gaiman's version. It's a wonderful little book that reads like a collection of interconnected short stories. Bod ages at least a year between chapters, and one - "The Witch's Headstone" - was in fact published as a short story a couple of years before the novel was released. His adventures are episodic, but there's a definite sense of growth and change running beneath the narrative. Gaiman shows us how Bod matures as the story unfolds, and we see how his potential for change sometimes puts him at odds with his ghostly friends. There's a lot of flashy surface stuff here, but there's also a deeper thread that parents and educators are bound to appreciate.Be aware, though, that it is a darker story. Gaiman writes horror, and he doesn't pull many punches even when his books are for younger readers. The book begins with a murder, and many of the ghosts died unpleasant deaths. Bod's adventures are scary as well as fun. Religious families may also take issue with the fact that the graveyard seems to be the final destination for most folks.I'd certainly recommend this, though. It's an entertaining read with a lot of heart, and the more I think about it, the more I like it. I'd love to read more about Bod, but I don't imagine there'll ever be a sequel to this. I suspect that the anticipatory feeling the reader gets as she finishes may be part of the point.(A slightly different version of this review originally appeared on my blog, Stella Matutina).
  • (4/5)
    Nobody Owens. Bod for short. He lives in a graveyard and communicates with dead people and . . . the not so dead. Other than that - he's a normal boy. Bod's unfortunate circumstances do not allow him to leave the graveyard. If he does, he could be killed by the man Jack that murdered his family and has been hunting for him ever since. Other than that - he's a happy boy.Well, I'll be. I actually really enjoyed this book - a Gaiman book - a fantasy book. Who would have thought!?! I have gone from a rating of 2/5 (Anansi Boys) to a 3/5 (Coraline) to a 4/5 with The Graveyard Book. Woo Hoo!The idea that real life is reflected in this fantasy book is fascinating and interesting to discover along the way. There were some things or scenes that I didn't care for (a little too out-there for me), but for the most part I enjoyed the adventure, the relationships and most of all, the suspense. This is definitely a book that can be enjoyed by many ages - probably best read by adults to the younger ones, as it is recommended for 9 - 12. (4/5)Originally posted on: "Thoughts of Joy..."
  • (5/5)
    Nobody Owens, Bod to those who do know him. A boy who is raised in a graveyard by the ghosts who live there over the last hundreds of years. Protected from those who brutally murdered his Mother, Father and sister, but missed him.He is granted Freedom of the Graveyard, which means he has the ability to pass through solid objects within the graveyard. He is taught the ways of the spirits and also learns what life was like in the eras the spirits were still living humans.Silas is Bod's appointed caretaker. Mr. and Mrs. Owens are his foster parents. They never had a child while alive, so this is their chance. It is Mrs. Owens that gives Bod his name, as she remarks that "He looks like nobody except himself."The chapters are spaced apart, sort of telling of different periods of time from when he arrived at the graveyard as just a toddler until he became 15. He has no real memories of his parents or the murder. A murder that seemed to have been ignored and never solved, for some strange reason.He makes friends with a little girl named Scarlett, when he is quite young. He never shows himself to her parents so they convince Scarlett he is just an imaginary friend. They soon move away and once again he only has the ghosts of the graveyard for company.The graveyard is very old and about 40 years before Bod arrived, it was declared a natural reserve and not very often visited. This makes it that much easier for Bod to live there. Silas, his caretaker, has the ability to go to the village to get supplies for Bod, so that is taken care of. The spirits teach him from what they know; reading, sums and a little history. He does try attending school with regular children, but it doesn't work out due to bullies.He does have adventures and makes friends that are unusual, such as Miss Lupescu, a Hound of God; Elizabeth Hempstock who was executed for being a witch. He learns supernatural abilities such as Fading or turning invisible, Haunting, Dream Walking and more. Some of these abilities come in handy.I took time to read this as it seemed to be a book written to be read that way. Yes there is excitement and Bod does find out about what happened to his family. He also finds that there is much to experience outside of the graveyard and that he can't live there forever.Interesting side note: I have some quotes about writing that pop-up on my computer. The author is the same author of this book. I'd never read Neil Gaiman before. Very enjoyable!
  • (4/5)
    An odd and lovely and dark fantasy about a boy raised in a graveyard by ghosts and a mysterious guardian after a villain murders his family. Gaiman reads it well also.
  • (4/5)
    I read this with my book club, so for my review, I’ll share some of our observations. Many of us, myself included, enjoyed the references to popular mythology, although some people didn’t notice all of them. I think we all generally felt that the book read like a bunch of short stories which had been pasted together but were a bit disjointed and the ending was quite abrupt. On the other hand, we all loved the writing and drawings, both of which I thought worked well together to capture the emotion of different scenes. Like in Gaiman’s talk, I felt as though every word was carefully chosen. I was struck by the creepiness of these scenes he described, but even that was overshadowed by the beauty of the writing. This was a very cool, unique middle grade book.

    This review first published on Doing Dewey.
  • (5/5)
    Review from BadelyngeAlthough I adore Neil Gaiman's comic book work like his wonderful Sandman magnum opus, I have never really enjoyed any of his novels. His adult novels like American Gods failed to interest me and his books more aimed at younger readers never quite hit the right mark. Stardust attempts to to tell a tale in fairy tale style but is far too long for that style to engage. Basically I think he wrote a novel using a style more suited to the short form. He has great ideas, a wonderful imagination and a wide eclectic grab-bag of interests and knowledge to draw upon. Neverwhere was an explosion of concepts, wordplays and atmosphere but too much jumble at once and always preempted by the tv series and undermined by rewrites to suit other audiences.The Graveyard Book is for me his first hit, yes, a very palpable hit. Escaping from the man Jack (a very Gaimaneske assassin) who murders his family in their beds, a young toddler escapes to the strange safety of a nearby graveyard. He's adopted by the local ghosts and named Nobody - or Bod for short. Each chapter is pretty self contained as Bod grows up and learns about the different characters that inhabit his new world. Perfect for reading a chapter a night for the kids. And there are some really fine characters; the vampirish Silas, Miss Lupescu, Scarlett and my favourite, the capricious ghost witch Liza Hempstock. It's a simply written, pleasurable, charming and surprisingly emotional read. My copy was illustrated by the excellent off kilter line drawings of Chris Riddell.
  • (5/5)
    This book is gorgeous. Wonderful. Stupendous. I'm not sure how many other words I can come up with to describe it, but the fact remains that it was one of the best stories I've had the pleasure to dive into this year. To those of you who might not have read Neil Gaiman's work before, it is always very layered. Enjoyable at any age, but the older you are the more you can see the hidden story line beneath everything else. This story is no different. The Graveyard Book is a story about humanity, friendship, and the age old battle of growing up.

    Nobody Owens (Bod for short), looses his family in a grisly murder. Sad, I know. However what happens next is magic. Taken in by the inhabitants of the graveyard that he wanders into, Bod soon learns so much more than he ever imagined. I loved the way that Gaiman shows Bod's different stages of life. At a young age, Bod is smart and curious. As he grows, his questions turn from simple curiosity, to actual life lessons that he is trying to learn. Each of the graveyard members is unique and vibrant. From long dead war heroes, to simple folk who keep to themselves, the graveyard is a bustling place for a young boy to grow up.

    What will really draw you into The Graveyard Book though is the writing. Neil Gaiman's writing is one of the reasons I fell in love with his books in the first place. Every page is filled with gorgeous prose, vivid descriptions, and witty observations. Bod's story, in particular, has a lovely mix of mischief, magic and horror. There were portions of this book that had me shivering in my boots. Well, shoes. Anyhow, it is really the ability to get so wholly lost in this story that really makes it a great read. You'll find yourself in the graveyard, and chances are you won't want to leave.

    I'm not sure how else to implore you to read this book. The writing, the characters, the whole entire vibe is just pure ambrosia. There are moments that will break your heart, and others that will startle you with their sudden appearance. Whether this is your first foray into Gaiman's brilliantly woven worlds, or you're an avid fan, this is a book that is sure to delight.
  • (3/5)
    Better late than never! This won the Newbery in 2009 and it's just as good now. It's got enough "creep" to make a child shiver and giggle without giving him or her nightmares. As usual, Gaiman is a creative, imaginative writer who always seems to get it right. Meet "Bod" (short for Nobody Owens) who is being "raised by the dead" (get it?) in a graveyard to keep him safe from the man who murdered his entire family when he was a baby.
  • (4/5)
    Reread this book and wrote a lot of Battle of the Books Questions for the 2013 teams. I liked it much btter this time.
  • (5/5)
    One of my best memories of 2008, was traveling to Comic Con in NY and having a chance to hear Neil Gaiman read from this book for hours. I was so excited when it won the Newbery!
  • (4/5)
    My first encounter with Neil Gaiman was several years ago in his Sandman graphic novel series... I started the first one, got too scared and had to put it down. Last year I was reintroduced to his work The Ocean at the End of the Lane in a book club and could not put it down. I heard that The Graveyard Book had a similar tone, so I got it from the library. And it's true!I didn't want this book to end. It's telling is sweet and sad and a little bit dark. It reminded me a little of Grimm's Fairy Tales in its nonchalant approach to murder. Though I didn't find it as compelling the whole way through as The Ocean (I think because it is a children's/tween aged book and I'm 35) but I really enjoyed the read. The characters are explored beautifully and plot is developed thoughtfully, the story is believable while still being obviously fantastical.I read this book for this years book bingo square entitled "a retelling of a classic" because the story is intended to pay homage to Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book". It truly is a coming of age tale, and like Mowgli struggles between the wild and the tame, Bod struggles with his 'gift' of straddling the border between the living and the dead. The reason is very similar, I think, in the living and the tame both lack the wisdom of surrender inherent to the wild and the dead. The depth of this perspective is vital to true happiness in life and bares repeating over and over. I hope the generations exposed to The Graveyard Book gain wisdom from this book and are enticed to read the Jungle Book over again as adults.I'm giving this book four stars because while it opened my mind and deepened my sense of living life, I don't know that I would read it over. I would definitely recommend it to others though!
  • (4/5)
    Even if you own and have read this novel for yourself you should look up the audio-book and listen to it read by the author who reads beautifully.
  • (5/5)
    What can I say - I love Neil Gaiman's books! I laughed, cried and had a lot of other emotions in between as I went through this book. Ghosts, vampires and werewolves have never been more endearing...
  • (5/5)
    I didn't know what to expect from this book but have to admit I really enjoyed it, although it is quite different fayre to the books I usually read. I wouldn't have read this but for the Librarything Mystery and Suspense Extra Group Monthly Sub-genre Challenge, which is the beauty of these challenges. I think it was very cleverly written and can be enjoyed by both adults and children. It almost needs a sequel to find out what happened next! I do look forward to reading more books by Neil Gaiman in the future.
  • (4/5)
    At the beginning of the book, the reader is immediately thrown into a mystery - a strange man has come to a house and has killed mother, father and daughter, however, the infant son escapes just walking out the door with no one noticing. Where does this child go? He wanders up the street and enters a graveyard where the ghosts of long dead people take him and protect him from the murderer.The child, named Nobody by the spirits in the graveyard, called Bod, is safe as long as he remains in the graveyard. Many of the spirits take to his education as he grows up not just teaching him to read and write but special abilities - fading, dreamwalking. Bod makes a friend for a short time with a little girl named Scarlett, who later moves away. He actually attends school for awhile but instead of staying in the shadows, he bring himself to the attention of others which puts his life at risk. As he grows he knows he needs to find out who he is and what happened to his family.My book club chose this "spooky" book for our October read and we were pleased with the story and how it evolved. It was fun and quirky but showed different sides of humanity.
  • (4/5)
    Very different from what I normally read. I'm not sure I liked it, but then again I was kept interested to the very end.
  • (5/5)
    I wish Los Angeles would just hurry up and turn fall already. But it won’t. So I have to make my own fall by baking pumpkin gingerbread, drinking pumpkin lattes, and the most successful technique so far: reading The Graveyard Book. When I picked this book in September I wasn’t even thinking about October and Halloween. But this book is perfect for fall.

    The premise is that a boy’s family gets murdered and he is raised by the inhabitants of a graveyard, mostly ghosts. The boy, who comes to be called Bod, short for Nobody, learns to read from worn gravestones, hears history from the people who lived through it, makes friends with both the living and the dead, and generally has a pretty idyllic childhood. Can’t believe I just said that about a boy who lives in a graveyard. But it all seemed rather picturesque and British.

    The book is told in episodes, like the Jungle Book on which it was modeled. This made it perfect for short bursts of reading. You didn’t really have to pay attention to lots of threads throughout the book because many of them get wrapped up by the end of the chapter.

    The other thing great thing I did with this book is get the audiobook. I listened to it on my drives to school. Neil Gaiman himself reads it, and he does all the voices and everything. It was wonderful. I find myself skimming dialogue when I read a text, but when that same text is read aloud, all the dialogue and speech comes popping out and I caught even more gems in Gaiman’s writing. I highly recommend the audio book.

    I wish this book had been published when I was a kid. I feel like I would have loved it even more. It has important ideas about life and death and destiny and potential. One important thread running through the book is that even though the ghosts and other not-traditionally-alive characters can do all sorts of cool things, like induce fear and walk through walls, Bod has the potential to actually change the world. The residents of the graveyard have already had their lives, they’ve already put their mark in the world. Bod may love it in the graveyard, it may be his home, but he needs to go out do stuff. The living have infinite potential. So we need to go out and make some stuff happen. Kids need to hear stuff like this. So I’m going to file it away in my list of books to give to children someday.
  • (4/5)
    This is one of the most unusual books I have ever read. Though the first chapter was disturbing for a YA book, when you read further it is about a boy who learns about friendship, family, revenge and surviving. He just happens to learn these things from ghosts and witches while living in a graveyard.
  • (5/5)
    I enjoyed this book A LOT !!! It was very fun and I was sad when it ended. This was my first Gaiman read and I'm looking forward on reading more of his books.
  • (4/5)
    The story will pull you in, slowly at first, but it really picks up steam after the first chapters. Difficult to put down. Bonus with the audio book is read by Neil Gaiman.
  • (3/5)
    I have read 5 books by Neil Gaiman. And so far I realized that they are either a big hit for me or a big miss.The Graveyard Book was unfortunately a miss.The book started out very promising. A murder, a child that escaped, ghosts who decide to raise that child, and obviously some bad guys to chase after the said child.Silas, a mysterious being that takes on protecting the kid, is probably the most interesting person in the whole book. It is mostly left to the reader's interpretation, but is hinted that Silas is a (view spoiler). Now if there was a book just about Silas - man, I would read that!The story set up was amazing, and it started out great too, but then it just trailed off into...nothing. I lost interest about 200 pages in, and then the ending was not fulfilling at all (to me personally).Also wanted to mention that this is a second book of Gaiman's that the ending just didn't do it for me (the other one is "the ocean at the end of a lane"). So maybe I am missing something? Or misinterpreting the bigger picture?Would I recommend The Graveyard Book? Probably not, I just wasn't impressed, or to be honest, interested in it much.If you want to read some good fantasy by Gaiman I would recommend checking out Neverwhere (amazing!!) and Stardust (pretty darn good)
  • (5/5)
    Loved, loved, loved this book. A truly unique journey and one of the best coming of age stories I have ever read. Mr. Gaiman just keeps getting better and better at writing children's books.

  • (4/5)
    Shockingly, I enjoyed this. Normally Gaiman's work bores me to tears, but this was pretty good. I was disappointed that the final conflict was so quickly dealt with, but that seems to be a fault of most children's and YA fiction - they want to get it wrapped up in one chapter and done with.
  • (4/5)
    I quite enjoyed this book! The ending kinda ticked me off *cough* Scarlet *cough*, but it made sense in a way.
  • (4/5)
    Another gem from Gaiman. He is one of my favorite authors for a reason. I love the way he combines ideas of very ancient mythos interacting with a more modern world.
  • (5/5)
    This is perfect - tone, pitch, plot, characters, emotion - I only wish there were more stories like this.
  • (5/5)
    This is the first Neil Gaiman I have read, and I must say I feel like I've been missing out up until now. Magical writing, involving story line, and lines that grab you completely. This is a story I will remember for a long time.
  • (5/5)
    Bod lives in a graveyard where the ghosts are his family and his guardian, is, well, something else. The reader follows Bod Owens' life(short for Nobody Owens)from the time he toddles into the graveyard until his mid-teens. What lies between those years is full of lessons - learning to Fade, Haunt and Dreamwalk, but also, learning who he is and how he came to live among the dead. In learning this most important lesson, his guardian, Silas, will protect Bod as much as he can but eventually Bod must face his nemesis and hopefully, live to tell his tale outside of the graveyard that raised him.

    Great book for reluctant readers, as well as anyone who likes a good ghost story. Gaiman does a fantastic job of developing the characters and giving Bod a unique, yet non-creepy disposition. I loved all the characters, especially, Ms. Lupescu. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the illustrations throughout - really creepy and wonderful!
  • (5/5)
    A different, but wonderful story. Highly recommended.
  • (5/5)
    Giving credit to Kipling's The Jungle Book, this story is about a young boy named Nobody Owens who is raised in a cemetery by ghosts that are long dead. "Bod" as he is called has adventures inside and outside the graveyard gates as he gradually learns more about his past and about his unusual upbringing, and about how a man named Jack wants him dead.This book just got better and better as I read on. It was my first Neil Gaiman book, and I will definitely check his other titles out. I thought he was very creative in how he played with the setting (especially the gravestone epithets) and the plot. I didn't make the connection that his book was loosely based on the Jungle Book. Now, however, it makes perfect sense: boy raised by others outside of his natural setting; hunted by someone on the outside; must return to his "real" home eventually. I think a meaningful activity for students to do would be to add one more illustration to the book. Dave McKean's drawings are amazing, and the objective for students to add one more would be that they could use their own imagination to represent the story visually or graphically. They could do a short writing assignment about why they picked that scene or part of the plot to draw.