The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Gaiman, Neil. The Graveyard Book. Illustrated by Dave McKean. HarperCollins Publishers, 2008. 312 pages. Tr. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-0605-3092-1.
Annotation: A young boy marked for murder by an assassin is saved and raised by a variety of ghostly characters in a graveyard.
Summary: A toddler’s family is murdered by the man Jack and the boy is spared due to the kindness of ghostly residents of a nearby graveyard. Spiritual denizens name the boy Nobody Owens (Bod, for short), and raise him to be a teenager. Bod has the freedom of the graveyard and is given special powers of Fading and Haunting. When the man Jack and his wicked organization find Bod and come back to finish him off, the graveyard residents rally together to save Bod.
Evaluation: This is a wonderfully complex story that combines horror, mystery, and suspense with a bit of wit and adventure. There are occasional pages of gray and black artwork that add a bit of a surreal atmosphere to the clever prose. The character of Nobody Owen and the graveyard family that raises him will delight readers despite the slightly macabre theme of the book. The darkness of the man Jack and his ancient league of assassins enhance the captivating tale. This book is all-around great storytelling. Recommended for ages 8 to 16.
Genre / Subject: Juvenile Fiction, Horror, Ghosts, Supernatural, Family, Graveyards,
Awards: 2009 Newbery Medal Winner, 2009 ALA Notable Children’s Book, 2009 Boston Globe-Horn Honor Book Award, 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize- Young Adult Literature, 2009 ALA Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults, 2009 ALA Best Books for Young Adults, 2009 American Booksellers Indies Choice Book Award - Best Young Adult Book