2009: The Graveyard Book (The Only Living Boy in the Cemetery)

VERDICT: Treasure

Sally’s Rating: 3.5/5

Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book follows the adventures of a boy who grows up in a graveyard, raised and educated by the supernatural beings that eternally live there. While there are plenty of interesting people who reside within its boundaries, Nobody Owens has always been intrigued by what else lies beyond it in the normal world. And it turns out that if he leaves the graveyard, the mysterious man who murdered his family will find him and finish the job.

While I enjoyed this Newbery Medal winner very much, the main character had a hard time keeping my interest. Instead, I found all of his friends – both supernatural and human – to have a lot more depth and background than Bod. Bod himself is a very curious boy, but his innocence and lack of connection to the real world make him somewhat hard to relate to.

The cast of characters that round out this novel more than make up for Bod’s shortcomings. His guardian Silas is a being neither living nor dead who has a mysterious, dark past. Scarlett is a young girl who happens upon the cemetery and becomes friends with Bod. Other characters such as ghosts, witches and werewolves also make an appearance.

The worldbuilding makes this book an exciting read with different supernatural beings having different backgrounds, rules and beliefs. Each chapter is essentially its own story, with an overall story line connecting all the incidents together, wherein Bod explores someplace new or meets someone else who lives there. While the book mainly takes place in the graveyard, Bod’s interactions with everyone allow him to experience the world through different eyes. I found myself enjoying the different stories that were told by his new friends and wished I could have been reading about their adventures instead.

The book has a satisfactory ending with a touch of melancholy coming through in the final few chapters. This would definitely be a great read around Halloween and would appeal to those who enjoy the supernatural.

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