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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Review by Christina

The Graveyard Book

 The man Jack breaks into a family of four and murders the mother, father, and older sister. He wields his knife in cold, brisk swings, letting their bodies drop without mercy. Now, he was ready to finish the job. He opens the door to the baby room, where he pounces on his last victim -- a newborn baby.  

He swings his knife into the crib, but there was no baby, only a stuffed teddy bear in his place. The man Jack grunted, looking for the baby. It was a dark and chilly night, but Jack could smell the little boy. Tracking the baby’s scent, Jack followed it out of the house, onto the street, and up a hill that led to a large graveyard.  

Now, the readers may ask, where did the baby go?  

Bored out of his mind, the little boy tumbled out of his crib. He scooched down the stairs step by step, his diaper coming loose from the fall. By the time he got downstairs, the garage door was open, and the outside air welcomed him. He crawled out and up the hill.  

Close on the baby’s tracks, the man Jack traces the baby’s scent all the way into the graveyard. He climbs over the gates and begins to search. In the graveyard, the baby encounters a kindly husband and wife ghost, Mr. and Mrs. Owens. “A child!” the wife exclaimed, pointing it out to her husband. When Jack comes after the baby, they could sense the man’s murderous intent. The baby’s recently murdered family rushes to the graveyard, their spirits deranged and panicky. The baby’s mom (now a ghost) begs the Owens couple to adopt her baby and protect him from Jack. They agree, and a mysterious man appears and makes Jack leave the graveyard.  

After a long discussion, the ghosts agree to take care of the baby. Mrs. Owens named him Nobody Owens, or “Bod” for short.  

I would rate The Graveyard Book a 10/10. Rather than reading the book, I listened to the audiobook recording of the book by the author. I would set aside an hour before bed to lay down in the dark as I tried to follow the sequence of events. This book was a fascinating listen. Through Neil Gaiman’s voice, I could close my eyes and visualize the fantastical settings and mythical creatures. Though this book is filled with fictional elements, it teaches the readers an important life lesson: value your time in the living. Ghosts appear eternal, but they’re unchanging. Their fates were predetermined by their time in the living world. Bod, the living boy, was constantly changing. Each year, he grew taller and learned more about the world. The living had the power to reshape their destinies, while the dead’s fates were forever encased.  

I would recommend this book not only to teens but also to adults. Bod’s coming-of-age in the graveyard and his quest to find his family’s murderer makes this book both a meaningful and suspenseful read. 


Checkout The Graveyard Book from the Newport Beach Public Library. 

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