Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Ninja Reviews. . ."The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman

Nobody "Bod" Owens is just a toddler, barely able to walk, when he escapes the madman who murdered his family. Luckily for Bod, he finds his way into a nearby cemetery inhabited and protected by the ghosts whose bodies were lain to rest there. Bod is given the "freedom of the graveyard" and spends his years learning how to do everything a ghost (which he quite obviously is not) would do, such as fading and haunting.

But as Bod gets older, he wants to explore things beyond the graveyard, which, according to his ghostly protectors, might mean a gruesome death for Nobody Owens. His family's murderer is still out there, and he has been searching for Bod all these years, intent on finishing the job he started.

As I sometimes do, I went back and forth between reading the book and listening to the audio. The audio is great fun because the author, Neil Gaiman, reads it himself. If you've never heard Gaiman read, you should give it a try because he's very entertaining. I always love hearing an author read his or her own work because it puts a completely different spin on it than when someone else reads it.

The first chapter is rather creepy, with Bod narrowly escaping death, but that only served to make me want to read further. Bod's experience growing up in the graveyard is strange but really neat. Imagine how many different types of ghosts you might meet in a centuries old graveyard in England. Bod is educated by a Roman soldier, an English poet, and even an young witch. He discovers a secret in an ancient tomb, becomes friends with a werewolf, and is briefly kidnapped by ghouls.

This book gets 5 stars from me. I hope Gaiman writes a sequel, because the ending left me wanting more. I would recommend this to any fan of ghost stories, adventures, or mysteries.

This book is on YALSA's top 10 nominee 2009 books for teens. You can see the list of nominees here. During August 25 through September 18 you can vote on your favorite and help create YALSA's next top 10 list!

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