The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Posted August 7, 2017 by Amber in Reviews / 7 Comments

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book

by Neil Gaiman

Publisher: HarperCollins on September 30, 2008
Genre: Fantasy, Ghost Story, Horror, Paranormal
Target Age Group: Adult, Childrens, Middle Grade, New Adult, Young Adult

Rating: ★★★★½

Check out this book on Goodreads

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 best-selling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.


I wasn’t really sure what to think going into The Graveyard Book, and when it began with a baby sliding down the stairs in the dark, I was BORED.  Then I gave it another couple of chapters and there were Scarlett and the Sleer, and I was hooked!  I’m so glad I’ve finally come across another Neil Gaiman book that I really enjoy.



Bod is the most likable character I’ve seen in a while.  Not likable like Sorina in Daughter of the Burning City or Percy in The Lightning Thief… likable in that:  if you met him on the street, you’d like him immediately.  He was sweet, personable, and genuine.  The only mean things he ever really did were in self-defense.  Even then, he could have done much worse.

Sylas and the ghosts were all very likable as well, and I enjoyed the different ones that Bod interacted with as he grew.  A graveyard, especially the old ones in Europe, are filled with an incredible variety of people and characters, and Gaiman used all these different people from all these different eras to bring Bod’s story to life.  LOVED IT.



Neil Gaiman is VERY VERY GOOD at building a magical world just beyond our reach.  Regardless of whether or not I have always enjoyed his books, I LOVE his worlds.  It makes you think.  I live in New England and we have SCORES of old graveyards up here, with stones very faded and cracked.  A small part of me is curious to walk the paths of one and see if I can find the gnome gate.  THAT is how good he is at building worlds.



I didn’t expect this book to be more than short stories until we got to the chapter about Everyman Jack.  To be honest, I got lost in it, got lost in Bod’s misadventures.  I really thought we were just going to watch him grow up and grow old and eventually die and join the graveyard, but we didn’t.  IN ALL FAIRNESS from reading the summary, it’s perfectly possible Nobody Owens’ life could have been the plot.  But it wasn’t, and I’m not sure I like it better with the solving of a murder.

BUT.  I did like how he managed it all, so A+ Bod.

Writing / Narration


Sometimes, Neil Gaiman’s writing can feel very slow.  At least, that is how I perceive it.  The formatting of this book, in particular, works PERFECTLY with his writing style, because it is a bunch of short stories wrapped up into one longer tale.  I was also a bit concerned about him narrating the book (as he did with The Ocean at the End of the Lane), but it was a non-issue and I was able to separate the books (EVEN THOUGH Liza Hempstock sounds the same as Letty Hempstock… though that worked out nicely).

Personal Thoughts


I GENUINELY enjoyed this book.  And I’m excited about it, because I hate being that one person at the book party (lol, because THOSE happen #introvertsFTW!) who is banished to the corner for not being a HUGE OMG I LOVE HIM SO MUCH fan of Neil Gaiman.  Now I can say “a couple of his books are quite good” and be utterly pleased with that.  There’s a lot to like here – the history, the mystery, the characters and each of their stories… I would definitely read it again, and this one needs to be added to my personal library.

ALSO… confession.  I did not even consider that Sylas was a vampire until I started looking at these alternate covers.  It makes sense!  I feel a bit silly for not thinking of it.

The end made me sad.  I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★
Narrator: ★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★★


Have you read this book or anything by this author?  If so, did you enjoy it?  Tell me all about your experience in the comments!

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7 responses to “The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

  1. Zoe

    I completely agree! This is such a great book and I’m so glad you enjoyed it as much as I did. 🙂 Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

  2. sydneyeditor1

    This is one of Gaiman’s books I’ve never been sure if I want to read it or not, I’m still not entirely sure, but I love LOVE how you described Bod in this. He genuinely sounds like a wonderful MC.

    • He really was the SWEETEST kid. I usually have a difficult time with MCs, especially male ones, but Bod was great. It’s a quick read, if you ever decide you want to pick it up. 🙂