The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

July is DARK
Dark can be many things. It can be physically dark, emotionally dark, dark colored, about dark topics, scary dark, dark in a way that is realistic and not ficticious. These titles were chosen to show the range of books that may be recommended for a YA reader with a desire for something with more depth. None of these books are especially light-hearted, although they each have moments that are. Some are about ghosts, some are about war, some are about death, some are about rape--but all of them are about growing up and finding your place in the world.

There was once a man Jack. Well, maybe that is a bad way to start...there was once a boy named Nobody. He was adopted by a graveyard, has ghosts for parents, a mysterious guardian named Silas who lives in the graveyard as well, and has strange abilities that allow him to pass through walls and disappear from view. While his life is fairly stable, the man Jack--who killed his family--is still out there.

Neil Gaiman's newest novel is the latest recipient of the Newbery Medal, and a can't miss tale of finding your place in the world. Nobody Owens, or Bod as he is called, was so young when his family was killed that his life in the graveyard is nothing out of the ordinary to him. He gets lessons from Mr. Pennyworth on the ways of the dead, learns about Dreamwalking, Haunting, and Fading. Miss Lupescu (a Hound of God, or werewolf as humans call them) teaches him how to call for help in Night Gaunt, which proves useful. Silas, his ever solemn guardian, gives him support and unfailing honesty.

This is an adventure that takes the reader through the ghoul gate, down to face the SLEER, into the heart of a young girl, inside the nightmare of a bully, to the dance Macabre, and embraces the idea that you are in charge of your own destiny. Gaiman's tale is about overcoming fears, understanding where you belong in the world, overlooking arbitrary boundaries created out of prejudice or ignorance, recognizing the dangers that exist, and finding your own path to freedom. The touching friendships and connections that Bod makes throughout the book give him the strength to stand on his own. Also, it's really fun to read.

"Face your life
Its pain, its pleasure,

Leave no path untaken"

(Gaiman pg. 306, 2008).

*Library Link*

If you liked this, you might like:
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Nation by Terry Pratchett
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Gaiman, Neil. (2008). The Graveyard Book. HarperCollins Publishers: New York, NY.

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