I probably don’t need to tell anyone how wonderful The Graveyard Book is. It won a Newberry 6 years ago, so the word is pretty much out. Yet, somehow it escaped my notice until very recently. I am a Neil Gaiman FAN with a capital F A N. I got hooked on the Sandman comics and then read everything I could get my hands on by him within a matter of months. So, how did I not know about this book?
I, of course, have a ridiculous crush on Neil Gaiman. I say of course, because I have yet to meet a woman who has read anything by Neil Gaiman and NOT fallen stupidly in love with him. That is the only embarrassing thing about having a crush on Neil Gaiman. Everybody’s doing it. Let me be clear that this is not a goth girl crush. I don’t want to wear a vial of his blood around my neck and I don’t have a tattoo of his Death character anywhere on my person. But off the record, Neil… If I did want to wear a vial of your blood around my neck, would it improve my chances of us running away together? Sigh…
To anyone else out there that somehow lost sight of this book I suggest that you go read it. It can be read in a day and you will want to because it is so much fun. Most of the characters are dead and some of the others are not alive and many of them are not human. It is dark and intense in a YA way and the evil things are so very, very evil. It is also full of family and love and life and some awkward adolescent moments. The protagonist, Nobody Owens, lives in a graveyard, loves to read, has a hard time making friends with the living, and aspires to avenge the murder of his parents when he grows up. You will love him and root for him all through the story.
The illustrations, including the one pictured above, are by Dave McKean, who also illustrated Gaiman’s Coraline.