Book Review: “The Graveyard Book”

Cover of

Cover of The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman

Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy

Source: Library

Summary from Goodreads:

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

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 . . .


When I first heard about this book and read the summary, I was really interested in getting my hands on the book. Then I discovered this on the list of books I could read for my independent study class! I put the book on hold right then.

I had a hard time getting into the book for some reason. I really wanted to like the book but really couldn’t. The premise was awesome but to me the story just fell flat. I kept pushing through the first half of the book thinking the story would get more exciting. Thankfully, the book did get more exciting towards the end.

I realize most of the characters are ghosts but that doesn’t mean they have to be bland. None of the characters were exciting or drew me in. They didn’t even seem like fully developed characters.

The little stories about Bod growing up didn’t add much to the story or his character. They only made the boring part of the book longer. The last half of the book saved me from completely hating the book.


2/5 I’d recommend it if you’re really into younger aged fantasy and/or horror stories.


8 thoughts on “Book Review: “The Graveyard Book”

  1. Yup, the characters were the worst part of The Graveyard Book for me, too. The beginning was SO strong, and bits of the plot were interesting (I don’t remember what happens at the end except for the dance? anyway–) but everything else wasn’t strong enough to hold up the good bits.

    I do think NG tends to have flatness problems with his characters quite a bit. I love American Gods but Shadow (the protagonist) is just that– a shadow. Stardust is the best re:fullness of characters, I think. Well, Stardust and Good Omens, but I think Terry Pratchett was in charge of characters more than NG was.


      • I always feel kind of intimidated criticizing a Super Popular author, even if I think I’m right. I worry about backlash. 😛 Maybe other people are intimidated, too?

        Have you read any Terry Pratchett books, btw? He does GREAT things with his characters and he doesn’t skimp on the world/plot stuff, either.

          • Yes! Definitely start with Nation, as I think it’s probably one of his best books. It’s light on the comedy (TP does a lot of puns/absurdity, normally) but a good introduction to TP, I think. Then I think you should read Good Omens (which I mentioned to you before), and then The Amazing Maurice & His Educated Rodents (which has a talking cat in it but it’s not silly at all). THEN I think you should read a Discworld book or two– the Discworld series is what TP is best known for. It’s a massive series but each book is pretty short and fairly quick to read; I really liked Sourcery and Equal Rites. And after that you can just read whatever else of his you fancy (if you like his books, anyway). His Tiffany Aching series (a subset of the Discworld books) has gotten good reviews, but I haven’t read it yet so I can’t vouch for it. I’m also fond of the the Bromeliad trilogy, which is about gnomes and has funny things to say about modern human society.

            Also if you can get your hands on the BBC TV series based on some of his Discworld books, please do so! They might be at the library. Hogfather is really good.

            This comment is huge. Sorry!

            Oh, do you have a LibraryThing/Goodreads account, btw?

  2. Pingback: Maria Smith’s Favourite Book: The Graveyard Book : Everybody's Reading

  3. Pingback: I like graveyards :-) « manbehindthecurtain

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