July 25, 2009
The Graveyard Book - by Neil Gaiman
Imagine a toddler who somehow escapes his house while his parents are being murdered, and who toddles his way to a graveyard, where the ghosts agree to raise him as their own child. That's how the story begins, and that toddler, who the ghosts name Nobody Owens, grows up not only learning everything the ghosts, ghouls, witches, and other supernatural beings can teach him, but wanting to seek revenge for the murder of his family members. It's an exciting, interesting story, but it's not for the faint of heart.
The story is based on the classic book The Jungle Book, written by British author Rudyard Kipling in the late 1800's. While that story (turned into a Disney movie, which is nowhere near as interesting as the book) focuses on a boy who is raised by jungle animals, this book, as I said, involves ghosts raising an orphan in a cemetery. That part isn't as spooky as you'd expect, and it's a lot more interesting than any other ghost story you're likely to read. The Graveyard Book is set in modern-day England, which adds an interesting twist for American readers.
Read this if you want to see why it won the Newbery, if you're interested in spooky, well-told tales, or if you have simply always wanted to be adopted by ghosts yourself, and to live in a centuries-old crypt in a lonely graveyard.