The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
I really like the three Neil Gaiman books I’ve read. This is one of his more popular books, but for me it ranks third. I recommend Stardust and then American Gods. Actually my favorite is American Gods but you have to be ready for that one because it's complicated, mature, long and intense.

Back to the creative and unique The Graveyard Book. As you’d expect, it's absolutely spooky and a little creepy too, since it obviously takes place in a graveyard for the most part. The scariest part for younger kids is the very beginning where **spoiler** a young toddler's family is killed. **Further SPOILER** they are actually murdered by a killer who slits all their throats. The mom, dad and older sibling. Strangely, this little boy wakes up and wanders out of the house while this horrible incident is taking place, thus saving himself. He meanders into a graveyard where he's hidden from the pursuing killer. Then he ends up being adopted by the spirits and spends his life there amongst the eccentric ghosts. The murderer comes back in the end of the book but by then, the boy - who's now called "Bod", which is short for Nobody Owens - is grown up and ready for him.

The Graveyard Book is very episodic, which makes it an intriguing read since something new is always popping up and then basically resolving itself quite quickly. There is the overall plot line of the killer always lurking out there, but he's really only on the scene in the beginning and very end. And there is consistency in Bod growing up and learning to live amongst the dead, while also figuring out how to intermittently interact with the living. But really, it's just a series of strange events that happen to the boy, not necessarily a long interlocking story where this leads to that and then this and then that.

So, I can say that I do recommend this story because it is a cool book and, of course, it's written quite well by Mr. Gaiman. BUT - I think the graphic novel version which was released somewhat recently is probably the best version available. The Graveyard Book simply feels like it would read much better as a comic book series and that's the look and feel I think you will get in the graphic novel. Plus the ghosts and supernatural occurrences that happen to and around Bod will surely be so amazing in illustrations. Such as the Dance Macabre, which is a rare event where the living and dead dance together in the town square during the darkest of night. But the living never remember it!

In the graphic novel, do beware of that opening scene with the three murders. I’ve read in Amazon reviews that the illustrations are quite realistic. Knife on the throat, blood, etc. And remember it’s a mom, dad and child who are killed so it could certainly be disturbing for young eyes.

Beyond the grisly beginning, The Graveyard Book is a good one for boys or girls but as I’ve written several times, they should be older readers, probably middle school or higher. Mature readers will appreciate the intriguing aspects of the cast of ghosts and won’t be bothered by the creepy parts. Unless you happen to know a youngster who likes dark, somewhat scary stories such as Coraline, Mr. Gaiman's other very popular book. Even if so, I’d still look out for that beginning. And again, I highly recommend looking into the graphic novel version because I think the artwork in it must be fantastic. There were black and white sketches in the kindle version I read, and these added to the story, however I still think a fully illustrated version would be best.

Happy Reading!

Review of Stardust
Review of American Gods