They say it takes a town to raise a child. Or in this case, a graveyard.
After his family are murdered by a stranger named Jack, a toddler escapes to a graveyard where he is adopted by a pair of ghosts who name him Nobody. A vampire speaks up as Bod’s guardian, eventually sharing this responsibility with a werewolf. Bod befriends other ghost children and even a witch buried on unconsecrated ground near the graveyard. But the mysterious man who murdered his family still seeks him and intends to finish the task he set out to do the night Bod came to live in the graveyard. Bod and his friends must find out who this man is and why he is determined to kill Bod before it’s too late.
Neil Gaiman recently received the Newberry medal for The Graveyard Book and has also been nominated for the Hugo award. The characters are well-crafted, memorable and endearing, but the story is very dark. I found it so easy to care for Bod and root for him throughout the story. It’s a pretty quick read with illustrations throughout. Sensitive readers might find the dark elements to be too intense. See below for other content information.
Ghosts, ghouls, a vampire, werewolf, and a witch are included in the story’s cast of characters and save Bod from harm. Bod literally lives among the crypts and tombs of the graveyard and spends most of his life among the dead (and undead?).
The story opens after a man has murdered Bod’s parents and sibling. While the murders themselves are not graphically described, the killer is cold, complacent about their deaths, even the death of the other child. He intends to kill Bod as well, though he is only six months old at the time. While not graphic, the nature of those intentions seemed harsh to me.