Sometimes you come across a book that just works. You had no real preconceptions. No-one had thrust it in your hand, telling you it was ‘the best book ever.’ You just picked it up, devoured it and loved it. This is one of those books.
Written by the infamous Neil Gaimon, The graveyard book is a YA/ Teenage fantasy book published in 2009. In hindsight I probably should have realised just how incredible it would be, winning the Carnegie Prize in 2010 (amongst a multitude of others) and being simultaneously shortlisted for the Greenaway for Chris Riddell’s illustrations. Having read and enjoyed Gaimon’s The ocean at the end of the lane a few years ago, I was happy to give it a go.
At the beginning of the story, a toddler narrowly escapes a killer- the man, Jack- who has already successfully murdered the rest of his family. Finding refuge in a local graveyard, and being adopted by the mysterious Silas and a multitude of ghosts, Nobody ‘Bod’ Owens grows up with the Freedom of the Graveyard, having adventures along the way. But who is the man, Jack? And what does he want with Bod?
Wow. Nothing I can say will give justice to just how much I love this book. I loved the dark undertones that run throughout; nothing is creepier than the formidable Jack, or what he stands for (apart from maybe the ghouls…). I also loved the multitude of characters- alive and dead- who helped to shape Bod. The end genuinely brought a tear to my eye. Funny, sad, disturbing and deeply, deeply touching. I read it in one sitting. Perfection.