Friday, January 15, 2010

Book Review: The Graveyard Book


As part of the Chain Reading Challenge and the Young Adult Reading Challenge, I've been extremely busy catching up with all kinds of great YA reads that I've sort of put off. Every time I read a book that has been sitting on my To Be Read shelf, I wonder why it took me so long to read such great stuff. I guess that I have all kinds of biases against books. Here's why I think it took me way too long to read Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book:

1. It won the Newbery Medal. I used to look for Newbery winners when I was in grade school. Not so much anymore that I've moved on to reading YA Lot. But, this read is definitely a great YA pick. I mean, it starts with three murders by a serial killer. That's YA for sure!

2. The cover is ugly. I'm sorry. It is. But I loved the drawings included in the text and wished there were more. Go figure!

3. The description of the book on the inside cover is pretty lame. There's way more interesting stuff that happens in this book than the inside cover would lead me to believe. I don't know why, but I was not 'hooked' by the short description. Maybe I'll write a new one. Hm.

So there's why it took me several months to pick up this title. Here's what I loved about it once I finally read it:

1. It was magical. But it was creepy, too. It was kinda like watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Fun and cool at first glance, but really dark and deep and crazy the more that you think about it. I like that sorta stuff.

2. I loved the cast. The main character, Nobody Owens, grows up in a graveyard filled with kind, funny, silly, loving spooks. They aren't alive anymore, but they are a funny little community and love Bod (Nobody's nickname) to death. Pun. Ha! Seriously, some of their little spats and gatherings made me realize that I had better choose my grave plot carefully. I don't want to spend eternity with a bunch of crazies!

3. It was suspenseful and all questions weren't fully answered. I like it when a book leaves off in a way that lets me create my own ending. I don't really like it when all of the loose ends are tied up so completely that there's no room for my input into the character's future. I've had a good time imaging what becomes of Bod and some of the other characters.

So, I read this book because it had been staring at me from my To Be Read shelf for many months. With this read, I have relieved myself of some serious not-yet-read book guilt and I've continued my chain in the Chain Reading Challenge. I'll explain that connection in another post.

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