Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Dave McKean
On the night that his family is murdered, an eighteen-month old baby escapes to a nearby cemetery. Mr. and Mrs. Owens, who never had a baby of their own, take the child in and raise him with the help of a pallid night-stalking guardian named Silas. The baby is named "Nobody" or "Bod" for short. In the cemetery Bod is safe and is given the Freedom of the Graveyard, which allows him some of the abilities of the ghosts, like fading, opening ghoul gates, and seeing in the dark. As Bod approaches manhood, the secret society that murdered his "other" family looks for him, and when they discover his hiding place, he must defend his home and his life. With the help of the supernaturals in the graveyard he proves that no one can escape destiny and that he is ready for a life full of living.
This well-written story is a pleasure to read. The characters are a lovable mixture of common sense and absurdity, virtue and fallibility, and real emotions in insubstantial frames. Mr. and Mrs. Owens, Bod's ghostly parents, love him and are committed to raising him with the wisdom of their age. His guardian, Silas, has the wisdom of hundreds of years of un-living to share with his young and inquisitive charge. These characters give a twist to a traditional family that emphasizes what a family really is in a very heartwarming way. Bod is both noble and selfish, daring and afraid, quite mature and immature, all at the same time. In short, he is a genuine, living, growing boy with faults that make him very relatable. Bod's adventures are fun and revealing, and while the plot could use some "fleshing" out, the overall story is a gripping tale of a boy journeying through childhood.
*Contains mild violence