Casper-Inverted in “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman

Published: Sept. 18, 2008; HarperCollins
Buy it: Amazon Paperback ($6.60)
Shelve it: Goodreads

Casper was a boy ghost who lived with living people. Nobody Owens is a living boy who grew up with dead people.

Neil Gaiman opens the door to a story of intrigue, secrets, friendship (and its subsequent loss), and the paranormal in this novel that’s half-fantasy, half-slice-of-life.

In The Graveyard Book, one silent evening, a couple is murdered in their home by “the man Jack”. Their toddler escapes the same gruesome fate by crawling out of the house and up a hill where a graveyard is located.

He is raised by the Owens couple, two doting ghost-parents, who call him Nobody because “he looks like nobody except himself”. He grows up among otherworldly beings and even learns their skills (Fading, Haunting, and Dream Walking). Things start to perk up in Bod’s life when he befriends a girl, Scarlett Perkins.

He learns how different he is from other children his age and discovers many secrets of the underworld in the graveyard while the man Jack continues to hunt for him. Bod grows up in the cemetery while learning that his parent’s death was not random and that his unassuming human tutor and the caretaker might not even be human at all.

Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book is more than just a children’s fantasy book. It deals realistically with friendship in an unusual situation and how nothing is random or mundane in this world. Each chapter in Bod’s life will leave you turning the pages well into the next sunrise, and even after the last word has been read.

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