The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
As I mentioned in a previous post, I had fallen in love with Neil Gaiman's children books after a friend so thoughtfully sent me a copy of Blueberry Girl after the birth of Lorelai. The book was honest and empowering, and it has since become my go-to gift for friends having daughters.I also follow Gaiman religiously on Twitter, but hadn't yet had the opportunity to read his books available to older age groups. While at my local indie, I purchased The Graveyard Book as a way to truly start my Gaiman journey.
The magic with which Gaiman writes is never condescending to a younger audience. He doesn't avoid the scary topics because he knows his target readers are school age. It's the same respect he shows kids in his children's books. He does not dumb down his stories or characters to pander to a younger audience. Nobody Owens found a family when his family was taken from him at such a young age. Unlike conventional stories of this nature, the cemetery was a place of refuge and sanctuary- not of terror. The horrors in this tale lurked outside of the cemetery gates... in the place that we live our every day lives. We avoid graveyards, but the real dangers are not ghosts but man. Synopsis: In this Newbery Medal-winning novel, Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place—he's the only living resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians' time as well as their ghostly teachings—such as the ability to Fade so mere mortals cannot see him.
Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds of both the living and the dead? And then there are being such as ghouls that aren't really one thing or the other. The Graveyard Book won the Newbery Medal and the Carnegie Medal and is a Hugo Award Winner for Best Novel.