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One of the Best: Doll Bones by Holly Black

Happy Sunday everyone!

Writing reviews when I truly enjoyed/loved a book can either be difficult (fear of too much gushing) or really easy (the love just flows). Writing my review for Doll Bones by Holly Black was incredibly easy. This book is that good.

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Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining Doll Bones by Holly Blacka magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity.

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If you asked me for one of the best titles to introduce you to middle grades fiction, Dolly Bones would be the book I pressed into your hands. Everything about this book is well done. This is quality middle grades fiction right here people!

As I look back on some of the best middle grades books I’ve read (and coming of age tales in general) I’m noticing a major commonality between them; that perfect yet strange mix of realism and fantasy mixed together (think the Sandlot with “the beast” for example). When a book succeeds at weaving both the realistic and fantastic together what you get is a blindingly beautiful portrayal of that preadolescence stage in life where you’re stuck in limbo between childhood and the teen years. The characters, Zach, Poppy and Alice are each exploring (in different ways) their new teenage interests, yet are still clinging to the comforts of childhood, like imagining and playing games. This struggle is exemplified so flawlessly well on the cover. I love how this cover sets the stage for a coming of age story (yes the kids are on a physical and emotional journey) set in and spurred on, by the atmosphere of a ghost story.

Another major factor in this whole coming of age theme is realizing that adults, specifically your parents, are human being with flaws. We see this primarily in the strained relationship between Zach and his father. Because it hurts so much to realize that his dad isn’t perfect Zach longs for the days when his father wasn’t there; its easier to ignore him than face the truth. When in reality this often painful father/son relationship is caused by a hurt man doing the best he knows how with a son he doesn’t quite understand. There is just so much truthful emotion going on here!

There are some slightly creepy goings on in Doll Bones, but it is completely appropriate for middle grade readers and up (perhaps even a mature fifth grader) who crave a good adventure tale. The audiobook would make for a good family listen as well, so if you haven’t read Doll Bones yet, please get it added to your (or your reader’s) TBR stack; you wont be disappointed.

Author: Holly Black

Publisher:  Margaret K. McElderry Books (May 7, 2013)

Format: Audiobook (Listening Library)

Length: 5 hours and 15 minutes

Narrator(s): Nick Podehl

Series: Standalone

YA/MG: MG

Buy the Book:

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Shadow Cabinet

Hi!

I honestly can’t believe I haven’t posted about The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson, and how much I want it to be released already!!

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The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen JohnsonAt the end of Maureen Johnson’s New York Times bestselling novel, The Madness Underneath, Rory, Callum and Boo are reeling from the sudden and tragic death of their friend and squad leader, Stephen. The Shadow Cabinet picks up where readers left off, and now Rory is convinced there must be a way to bring Stephen back. Meanwhile, new dangers arise: Rory’s classmate Charlotte is missing, and Jane and her nefarious organization are clearly planning something big—with Rory as their most valuable asset. Time is running out as the ghost squad struggles to protect London and Rory fights to bring Stephen back.

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The Shades of London series is one of my favorite unfinished series out there right now! I’m not normally drawn to creepy reads, but these books combine the right amount of creep with humor, history, romance, and suspense. To make it even better, all of this fun stuff is placed smack dab in the middle of a boarding school in LONDON. YES!!!

According to Goodreads, The Shadow Cabinet isn’t scheduled to release until March 2015. So, we have a bit to wait don’t we?!

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Complex Relationships: Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper

Hello friends!

It’s always nice when a book pleasantly surprises you. I didn’t go into reading Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper expecting to enjoy it as much as I did.

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On the winter day Little Hawk is sent into the woods alone, he can take only a bow and arrows, his handcrafted tomahawk, and the amazing metal knife his father Ghost Hawk by Susan Coopertraded for with the new white settlers. If Little Hawk survives three moons by himself, he will be a man.

John Wakely is only ten when his father dies, but he has already experienced the warmth and friendship of the nearby tribes. Yet his fellow colonists aren’t as accepting of the native people. When he is apprenticed to a barrel-maker, John sees how quickly the relationships between settlers and natives are deteriorating. His friendship with Little Hawk will put both boys in grave danger.

The intertwining stories of Little Hawk and John Wakely are a fascinating tale of friendship and an eye-opening look at the history of our nation. Newbery Medalist Susan Cooper also includes a timeline and an author’s note that discusses the historical context of this important and moving novel.

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I started Ghost Hawk, expecting to be underwhelmed, but quickly realized that I was turning page after page to find out what would happen next. I was completely riveted to this story of an unlikely friendship between two boys from vastly different worlds. Woven between this story of friendship is the turbulent history between colonial New Englanders and the Native Americans of the region detailing one of those difficult and change ridden era in American history. The complexity of the relationship between these two wildly distinct cultures is handled well here. Cooper doesn’t over simplify the overlapping layers of mistrust and kindness, but it is also written appropriately for middle grade readers to grasp to basic themes.

However, I do wonder if this is truly a book geared towards middle grades readers. It is already a struggle to get my students to pick up a historical fiction title, and there is at times a slowness to the story (that isn’t a negative thing just an observation). Due to the sometimes complex themes, I don’t know if any of my students would enjoy and completely understand the whole story and context of Ghost Hawk while reading it independently. I feel like it would be best read, and enjoyed, in a guided group setting (for middle school readers at least) so that they can discuss the story and it’s depth with other readers.

When I read other online reviews of this story, most people complained that they lost interest once the narration switches primarily to John’s life, instead of Little Hawk’s. It seems that people thought the pacing slowed done and the story just kind of plodded along, but I totally disagree. Maybe it’s because of my own preferences with regards to historic events, but I enjoyed reading about the Puritans and John’s experience so much more and this book became more interesting to me as it progressed. I was especially intrigued by the “rebel” Puritan and his breakaway colony, so much so that I’ve spent some extra time researching a little more about it.

In the end Ghost Hawk is a hauntingly beautiful story of friendship and tolerance of those who are different than ourselves. These themes are as important for adults to be reminded of as well as younger readers, so I think that readers of all ages (who enjoy historical fiction) will get something out of this book.

Author: Susan Cooper

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (August 27, 2013)

Format: Hardcover

Length: 336 pages

Series: Standalone

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book:

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Creepy Chills and Gatsby: The Diviners by Libba Bray

Hi!

For as long as I can remember I’ve been interested in the Roaring 20s. My mom bought a history of fashion books when I was a little kid and I remember paging through it and always stopping on the 1920s fashion plates. I begged my mom to let me be a flapper for Halloween in 6th grade (I was an age appropriate flapper), and anytime there is a costume party, the 20s flapper is one of my go-to dress up eras!

Although I had head that it was pretty creepy, once I realized that The Diviners by Libba Bray was set in New York in 1926, I knew I wanted to read it.

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Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the oThe Diviners by Libba Brayccult. Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

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Libba Bray rocks my socks off. Her Gemma Doyle trilogy (set in Victorian England) is one of my favorite YA series ever and she definitely didn’t disappoint me with The Diviners! One of the best things about The Diviners is the setting. Evie’s story is set smack dab in the middle of New York City at the height of the Roaring Twenties, a decade that was made for excitement, drama, pleasure, and parties. Spiritualism was quite the trend at the time so what better place to set your paranormal thriller than in this era of heightened experiences? Bray delves so deep into the period that the story just drips with flappers and jazz!  Everything from the catch phrases to fashion and dancing, and as the history nerd I am I really enjoyed seeing tidbits of other social issues like prohibition, eugenics, and cultism in response to society’s loosening structure….it’s all there!

Our main character Evie, is the 1920s personified. Evie is your small town girl searching for love, life, and excitement in the big city. I just love her! Yes, she is annoyingly rebellious, stubborn and overly ready to get her way, but she is also endearing and loyal and all around fun! Sometimes she creates drama where drama needn’t be…like in a creepy basement where murders may or may not have happened, but in the end Evie is a girl who wants to feel everything and is constantly seeking ways to make life even the teensiest bit more intoxicating. She’s definitely the kind of girl you want in your group of friends because life is always interesting with Evie! The supporting characters are all really engaging as well, especially Memphis and Theta! I assume we’ll get even more of them as the series progresses, which is good because there is some weird stuff going on with this group of friends!

The Diviners is super long (550+ pages) but is so well paced you just can’t stop reading (or listening in my case) and I never once felt like the story was dragging in any way. Yes, there is the fun flapper aspect to the story, but with Naughty John, The Diviners is also a dark, frightening paranormal thriller complete with the occult, ritualistic killings, and characters who have mysterious supernatural gifts. This story definitely has enough creep factor to make you keep all the lights on at night!

For those of you (eighth grade and up) who enjoy paranormal thrillers and want a book that will give you chills while also make you want to throw a Gatsby themed party, The Diviners is absolutley, pos-i-tute-ly a must. One warning though, it will leave you wanting so much more! Since this is the first in a series there are tons of unanswered questions and plot points that have yet to fully unravel! I can’t wait for Lair of Dreams!

Author: Libba Bray

Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (September 18, 2012)

Format: Audiobook (Listening Library)

Length: 18 hours and 14 minutes

Narrator(s): January LaVoy

Series: First in the Diviners series

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book:

 

 

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When It’s a Struggle: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Hi there everyone!

You know how you read the first book in a series, love it and crave the next book. Sometimes you get that second book and it’s awesome. You enjoyed it just as much as the first. And then sometimes you The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvaterget to the next book and find that you’re struggling a bit. It’s just not what you were hoping for.  It’s a bit of a let down, really.

Well folks, that is what happened to me recently with The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. This is the second book on her Raven Cycle series and I found myself having a difficult time getting through it.

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

When The Raven Boys first came out I was hesitant at first because I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but then I read the book and I ended up loving Stiefvater’s unique take on the paranormal genre. It was a really enthralling read! So, naturally you’d expect me to be excited about book two, which I totally was. However, when I started reading The Dream Thieves I just couldn’t get into it. I’d read like five pages, then pick up my phone.  I’d spend two minutes reading and ask my husband a question. Distraction over distraction just kept coming up and in the end it took me about two months to actually finish this book! Was it me or the story itself? I don’t know for sure, perhaps it was a mix of the two? All I knew was that something was wrong!

In the end I think I was just bored. It seemed like the luster of Stiefvater’s creative paranormal story kind of became dull. By book two, the qualities that originally made the story unique just became a little ho-hum. So much of the story focused on Ronan trying to figure out his dreams, which don’t get me wrong are really cool, but it felt like the story just ran really, really slow. It’s almost like nothing happened for a large portion of the book! I just wanted to know more about Blue and her “curse”, and Gansey’s search for Cabeswater, but all I got was Ronan’s moodiness on full blast. The only parts of the book that were really interesting to me were all the scenes with The Gray Man. He was mysterious and his scenes were always wrought with tension because he is so dangerous and I never knew if I could trust him or not. These were the pages I turned with anticipation, in contrast to all the others that left me feeling “blah”.

Is it possible that I just wasn’t in the mood for The Dream Thieves when I read it? Yes. Is it possible that this book just wasn’t as interesting as book one? Yes. I strongly believe both factors played a role in my struggle with this book. All in all I was disappointed with the whole experience, but I know that others absolutely adored this book, so if you really read The Raven Boys and enjoyed it, go ahead and give The Dream Thieves a try. Hopefully you’d finish it in less than the two months it took me! haha

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Scholastic Press (September 1, 2013)

Format: Kindle

Length: 439 pages

Series: Second book in The Raven Cycle series

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: The Dream Thieves (The Raven Boys #2) (Raven Cycle)

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Distrubing & Creepy, Yet Fun: Everlost by Neal Shusterman

Hi there and welcome back!

I recently listened to the audiobook of Everlost by Neal Shusterman.

Nick and Allie don’t survive the car accident but their souls don’t exactly get where they’re supposed to get either. Instead, they’re caught halfway between life and death, in aEverlost by Neal Shusterman sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no longer exist. It’s a magical, yet dangerous place where bands of lost children run wild and anyone who stands in the same place too long sinks to the center of the Earth.

When they find Mary, the self-proclaimed queen of lost kids, Nick feels like he he’s found a home, but Allie isn’t satisfied spending eternity between worlds. Against all warnings, Allie begins learning the “Criminal Art” of haunting, and ventures into dangerous territory, where a monster called the McGill threatens all the souls of Everlost.

I was so excited to hear that Neal Shusterman was going to be holding a reading and signing in Orlando earlier this fall! Young adult authors rarely visit Orlando so I went even though I’d never read any of his books. I left the event super excited to read his books!  My media center’s copy of Unwind was checked out (actually it still hasn’t been returned, but that’s a whole other story…) so I couldn’t read that one.  Some of my students recommended I picked up Everlost.

The premise of Everlost is incredibly intriguing. Two teens die in a car crash and end up in this purgatory-like world where they have to fend for themselves and solve the mysteries of Everlost. Shusterman is obviously a very creative storyteller and the world he has surrounded Nick and Allie in is disturbing and creepy, yet also fun which makes me think of Everlost is like a more sinister version of Peter Pan’s Neverland.

I did feel a little bored at times,  as there wasn’t much character development until pretty much the very end of the novel. In fact, I was pretty set on not reading the rest of the trilogy, until the ending. Now, I feel like I might possibly continue the books. Not necessarily because I wasn’t super connected to any characters, although  I like both Nick and Ally and was glad to see some change in them. I even liked the McGill, but what made me want to find out what happens in the end is Mary. I’m not a fan of Mary at all, which is actually how I think I was supposed to feel, but I do want to know if and or how she is defeated!

This was an interesting read, and my students (especially my boys) really like it a lot. The audiobook narrator was pretty good, but I wasn’t a fan of all of his voices all the time. I admit that I didn’t LOVE this book, but it was entertaining and I think that middle school readers who are looking for a different sort of story that’s kind of a mix between fantasy, sci-fi, and supernatural fiction will enjoy Everlost!

Author: Neal Shusterman

Publisher: Brilliance Audio (January 20, 2009)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 8 hours and 1 minute

Narrator(s): Nick Podehl

Series: First in the Skinjacker series

YA/MG: MG

Buy the Book: Everlost (The Skinjacker Trilogy)

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Archived

Hi there!

Waiting on Wednesday (hosted by Breaking the Spine) is a weekly meme where I  get to share an upcoming title that I’m waiting on to be released. This week I’m interested in The Archived by Victoria Schwab.The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive. Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous – it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

This book has been incredibly popular on book blogs for a while now. It seems everyone is eagerly anticipating it! I’m really fond of the idea of librarians having special powers or abilities that no one else does. I think its pretty close to reality and it sounds like Victoria Schwab is a fan of librarians!

The Archived is scheduled to be released next week January 22 so we don’t have long to wait.

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Majorly Creepy In a Fun Way: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Hi there!

Sometimes there are books that intrigue you so much you push past your fear of it being super creepy and read it anyway.  Well, that’s how I felt about Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star, but I read it anyway and in the end I LOVED IT!

The Name of the Star by Maureen JohnsonThe day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.
Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

Like I said earlier, I really, really loved this book despite being hesitant to read it. Honestly I was totally surprised at how much I was enjoying it while I was reading it.  Yes, it was majorly creepy at times; in fact there was one scene in particular that had me closing my blinds earlier than usual!

Part of the reason I liked The Name of the Star as much as I did, was because  my husband and I had just gotten back from a trip to London (first time ever!).  I was especially excited to listen to the descriptions of a city I had literally just visited a few weeks before. Johnson’s description of the London Underground was spot on and had me replaying descriptions for my husband as well! And as always, a boarding school book never lets me down. I don’t know what it is but stories where the main character is away at boarding school are always so much more fun than regular school!

I really connected with Rory, the main character.  She was witty and eccentric and sincerely kind – the type of person I’d like to be friends with. Plus she is from the south and living in Florida I totally understood her story about the alligator moving towards her!

Historical fiction is a genre I really like and Johnson’s mix of the paranormal plus historical fiction was wonderful. The myth surrounding Jack the Ripper, such a mysterious and fascinating character, is not something I knew a lot about before reading The Name of the Star. The book prompted me to look up more information online, which was equally fun and terrifying!

I listened to The Name of the Star on audiobook and strongly recommend it to those of you on the hunt for a good one. The narrator Nicola Barber was one of the best I’ve heard in a while, so I plan to look for others read by her. All in all, go ahead and read this one, it is a mysterious and creepy young adult thriller, but in a fun way!

Author: Maureen Johnson

Publisher: Brilliance Audio (September 29, 2011)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 9 hrs and 50 mins

Narrator(s): Nicola Barber

Series: First in The Shades of London series

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book: The Name of the Star (The Shades of London)

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Seductive Sirens: Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Southern Book Bloggers ARC ToursHello!

I was lucky enough to read Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama as part of the Southern Book Bloggers ARC Tour. (THANK YOU!)

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth FamaFierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.

Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.

I have to start by clarifying that Monstrous Beauty was my second venture into mermaid fiction and I found it absolutely mesmerizing!  It was so incredibly different from the first mermaid book I’ve read (Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs).  Where as Forgive My Fins was a light-hearted teen romance, Monstrous Beauty was a dark and foreboding mystery.

Fama weaves together a story rich in historical fiction and fantasy.  The story is set in both historical and modern-day Plymouth, Massachusetts.  The town is almost a character in and of itself and acts as a means of connecting Hester and Syrenka’s narratives to one another. Siren mythology isn’t one you hear much about, so I think the historical setting of Monstrous Beauty works well with the story of mythical sea creatures.

Let’s talk about these mermaids for a second.  They’re not fun frolicking Ariel type mermaids. No.  They’re actually dangerous beauties with fins sharp as knives and razor teeth. I like this more traditional approach to the siren mythology which details seductive sirens luring unsuspecting men to their watery deaths. It’s just so intriguing and yet Fama makes you question the truth behind the myths.

Each chapter switches from Hester to Ezra and Syrenka’s perspective which I loved because both stories were so intriguing. I really felt connected to Hester (despite her unfortunate name) because of her love for history. I was a history major in college and I’ve always wanted to work as a historical interpreter at a historical site like she does! My husband knows he’s taking a gamble if we ever visit Colonial Williamsburg…I might end up in costume and he’ll never get me home!

Now, I will say that I did guess the truth to the mystery surrounding Hester’s family way before I think I was supposed to, but this didn’t hinder my interest in the story in any way. There is one pretty graphic scene, that would make me hesitate to recommend Monstrous Beauty to middle grades readers. All in all, I think readers who are high school aged and older will really enjoy this magical mix of fantasy and history.

Author: Elizabeth Fama

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (September 4, 2012)

Format: ARC, paperback

Length: 295 pages

Series: Standalone

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book: Monstrous Beauty

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Mixing the Innocent and the Grisly: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Well hi there!
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman was the eleventh of the fifteen Florida Sunshine State books I’ve read this summer.

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaimanresidents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family.

I have heard so many good things about this book. After all, it has won tons of awards, so I had very high expectations. To be honest though, I did enjoy the book a lot, but I don’t know if I thought it was as amazing as I expected it to be. Overall, I felt it was pretty slow at times.  Normally a slow start doesn’t turn me off since I like to think I have a good attention span and can push through  slow-moving books, but this one was a bit of a struggle to get through. I wonder how my students will respond to The Graveyard Book if I thought it was slow.

Each chapter is written as a vignette spotlighting a different event in Bod’s life. I liked this way of telling the story of Bod’s experiences and coming of age, as each event has an impact on Bod that will, end the end, him save himself and his friends.

I must mention the illustrations. I completely loved them! I really like it when non picture books use illustrations especially if they’re not overdone and adds to the atmosphere of the story. The drawings in The Graveyard Book are so simple and sweet and creepy all at once – making the mix of the innocent and the grisly that much more palpable.

All in all, although The Graveyard Book wasn’t my favorite of the Sunshine State Books, I did enjoy it and think that others will as well (obviously since it won so many awards!).  Anyone looking for a fantasy mixed with ghost story and coming of age story should give this one a try!

Author: Neil Gaiman

Publisher:  Harper Collins (September 30, 2008)

Format: Hardcover

Length: 320 pages

Series: standalone

YA/MG: MG

Buy the Book:  The Graveyard Book