The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Bod is not your usual boy. For one, he lives in a graveyard. That's not all though. Bod was raised by the ghosts of the graveyard and he's learned a few, shall we say, tricks of the trade. Bod can walk through walls and he can fade into the background so that no one notices him. This trick comes in particularly handy because Bod is being hunted by the man who killed his parents.
The Graveyard Book is pure delight from start to finish. This is the first book that I've read by Gaiman and, after the first couple of pages, I knew that I was in the hands of a master storyteller. The graveyard where Bod lives came alive for me. I felt as if I was walking between the gravestones, seeing the ghosts for myself - motherly Mrs. Owens, mysterious Silas, and clever Liza. To me, the thing that was most indicative of Gaiman's mastery was the fact that this story is unabashedly scary. It's written for ages 10 and up. The world isn't always sunshine and playgrounds and Gaiman isn't afraid to give kids a darker reality. But if you're like me and can't sleep after watching a horror movie, fear not. This book if full of humor, loveable characters, and a top-notch ending for our brave, orphaned hero.
This book reminded me a lot of a favorite series of mine, Joseph Delaney's The Last Apprentice books. The Last Apprentice books are also dark and exciting, with the added bonus of having fabulous woodcut drawings at each chapter.
The Graveyard Book has been nominated for the 2008 Cybils Awards in the Science Fiction/Fantasy category.