Debra Dudek
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Adolescent existence and resistance
Graveyards as a Gothic chronotope in twenty-first-century fiction for young people
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As the twentieth century ended and the twenty-first began, young adult (YA) television series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003) and The Vampire Diaries (2009–17) featured graveyards as a space for temporary contemplation. With the publication of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book (2008), the graveyard came to the foreground as a place of safety and belonging for young people. Since The Graveyard Book, graveyards have become agential sites. Young people live in graveyards or adjacent to them, pets are resurrected, and humans work together with the undead to seek justice for wrongdoings. In each case, graveyards are a chronotope for adolescent liminality – that space and time between childhood and adulthood. Although graveyards appear in many texts for young people, their significance has not been the focus of much academic scholarship beyond attention to Gaiman's novel. In this chapter, I focus my analysis on a selection of texts published between 2017 and 2021 in which graveyards are implicit sites of being: Graveyard Shakes; The Graveyard Riddle; Death and Douglas; The Graveyard Girl and the Boneyard Boy; and Cemetery Boys. Each text features a graveyard or cemetery as a Gothic chronotope, a space the young protagonists occupy to negotiate and fortify their sense of self. These graveyard narratives represent graveyards and adolescence as liminal locale and, as I contend, a space and time for young people to express and develop their being in an ontological exchange with an Other.

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