The Ocean at the End of The Lane

Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: Harper Collinsocean
Date: 2013
Genre: Fantasy
ISBN: 9780062255655
Price: $25.99
Number of Pages: 178
Available Formats: Hardcover, paperback, E-Book, Audio

Rating Scale: 5Q, 4P

Links to Author’s Website and Interviews

Links to Reviews

Reader’s Annotation

One boy’s harrowing tale of friendship and sacrifice.

Plot Summary

The story begins with a man heading toward his childhood home after attending a funeral. Somehow, he finds himself going past his former home and winds up at the house at the end of the lane. He begins to remember that it was the home of a friend he had as a child named Lettie Hempstock. As he sits down by the lake, which he remembers Lettie called an ocean, he begins to remember the summer he spent with her.

Critical Evaluation

This is, hands down, one of my favorite books of the semester. It was masterfully written and has some of the most memorable scenes I’ve read in a while. Some of these scenes are genuinely creepy, and I love how the prose is so lyrical at times. The ambiguous ending may bother some readers, but to me it was perfect. This is a book I won’t forget soon. It has made me a fan of Neil Gaiman and I’m interested in reading more of his work.

At the recommendation of one of the students in our class, I decided to listen to the audiobook and I definitely have to agree with her. I had already read the book, but listening to Gaiman read the story brought a whole new level with my experience. Gaiman has a fantastic voice and it fit perfectly with this story. I also think I liked it so much because it was a shorter story. I think for me audio books are better in shorter bursts.

Appeal Factors

Bittersweet, lyrical, haunting


The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

Awards & Lists

Booklist Editors’ Choice – Adult Fiction for Young Adults: 2013

British Book Awards (the Nibbies): Book of the Year

Goodreads Choice Awards: 2013

Locus Awards: Fantasy Novel

School Library Journal’s Adult Books 4 Teens: 2013

Discussion Ideas

  • Discuss why the main character remains nameless throughout the entire book.
  • Discuss why the main character is drawn back to the Hempstock farm.

Justification of Selection

This was the fantasy group selection which I was extremely happy about. This has been on my reading list for a while after several recommendations from classmates. I had read Stardust a few years ago and had really liked it and this one sounded fascinating. This book was amazing and is probably in my top three favorite books that I have read this semester.


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