I've had this series recommended to me by several people, a friend of mine who's recommended a lot of my now-favorite books, a review by Darla D from Books and Other Thoughts (who also recommends a lot of books I end up loving), and several other people I can't remember. It took me a while to get around to reading it, but I loved it when I did!
Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things is a kids' graphic novel. It has a classic plot--girl moves to creepy old uncle's house and creepy stuff happens--but this is a model example of Tropes Are Not Bad.
There are three main things that keep this book amazing:
A) It knows its tropes, loves them, and uses them well. This is the kind of story kids like.
B) It's funny, in a biting way. It's SMART humor. The characters and dialoge are just off-beat enough to make everything seem shiny and new.
C) It's a graphic novel with gorgeous, quirky, dark art that sets the mood and lets us create a little more of the story in our own heads while giving us something pretty to look at. I love fantasy art in general, and this art adds humor to dark scenes and a sense of creepy to the funny scenes.
I will warn that the characters are not paragons, and this is not a morality play. The characters are good, but they aren't above being vindictive and conniving. It's a little creepy sometimes because it's unexpected, but it's realistic and would promote discussion.
I highly recommend this series to kids (of all ages ;) ) who like this sort of quirky fantasy/gothic horror trend that's happening right now in fiction. Fans of Lemony Snicket, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Skulduggery Pleasant, Zorgamazoo, that whole vein.
Buy Courtney Crumrin & The Night Things