The Lovely Bones is a 2002 novel by Alice Sebold. It is the story of a teenage girl who, after being raped and murdered, watches from her personal Heaven as her family and friends struggle to move on with their lives while she comes to terms with her own death. The novel received much critical praise and became an instant bestseller. A film adaptation, directed by Peter Jackson who personally purchased the rights, was released in 2009.
The novel's title is taken from a quotation at the story's conclusion, when Susie ponders her friends' and family's newfound strength after her death:
These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections—sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent—that happened after I was gone. And I began to see things in a way that let me hold the world without me in it. The events my death brought were merely the bones of a body that would become whole at some unpredictable time in the future. The price of what I came to see as this miraculous body had been my life.