Book Review: Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Gaiman, Neil. Coraline. New York, HarperCollins, 2002.
Published Review: From School Library Journal
When Coraline and her parents move into a new house, she notices a mysterious, closed-off door. It originally went to another part of the house, which her family does not own. Some rather eccentric neighbors call her Caroline and seem not to understand her very well, yet they have information for her that will later prove vital. Bored, she investigates the door, which takes her into an alternate reality. There she meets her “other” mother and father. They are very nice to her, which pleases Coraline but also makes her a little suspicious. Her neighbors are in this other world, and they are the same, yet somehow different. When Coraline gets nervous and returns home, her parents are gone. With the help of a talking cat, she figures out that they are being held prisoner by her other parents, as are the souls of some long-lost children. Coraline’s plan to rescue them involves, among other things, making a risky bargain with her other mother whose true nature is beginning to show. The rest of the story is a suspense-filled roller coaster, and the horror is all the more frightening for being slightly understated. A droll humor is present in some of the scenes, and the writing is simple yet laden with foreboding. The story is odd, strange, even slightly bizarre, but kids will hang on every word. Coraline is a character with whom they will surely identify, and they will love being frightened out of their shoes. This is just right for all those requests for a scary book.
Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
– Source for choosing this book: Booklist
– Grades 6-8
– Related Book: Dunkle, Clare B. By These Ten Bones. New York, Holt, 2005. Both stories contain supernatural and scary elements and focus on a young female main character who must overcome the odds in order to save everyone else. Source for Related book: Booklist.