The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.
Only it's different.
At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there's another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.
Other children are trapped there as well, lost souls behind the mirrors. Coraline is their only hope of rescue. She will have to fight with all her wits and all the tools she can find if she is to save the lost children, her ordinary life, and herself.
Critically acclaimed and award-winning author Neil Gaiman will delight readers with his first novel for all ages.
Turn the Key
There once was a young girl named Coraline who moved into a new flat with her mother and father. The neighbors are friendly, if not a bit odd and a bit confused, repeatedly calling her "Caroline" by mistake. The little girl is a self-proclaimed explorer, taking walks around the neighborhood no matter what the weather. With both of her parents occupied by work, she counts the doors at home, and figures out how to open up a door which is supposed to open up to nowhere - more specifically, a brick wall...
Coraline's curious nature is akin to that of Alice (in Wonderland), Anne (of Green Gables) and other historical young heroines. Far from being a damsel in distress, Coraline is witty, intelligent and aware. Her 'White Rabbit' comes in the shape of a black cat who has no name; as he wryly explains to her, cats know who they are so they don't need names, unlike insecure human beings.
"Coraline" is a fantastic read for all ages, genders and critters. This is a book to read late at night when huddled under the covers with a flashlight. The gothic feel of this book will please long-time Neil Gaiman fans as well as fans of classic dark fairy tales.
A terrifyingly beautiful story
When I turned the last page of this book, I had a sudden and overwhelming urge to turn back to the very first page and start it all over again. Coraline is a magical journey. A scary, dark, and creepy journey.
Coraline and her parents have just moved into a new flat. Coraline (and heaven forbid, don't call her Caroline) is often left to her own devices, since her parents are busy doing their own thing. This doesn't generally bother her, because Coraline is an explorer.
She meets all the neighbors, explores the yard and the deep, dark well, and generally wanders around looking quizzically at the world from bright eyes.
Her exploring takes her one day to the one door in the house that goes nowhere. At least, it normally does (it used to lead into the next flat, but was bricked off). Today, it leads into a strange double world with Coraline's "other mother" and "other father," both of whom have black buttons instead of eyes and want to do nothing but spend time with her.
It's a creepy, spooky world on the other side and soon Coraline is in a battle with the beldam (this is what the other children call the "other mother" -- a beldam also means crone, hag or witch) to win back her real parents and the freedom of the children's souls that were trapped and killed before her.
If it weren't for Coraline's matter-of-fact, childlike manner, the reader might hide themselves quivering in the closet while reading this book. But she's a brave girl, as she likes to tell herself, and we readers must also be brave. In the end, her wits and courage (and a cat) triumph.
Coraline is a wonderful book full of evocative imagery and unexpected turns. It's one book that I will always keep a copy of on my shelf.
For more on the book, see the author's official site for it at: www.mousecircus.com.
A deliciously creepy novel
I still can’t believe that a novel such as Coraline is marketed and written for children. I was, frankly, terrified all the way through my reading experience, and yet unable to put the novel down.
When Coraline moves into a new house with her inattentive parents, she is intrigued by the locked door in the drawing room, but when it is opened, the door reveals a bricked up wall. Later, a mysterious passageway appears and Coraline crawls through it only to discover a house exactly the same as her own. In this alternate world, Coraline meets her “other” parents who treat her the way she has always wished to be treated – even if they are a little frightening with black button eyes. When Coraline discovers that her “other” parents want to keep her, she is drawn into a terrifying game against her “other” mother: she must rescue her missing parents and free three trapped souls, before the “other” mother claims her forever.
Gaiman’s novel is perhaps the most intense children’s novel I have ever read. The story is quite elementary, and yet the plot never diminishes. If anything, the novel’s short length and fast pacing enhances the book, as the tension is quietly subtle and not annoyingly excessive. The result is a chilling story about a little girl who must outsmart a formidable and calculable evil in order to save her parents.
Coraline is an inspiring character. She is this small and savage adventurer, who is as tough as nails but still a darling who you can’t help but cheer on. She is very capable and a great role model for children as she stands up to a bully, despite her fear.
The “other” mother was a disturbing villain. I am that type of reader that supports the bad guy and roots for them to come out the victor. This is probably the first instance where I wanted the villain to be defeated and the hero to prevail. I watched the 2009 movie immediately after finishing the novel, and was thoroughly impressed by the film’s portrayal of the “other” mother and her nightmarish hand. The “other” mother’s character was very true to the book.
Neil Gaiman’s novels are so frightening because he takes the mundane and reconstructs it: the result leaves the reader feeling disturbed and horrified, and yet unable to explain why they feel that way. When you break it down, there is nothing particularly frightening about buttons, a well, red nails on a hand, dogs, or marbles. And yet Gaiman’s unique twist on these ordinary objects transforms them into something creepy and almost macabre.
The writing is in tune with the novel and the protagonist. Gaiman’s frank descriptions allowed the text and the pace to flow naturally. While the writing is simple in its explanations of “This happened and then this happened and then this happened,” it worked perfectly for this particular novel as it allowed the reader focus completely on the story instead of flowery prose. The novel is a very quick read and can easily be read in one sitting.
Coraline is a deliciously strange novel that absorbs the reader into a horrifying alternate reality that you cannot put down. Whoever said this novel is for children is a damn liar.
Just wasn't my thing
I kept hearing how amazing this book was from everyone I know (who had read it.) and I am sad to say, I didn't like it. It was okay but... oh my gosh, I can't believe I am going to say this, but the movie was better.
I think the way the book was written just gave me a headache. Examples
"They made Coraline feel uncomfortable. Then Coraline dreamed a few commercials[...]"
"Coraline" and "she" was repeated so much... it made me want to scream.
I feel like this story was told in total monotone. I didn't see any excitement, everything was just flat to me.
I'm sorry, I just didn't enjoy this book. Even though the story was quite interesting, I just couldn't see what all the hype is about.
Coraline is an easy and engaging read, full of strange surprises and haunting imagery. Neil Gaiman's best work.
"Cats don't have names," it said.
"No?" said Coraline.
"No," said the cat. "Now, you people have names. That's because you don't know who you are. We know who we are, so we don't need names."
I am a huge Neil Gaiman fan, and Coraline is my favorite of his!
When I was teaching 7th graders, we would read this during Halloween just as a fun-time book. The kids loved it--and they especially loved acting out the parts with the rats.
This is a great book for a kid who wants something a bit creepy, but not so much so that they will want to crawl into bed with you in the middle of the night. The rats singing, "we are small but we are many..." is terrifying and full of great imagery! I can just see it being performed live as a stop-motion type of performance.
This is a quick and fun read, and I think many kids will find it chilling and enjoyable.
Reader reviewed by Nikki (sng2098)
Coraline is suppose to be a children's book, however I wouldn't classify it as a childrens book.
Coraline is a little girl that is alwasy getting called "Caroline" by the people she lives around. Her family moves to a big house that has been turned into four different appartments. In the basement two old actresses live, and in the attic is a man who is claiming to train mice to be circus preformers.
One day when Coraline is exploring she find a door that is locked, when she ask her mother about she says it goes to the other loft that no one lives in. But Coraline is presistant so her mother gives her the key to explore. At first she finds the door is blocked up with bricks, then she goes to bed and the door opens and reveals a long hallway.
Little does she know what's at the end could change the rest of her life.
Coraline is a children's horror story, however I do think it is a little to much for children. The drawings are really good, they are what I pictured the characters to be. The only thing I had is that there were parts where they sounded, especially Coraline, talked like she was English or something. I think the setting should have been more clear, but this was a good book!
Some doors should never be open
Reader reviewed by Jamie
This was an exciting ,thrilling and creepy adventure ! Coraline moved into a creepy old house and she's bored but there's a catch there was this one room in the house that was locked this is where the adventure begins ! Coraline was fed up with reality and when she went to the other side it seemed nice there she had delicious meals her other parents (they had buttons for eyes)whom she met on her first vist gave her toys presents and treats the neighbours were better. Other parents wanted her to stay with them and be their little girl forever.
Singing mice and people with buttons with eyes.....what fun!
Reader reviewed by Chaellee
Despite I am always aware of the age group a book I pick, it never ceases to annoy me when there isn't any substance to a book. That's probably the only complaint I have about this book. I first saw this book in my teacher's book cart when I was in 3rd grade, and boy did it freak me out. I read it for the first time, now an 8th grader, not 3 weeks ago. I had already seen the movie, and so I was intrigued.
After reading, I wish I could have read it when I was younger. The frightening characters, while childish to the older crowd, will definetly scare younger readers.
Final line-Fun, Spooky for youngsters, 4/5
Explore the world(s) of Coraline Jones. . .
Reader reviewed by Crimin
Coraline Jones is an explorer, shipped off to a new place with lots of stuff to find and even more stuff that is hidden. For instance, theres a pair of actresses who live on the ground flat who tell Coraline tales of their stage-life, while their canine-companions . And above, theres an old man - one Mr. Bobo - who has a circus instrument-playing mice. Its all quite fascinating - but Coraline isnt at all happy with the chilly summer days and the blankets of gray mist. Lucky for her, her other mother has just opened up the door to a new realm - a place that Coraline can explore to her hearts content.
Neil Gaiman is a new author for me to read - Ive heard of some of his books, such as The Graveyard Book (which I want to read) - and I really only picked up Coraline because I saw its movie counterpart and loved every haunting moment.
Now, keep in mind - Coraline is a childrens book, so the writing isnt as descriptive or as in depth as one might like, but its okay, buffered by the audience aim. It was a good read though - and a quick one as it only took me a few hours to thumb through the entire book.
It wasnt as good as the movie, in my opinion, but still worth the time to read it. For there are quite some differences.
Coraline: Creepy-awesomeness for kids!
Reader reviewed by Misty
This is an interesting book because I can honestly say I haven't read
it before. I know that sounds obvious, but with kid's books, they can
all blend together and lack originality, and this did not. I think that
was partly because Gaiman didn't try to hold back and keep it gently
creepy, kid appropriate. This is a genuinely creepy book, with a girl
who is held hostage basically by her "other mother" who is certainly
not human, and wants to sew black buttons into her eyes, and who
devours souls. The main character has a nice, distinct voice, and the
book is easy to read (age appropriate) without being dumbed down. As I
am a quote person, here are some of my faves, which give a good insight into this book:
"Small world," said Coraline.
"It's big enough for her," said the cat. "Spiders' webs only have to be large enough to catch flies."
"She kept us and fed on us until we've nothing left of ourselves, only snakeskins and spider husks."
"I swear it," said the other mother. "I swear it on my own mother's grave."
"Does she have a grave?" asked Coraline.
"Oh yes," said the other mother. "I put her in there myself. And when I found her trying to crawl out, I put her back."
The sky was a robin's egg blue, and Coraline could see trees and,
beyond the trees, green hills, which faded on the horizon into purples
and grays. The sky had never seemed so sky, and the world had never
seemed so world.
If it seems too good to be true....
Reader reviewed by GRgenius
Have you ever wondered what the world would be like looking out of a mirror as opposed to into one? Such is the topsy-turvy reality Neil Gaiman creates in the story of Coraline. The title characters name is a twist upon itself, which is your first sign that things are not always as they seem. Coraline is an adventurer; braver than most, but slighter than many. Size does not equal strength, kindness, or cunning though, when faced with evil. Longing for an escape from the hum-drum of everyday life, she follows a doorway to nowhere&..on this particular day, however, nowhere leads to a somewhere one would only hope to dream and never experience. In this other world, everyone and everything appears the same and yet different. Her other mother is especially affectionate, wanting nothing more than to feed her and play games. Coraline cant quite put her finger on it, but something there is just&.wrong. What evil lurks behind their shiny button black eyes? Coraline feeling none to uneasy decides to return home after her visit only to discover her parents are missing! She knows in her heart that her other mother has them, and she knows where she must go to bring them back. Mustering all the strength a child can hold, she sets out on an adventure she will not soon forget with her only ally, a familiar, although sarcastic, black cat from her own world, guiding the way. Will this be enough to stop the evil lurking in the shadows? What other secrets are being held just out of her reach? You can be sure Coraline will uncover it all and more.
Definitely recommend the book as opposed to the movie....happy reading!