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Coraline (novel)

A 2002 young adult fantasy novel written by Neil Gaiman with illustrations by Dave McKean.

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A creepy, fun filled and adventurous novella that will delight and entertain young and old alike.

  • May 6, 2013
  • by
Coraline tells the fascinating story of young Coraline Jones, a smart, feisty, curious and adventurous young girl who is somewhat neglected by her workaholic yet loving parents, a young-en who craves a measure of parental involvement but who also values her sense of independence. Unfortunately, however, she is more alone rather than independent. It depends on how a reader interprets solitariness. But for Coraline Jones, that is all a-OK, but there is an undercurrent of resentment that she feels towards her parents. She does not allow those feelings to dominate her.

Having recently moved to a new home with new residents all around, Coraline becomes an explorer of the unchartered territory, somewhat to the relief of her parents, who must press on with creating a catalog that must be completed before their deadline. On a rainy day, Coraline becomes housebound, much her dismay, but it permits her the opportunity to explore the inner sanctums of her new home. Before that, though, she visits Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, two aging former performers who are roommates in another section of Coraline's giant house. They read her tea leaves and warn her that she is in danger, but from what, is not exactly discernible. The warning is alarming to Coraline, but she is intrigued at the same time, especially after being given a unique stone with a hole in it by the two ladies; they attest that it has a special power to it that will be beneficial to Coraline. With that, the true adventure begins.

Roaming about, Coraline finds an entranceway into another world where everything pretty much looks the same but appears to be of a higher caliber, including her own parents. But they are parents with black buttons for eyes. Questioning but overlooking the anomalies, Coraline quickly becomes adapted to and enamored with this new yet mysterious world. There are enticements, assuaged egos, desires fulfilled in this land, all the trapping that a person-particularly a child-would think they would want. Yet there is something missing, and it is a very simple yet powerful ingredient. It is love and all the facets that make love what it is: sacrifice, nurturing, discipline, empathy, free will, etc. While everything is seemingly perfect in this netherworld, for that is what it is, it is all a disingenuous yet harmonized quasi life based upon faux unity; it is a life and environment that is tailored together by darkness, madness, insatiable greed and lies and so much more. And while there is a sense of animated coolness to this whole other realm, it is, nonetheless, a dark world that belies its hidden dangers, dangers that have already ensnared a plethora of child souls long before Coraline ever came into the scene. And now that Coraline is in the scene, she is the demonic mother's new favorite pet, a creature, not a soul, to dote on. But how long will the doting continue on for? Will Coraline be fooled? Can she discern the true love verses the snares of the evil one? She is a clever child, but kids can be fooled. Who will win?

Coraline was a thoroughly enjoyable read, a simple and unadorned work that was very much plot driven. The straightforward ebb and flow of dialog and action conveyed a powerful and timely lesson, a truth, really, for all times. If anyone ever read Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, they will most definitely enjoy Coraline and vise versa. Additionally, the film adaption of Coraline was very true to the book. Either way, they were both entertaining works.
A creepy, fun filled and adventurous novella that will delight and entertain young and old alike.

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More Coraline (novel) reviews
review by . June 14, 2010
Dark Fairy Tale for Children Starring Coraline, not Caroline.
Click here to read the book quotes.      Click here to read the Quick Tip.      "Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."       --G. K. Chesterton       Coraline is one of the most unique children's books I have read in a long time. It's a quick read but what it lacks in length it makes up with …
Quick Tip by . March 25, 2011
Didn't read the book but loved the movie (I haven't read kids' book sin some time.)
Quick Tip by . August 11, 2010
a totally twisted movie the animation and story were so freaking weird i fell in love with it automatically. i read the book after watching the movie and i liked it just as much.
Quick Tip by . June 10, 2010
Click here to read the book review.       Click here to read the book quotes.      A rather quirky and unusual children's book. It reminded me of Alice in Wonderland purely because Coraline travels to another "world." It was darker than the children's books I read as a child, but appropriate for a younger audience, especially if they want to read a horror/fantasy genre.
Quick Tip by . June 24, 2010
Coraline is really creepy. Sad they made it for children.
Quick Tip by . July 01, 2010
haha i stole this book from my teacher when i was in 5th grade. because i was grounded and figured it would give me something to do. i finished it in less than 3 hours, and immediately made my younger sister read it too. the button eyes, and dark version of reality that coraline goes into every night is just amazing. i think neil gaiman is my favorite visual author because he painted such a good picture in just this book.
Quick Tip by . June 30, 2010
this book is Weird! but kinda cool, in a creepy way
Quick Tip by . June 28, 2010
Charming dark children's novel.
Quick Tip by . June 22, 2010
creepy. but good
Quick Tip by . June 15, 2010
Cute but creepy book.
About this book


Coraline is a fantasy/horror novella by British author Neil Gaiman, published in 2002 by Bloomsbury and Harper Collins. It was awarded the 2003 Hugo Award for Best Novella, the 2003 Nebula Award for Best Novella, and the 2002 Bram Stoker Award for Best Work for Young Readers. It has been compared to Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland because of its surrealism and plot based on an alternate-reality, and has been adapted into a 2009 stop-motion film directed by Henry Selick.
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ISBN-10: 0380977788
ISBN-13: 9780380977789
Author: Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean
Genre: Children's Literature, Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Light Horror, Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins, Bloomsbury Books
Date Published: 2002
ISBN: 0380977788
Format: Hardcover (first edition)
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