Coraline’s world is decidedly uninteresting. She has explored all there is to explore in her new flat and the surrounding grounds, and her parents never seem to have enough time to play with her. It is her boredom and a desire to explore something new that leads her to unlock the door in the corner of the drawing room, even though she knows it only leads to the brick wall dividing her flat from the empty flat next door. But this time, the brick wall is gone. Now there is a long, dark corridor that leads instead to another world–a distorted mirror of her own. The pictures on the walls are similar; the furniture is similar. Even her Other Mother and Other Father are similar—except for their black button eyes, sewn onto their pale, papery faces. Although this world is undeniably more interesting than her own, Coraline cannot help but feel she is in danger and hurries back through the corridor, determined never to return. But when the Other Mother kidnaps Coraline’s real parents, she must face her fears and travel back into the Other Mother’s world to rescue them.
Coraline is a short book with a fairly simple and linear plot, though the reading level is challenging. The world Gaiman creates for Coraline’s Other Mother is creepy, mysterious, and brilliantly crafted. I highly recommend this book to middle grade and teen readers who like fantasy and horror stories. Particularly since the reading level may be higher than the interest level, I also recommend the audio book which is performed by the author. The only thing that can make Coraline creepier is hearing it read in Neil Gaiman’s voice!