Reviewed by Christen Krumm

I do not know how many times I was told that I needed to read this book. Coraline by Neil Gaiman is a magically dark almost haunting story of one girl’s quest to be brave, courageous, and ultimately save those most dear to her.

Coraline discovered the door a little while after they moved into the house…” and so begins the story of Coraline. She is a bored little girl who takes to exploring. She visits Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, the old retired actresses that live in the flat below, but tries to avoid the “crazy old man with a big mustache” that lives with his pet rats above them.

One day during her exploring, Coraline discovers the door that leads between flats — however, it is bricked up. Later that evening, after hearing voices coming from behind the same door, Coraline finds that behind the door is a passageway. Coraline, being the adventurer that she is, decides to explore the passage and comes across another world — very much like her own, only… not. There are the other mother and the other father, very much like her own, except these parents have black shiny buttons for eyes. The other mother is ruler and creator of this world — and wants Coraline to stay with her for forever. Coraline soon realizes that the other mother has kidnapped three other children as well as her parents and is holding them captive.

Coraline wills herself to be brave and poses a game for the other mother — if Coraline wins, the other mother will have to let her captives go free; if Coraline loses, she promises to stay in the other mother’s world forever.

This is a captivating story of bravery and courage. Even the foreword of this book is captivating (and for one who generally skips the foreword, that’s saying something). Gaiman tells stories of running into women ten years after he wrote Coraline who told him that Coraline’s story got them through their worst times — it is that kind of book. I love the fact that Gaiman wrote it for his daughters. The inscription – “I started this for Holly, I finished it for Maddy” – is one of the best I’ve seen.

Best Line: “…when you’re scared and you do it anyway, that’s brave.”

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Christen is an aspiring author, book lover, and coffee drinker. She lives in Arkansas with her superhero husband and 2 mini people. Connect with her at her blog: ChristenKrumm.com or Twitter @christenkrumm

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by HarperCollins. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.