Monday, July 2, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Coraline

To find out more about Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, click here. 
Title:  Coraline
Author: Neil Gaiman (link)
Genre:  Fantasy / Horror

Pub Date: January 2002

SynopsisIn Coraline's family's new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close. 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.

First Line: Coraline discovered the door a little while after they moved into the house.

When I was a kid, I loved creepy stuff. Horror movies, ghost stories, and haunted legends were totally my thing. Which is why I wish I had Coraline to scare my pants off when I was a middle grader. There's a secret door. Button eyes. Parents trapped behind a mirror, writing messages backwards. Seriously, right?

One of my favorite quotes describing the story is by Lemony Snicket, who said, "This book tells a fascinating and disturbing story that frightened me nearly to death." But it's not jut the creepy crawly fingers running down your back that makes this book amazing. Coraline is a fully formed, fun character who has normal kids gripes (like her father's cooking) that ground the otherwise fantastical tale. And the parade of secondary characters running around this book are truly unique and hilarious. Except for the other mother, who is anything but hilarious.

Will Coraline Be Too Scary?: For some kids, yes. Children who are overwhelmed by scary stories might need to wait a couple years before they are ready for this book. But most kids will love the twisty world that Coraline enters. In fact, the manner in which Coraline deals with the frightening plot will be empowering to many.

Why You'll Love Coraline (not Caroline): If you ever get trapped in a peculiar parallel universe, or maybe even a scary dream, you can only hope you'll act as brave and self-assured as Coraline. While the story had many frightening elements, Coraline took control of the frightening situation and made her own rules.

Want to find more marvelous middle grade books? Here's a list of MMGM bloggers with more recommendations!


  1. I had trouble with this one--and so did my daughter. Not that it's badly written or isn't a great story. It just creeped us both out. A lot.

  2. Definitely an interesting book, but not my cup of tea!

  3. Okay, so I haven't read this book, but I did see the movie. I know we can all argue that movies are never as good as books, but just by watching the movie I could tell that this is a book I'm going to love. It was so delightfully creepy and sinister! I looovvveeedddd scary stories when I was little (I read Wait Til Helen Comes over and over as a 2nd grader), and I still do. Once I get through all my BEA ARCs I'm going to have to pop over to my local indie and buy a copy.

    It was so great to meet you at BEA!!! I hope you got all the books you were looking for ;)

  4. Coraline is one of my favorite books. It is a little creepy though, the button eyes still unnerve me.

  5. Love, love, love this book. One of the scariest things I've ever read. (Not that that's saying much, because I have a pretty low tolerance for scary!) But Coraline is one of the best characters ever.

  6. I couldn't get into this one when I read it a while back. But maybe I should take a second look!

  7. *hangs head in shame*
    I loved the animated movie and after reading The Graveyard Book, I told myself I should read Coraline. I just never ever could squeeze it into my forever growing tbr pile.

  8. I wonder if I'll like it more than the movie... :)

  9. I have never read the book, but I love the movie. :)