I decided to read Coraline by Neil Gaiman (162 pgs, Harper Collins) for a couple of reasons. First of all, I have a intense literary crush on Neil Gaiman and I've decided to read everything he's ever written!! And secondly, I choose it as a selection for Joy's Young Adult Challenge.
Young Coraline and her parents moved into a new flat. They have odd neighbors, like Mr. Bobo, who was working on his "mouse" circus and the Misses Spink and Forcible, who were retired stage actresses. But for all the newness in her life Coraline was bored. So she decided to be an explorer. And explore she did. She explored the land around the flat and found the old well that was boarded up because it was dangerous. She explored the flat itself, and found there were 21 windows and 14 doors. All the doors opened except one. Her mother found the old black key and showed Coraline that the door led nowhere. Only to a brick wall....that separated the flat from the one next to it.
One night when Coraline was sleeping, a strange noise woke her. She went out to investigate, being the explorer that she was. She heard noises coming from the door that wouldn't open. But when she tried it, the door was unlocked. And what she found wasn't a brick wall, but a passageway to another flat. One that looked almost identical to her own. But it wasn't quite the same.
The next day, when her mother and father went out, Coraline unlocked the door and followed the passage. What she found was her family!! But it wasn't really her mother and father, though they did resemble them. Although, instead of eyes, they each had buttons. It was the OTHER mother and father. They made her feel very welcomed, showed her a toy box in her "other" bedroom, filled with toys that were alive and unique. The food was fantastic. And they told her how much they loved her and wanted her to stay with them. But on the table were 2 black buttons and some thread. Right then and there, Coraline decided she didn't want to stay at all. Quickly, she took the key and went back to her real flat, locking the door behind her.
But when her real parents failed to return, it was apparent to Coraline that something was very wrong. Something that had to do with the "other" family on the wrong side of the door.
For a book that is geared at the younger set, this one is indeed dark. It's actually kind of scary. I really think kids will enjoy it, especially if they like adventure stories with a villain and a young heroine. Hopefully, it won't be too scary for them. Coraline as a character is fantastic. She's smart, courageous, and extremely honest. I loved her!! The story itself is short and a quick read. And in typical Gaiman fashion, you are really never sure where it's going. All in all, I was extremely pleased with it. If you decide to pick this one up, I hope you will be too!! 4/5
Also reviewed by:
Melody @ Melody's Reading Corner