• Coraline

  • By: Neil Gaiman
  • Narrated by: Neil Gaiman
  • Length: 3 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (9,190 ratings)

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Coraline  By  cover art


By: Neil Gaiman
Narrated by: Neil Gaiman
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Editorial review

By Haley Hill, Audible Editor


I attribute the bibliophile I am today to my early affinity for scary stories—which led me to check out Neil Gaiman’s Coraline from my elementary school library. My first ever stand-alone novel (I discovered my love of reading with R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series), this terrifying children’s tale scared the living daylights out of me so successfully that I even commemorated conquering my fear of flying over the Atlantic Ocean in my early 20s by getting the Other Mother’s spindly fingers tattooed upon my arm. In my mind, I had travelled through a portal leading to the unknown and made it back alive, just like the story’s brave protagonist.

From the novel’s beginning, I found it easy to relate to Coraline. Just like her, I am an only child, which I believe led me to develop an active imagination during the many boring, lonesome moments when I would fantasize about making new friends from within the confines of my backyard. (If you, too, are yearning for a set of quirky companions to help occupy your time, look no further than this audiobook’s marvelous full-cast performance!) Likewise, throughout my childhood, I had frequent recurring nightmares which typically resulted in me getting separated from my family. (Disclaimer: I do not particularly believe that these dreams were caused by my lack of siblings.) As Coraline’s journey led her to a parallel universe where button-eyed doppelgängers of her parents threatened to trap her forever, I am certain that my own anxieties coincidentally helped to make this eerie tale feel all the more uncanny, as if I were witnessing my worst fears unfolding on the pages before me. Despite feeling disturbed at the time, I will forever be grateful to Neil Gaiman for first teaching me about the power of stories to reflect aspects of ourselves within others’ narratives.

To this day, I am still just as frightened by Coraline as I was when I was a child. (If you have seen Henry Selick’s stop-motion adaptation of the story, you know just how grotesque and unsettling the tale really is. And, if you have not yet experienced Neil Gaiman’s original work, prepare yourself for the spine-tingling scenes which the director deemed too disturbing to include in his 2009 film.) But now that I’m older, I find that this listen unnerves me in entirely unanticipated ways, as it now makes me worry that I have come closer than ever to resembling Coraline’s real parents, who struggle to prioritize having fun against their demanding adult responsibilities.

Continue reading Haley's review >

Publisher's summary

In 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...

At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom. But there's another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.

Other children are trapped there as well, lost souls behind the mirrors. Coraline is their only hope of rescue. She will have to fight with all her wits if she is to save the lost children, her ordinary life, and herself.

©2002 Neil Gaiman (P)2002 HarperCollinsPublishers, Inc.

Critic reviews

  • Book Sense Book of the Year Award Finalist, Children's Literature, 2003
  • Hugo Award Winner, Best Novella, 2003
  • Nebula Award Winner, Best Novella, 2003

"An electrifyingly creepy tale likely to haunt young readers for many moons." (Publishers Weekly)
"The story is odd, strange, even slightly bizarre, but kids will hang on every word...and they will love being frightened out of their shoes. This is just right for all those requests for a scary book." (School Library Journal)
"A magnificently creepy story...for stouthearted kids who love a brush with the sinister, Coraline is spot on." (Kirkus Reviews)

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