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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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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I agree with audible addict, I question the age for this story and performance. This will cause nightmares in younger children. Once you get past that, this is a great scary, adventure story. A dark Narnia and Alice in Wonderland. Listen by yourself before sharing with younger ones, but don't ignore it, it is very entertaining.

51 of 54 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Melise
  • Altadena, CA, USA
  • 03-19-08

Scary, but interesting for both adults and kids

My family listened to this book on the way back from vacation. The group consisted of my mother (62), myself (42) and my two sons (9 and 11). This story, as is typical of Neil Gaiman, was atmospheric, lyrical and always imaginative. My mother, who can be a talker, didn't interrupt the story even once. But, the story, which is about a girl's parents who are kidnapped by a fairy tale type character and replaced with strange reproductions, is pretty dark, and scary enough that my 9 year old asked if we could turn it off for a while at one point. Of course, the next time we got into the car, he wanted to hear the rest, so although frightening, it is still an involving story. So, if you have a particularly sensitive child, I would be careful with this book, but otherwise, I highly recommend it.

43 of 46 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Kiind of like a sinister Alice in Wonderland

STORY (creepy) - This is a very dark story about an alternate world on the other side of a door in Coraline's home. When young Coraline (probably age 10ish) discovers the door and passes through, she meets twisted versions of her parents and neighbors, talking rats, a talking cat and other strange creatures. She becomes involved in a dangerous life-and-death game of strategy against her "Other Mother" and, in particular, one of her detachable hands. Coraline is smart and resourceful for a young girl her age and manages to come up with a pretty clever way to win the game, save the day and eliminate the threat of the villainous hand!

I thought the story was unique and somewhat interesting, but I can't help wonder what Gaimon's target audience actually was meant to be. As an adult listener, I thought it was fairly juvenile but, on the other hand, I think it would be too dark or intense for many children.

PERFORMANCE - Gaimon himself reads this work, and he does a good job. Not so sure that the weird songs added anything, but they were kind of creepy.

OVERALL - As stated above, I question what age group Gaimon wrote this book for, but maybe girls around 10-12 years old would find it enjoyable, perhaps even as a Halloween listen. No adult situations or language, but quite a bit of creepy characters and events, the type that can cause bad dreams...

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Creepy Fun

I love a story that doesn't take a month to get to the point. And a thriller that gets to it is even better.

If I'm going to be creeped out, I need to really care about the character, so generally a book needs to spend some time introducing you and explaining why you like the protagonist. It's easier to do that if the protagonist is a child. Young enough that you can immediately like them and want them to win, but old enough that they aren't completely helpless (making their victory unbelievable). Gaiman has done this, and done it well.

Coraline is a nice girl. Too bad about creepy reflections of her parents that want to adopt her now that her real parents have gone missing.

The audio is fantastic. The singing rats were creepy. I loved the song that opened the reading. Kind of wished there was more to it.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Annette
  • South Holland, IL, USA
  • 09-20-07

Very Entertaining

I purchased this book for a weekend car trip with my teenagers and was worried that this book would be too childish for them. There was no need to worry. This book is quirky enough to draw kids and adults.

After Harry Potter, it is hard to find characters and worlds and books that are fun. This book gives me hope that there are many fine gems out there waiting to be found.

We did not find this book as scarey as some of the reviewers warned about. The book was strange without being too scarey.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Dark and Delicious - but not for small children!

Although this is ostensibly a children's book, I would hesitate to let my 10-year-old listen to it because it's really rather disturbing. For anyone older than ten, though, it's a lovely read, and Gaiman's narration adds a great deal. Coraline's dark adventure with the "other" mother is chilling and paced exquisitely. Highly recommended!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Debra
  • Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  • 05-04-05

So good I read it first!

I bought this book for my 13 year old daughter, and decided to read it first so that I could make sure it wasn't too scary, and so that we could talk about it. Even though I was on vacation, I couldn't put it down. Wonderfully spooky and evocative -- and delightfully scary (but not too scary). Now I have the audiobook for my daughter, and other kids in the family. By the way, she really liked it too!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

So Creepy!

Thank goodness for the British and their love of scaring the pants off of little kids. This book is CREEPY. It's very odd, as well. People compare it to "Alice in Wonderland" with good reason. The imagery is just as vivid, and the language just as good. However, I found Coraline to be much more disturbing. The things that happen about two hours in are disturbing enough to me as a 26 year old woman that I would strongly hesitate to give it to any child under 10, and that only for children who have never been afraid of the dark, or of rats...

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Coraline, A Best Listen

Although coraline is not one of my favourite Neil Gaiman books, this recording by the author is a must listen. Coraline is Gaiman???s rather dark and edgy reworking of the Alice story. Moving into a new flat with her workaholic parents, coraline discovers a door in the parlour that opens onto a brick wall. While her parents are out one afternoon, Coraline opens the door to find another flat on the other side of the door. The world she discovers is like her own but different in a way that is both dark and disturbing. Button-eyed versions of the people she knows live beyond the door and her other mother and other father care for Coraline in a way that her real parents do not. Unlike Alice who finds herself in a dream-world full of nonsense and silly characters, coraline becomes trapped in a nightmare full of grotesque creatures from which she must escape.
This book is full of disturbing images that is unlike Gaiman???s other works for young people. However, Gaiman himself reads the book, and his clean, measured performance brings it to life in an unforgettable way. I tend not to like audio books read by the author, but this one is the exception. Four stars for the book, and five stars for Gaiman???s narration.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Brandon
  • La Porte, TX, United States
  • 06-07-09

Pretty good but...

I didn't enjoy it as much as The Graveyard Book. However, it was creepy and interesting look at how a child would deal with creepiness. It's good if you like Gaiman.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful