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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
In Neil Gaiman's bestselling adult fantasies, telling the difference between reality and illusion can sometimes mean your soul. With Coraline, the author of American Gods develops this favorite theme for a younger audience, taking us through a deliciously frightening door to an "other," harrowing world.
Coraline's often wondered what's behind the locked door in the drawing room. It reveals only a brick wall when she finally opens it, but when she tries again later, a passageway mysteriously appears. Coraline is surprised to find a flat decorated exactly like her own, but strangely different. And when she finds her "other" parents in this alternate world, they are much more interesting despite their creepy black button eyes. When they make it clear, however, that they want to make her theirs forever, Coraline begins a nightmarish game to rescue her real parents and three children imprisoned in a mirror. With only a bored-through stone and an aloof cat to help, Coraline confronts this harrowing task of escaping these monstrous creatures.
Gaiman has delivered a wonderfully chilling novel, subtle yet intense on many levels. The line between pleasant and horrible is often blurred until what's what becomes suddenly clear, and like Coraline, we resist leaving this strange world until we're hooked. Unnerving drawings also cast a dark shadow over the book's eerie atmosphere, which is only heightened by simple, hair-raising text. Already compared to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and suited for readers of all ages, Coraline is otherworldly storytelling at its best. (Matt Warner)