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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Change of Heart by Shari Maurer

Change of Heart by Shari Maurer
Publisher: WestSide Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (288 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4 suns
Reviewed by: Lilac

Shortly after her sixteenth birthday, popular varsity soccer star Emmi comes down with an ordinary virus. But when she doesn’t bounce back as always, she gets the worst possible news—she’s had myocarditis that’s destroyed her heart, putting her into congestive heart failure. This formerly energetic teen can now barely walk across a room without having to stop and rest. And the prognosis is bleak: without a heart transplant, she’ll die in a matter of months. It’s only her growing friendship with Abe, the funny, smart boy she meets in the cardiac clinic, that finally cheers her up. But difficult questions race through her mind while she waits: Will she get a heart in time? Will she even survive the surgery? What if her body rejects the heart? When tragedy strikes close to home, Emmi must rely even more on her inner strength in order to carry on.

Imagine being sixteen years old and having everything going for you — friends, school, sports — and then suddenly it all changes in the blink of an eye. This is what happened to Emmi when she discovered that she had a severe heart condition and would have to have a heart transplant.

Growing up, I loved reading books by Lurlene McDaniel about teenagers who had terminal illnesses and this book reminded me so much of her books. I immediately fell right into the story and was engaged by it. The plot flowed nicely and kept my attention. I will say it was a little predictable, but that’s not always bad.

I really liked the characters — for the most part. I felt like Emmi was such a real character. She loved sports and had great close friends. The only thing that shocked me was the way that she talked to her mother (although I know I used to speak horribly to mine when I was a teenager too). I loved her best friend, Becca, and her boyfriend Sam for most of the story until close to the end when something scandalous happens. I wasn’t fond of that part of the story and I feel like it got back to “happy” a little too quickly. And I really liked Abe, the teen guy that Emmi meets who had previously had a heart transplant. They all felt real and normal and like any teen you would see in life.

This story definitely brings to life the importance of organ donation. It’s heartwarming and sad and I would definitely recommend that you have tissues nearby while you read it!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time by James Ponti

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Junior Novel) by James Ponti
Publisher: Disney Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Age Recommendation: 8+
Length: Short Story (148 pgs)
Rating: 4.5 suns
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

When a young prince is framed for the death of his beloved father and the king of Persia, he must prove his innocence with the reluctant help of a conquered princess and a magic dagger that can reverse time.

It’s rumored that he killed his father, but no one is sure. Then there are the pesky princes who want to ruin everything for the sake of power. Now add in a beautiful princess and a handsome hero. You have the makings of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

Packed with action and mystery, this book is sure to grab every reader within the first few pages. James Ponti writes in a quick pace that never lets up. The descriptions are rich with detail, making me feel like I was wandering the Persian deserts alongside Dastan. On each page there are characters that I wanted to see succeed and others I wanted to see falter.

My favorite part of the story was Dastan’s determination to be his own person and to clear his name. The notion that a man good in heart and soul will gain the respect of his peers is a great lesson for children to learn, as well.

The plot twists and turns captivated me. I never knew what would happen next. There’s a nice mix of magic and mysticism, giving the story a dreamlike feel. I loved the pluck Dastan displayed in order to fulfill his destiny. He’s a good hero and role model to follow.

If you want an action packed story for a lazy afternoon that lends itself to a second and third reading, then you need to grab a copy of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. I give this story 4.5 suns.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Pony Whisperer: The Word on the Yard by Janet Rising

The Pony Whisperer: The Word on the Yard by Janet Rising
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Genre: Contemporary
Agre Recommendation: 10 +
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Pia has always told her pony everything…but now he’s talking back!

It’s hard being the new girl in town—new school, new stable, new rivalries. It seems Pia’s only friend is her pony, Drummer. But horses can’t talk…can they?

Suddenly, all the horses are talking—to Pia! Now she can understand Drummer, and does he have a lot to say! Who knew this sweet-looking horse would have such an attitude. When news of Pia’s pony-whispering power spreads, her popularity grows and she finally feels like she belongs…that’s when everything starts to go wrong.

Horse lovers of all ages will find The Pony Whisperer enchanting. The tale of young Pia and her clever pony, Drummer, develops with pretty ordinary challenge initially: it is easy to relate to Pia's efforts to make friends in a new place, struggle with the changing relationships with her newly divorced parents, and meet that first potential boyfriend.

Drummer has challenges too. He wants to put a good hoof forward and impress that lovely Bambi mare stabled next to him... and suddenly, Pia gains the skill to understand Drummer, and hear his (often insightful) comments. Implausible though it sounds, from his first complaints, I couldn't wait to hear what Drummer would say next - as well as all the other ponies in the yard.

Pia is a thoroughly admirable main character. She is full of concern for others; she often places a pony's good over looking foolish herself. Any teen would understand the challenges Pia faces among those her own age, and admire how she struggles to cope. She's a genuinely nice person, and you can't help liking her. It seems like her magical ability will really help smooth the way for her at the new stable, but like so many good things, there is a dark side too. The attention her skill brings her can be vastly more negative than she ever expects. Can she keep using her skill for good, or is it only ever going to drive her further from the people that matter most?

The stable, fields, riding, and the assorted ponies with their various issues are wonderfully and realistically presented. Real riding problems, issues with tack, even equine illness all play a role. The story will delight any young rider, or would-be rider. Who doesn't imagine they understand just what their horse wants -- or wishes they could? I cannot wait for Ms. Rising's next book: The Pony Whisperer Team Challenge. This is easily the best YA book I have read this year, and likely the best overall.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hunter Brown and the Secret of the Shadow by Christopher and Allan Miller

Hunter Brown and the Secret of the Shadow by Christopher and Allan Miller
Publisher: Warner Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Fantasy
Age Recommendation: 10+
Length: Full Length (368 pgs)
Rating: 5 Suns
Reviewed by Lupine

Strange visions... hideous monsters...startling revelations... Hunter Brown never expected a summer like this, and it's only getting started! After one of his infamous pranks backfires, Hunter unexpectedly finds himself in possession of an ancient book and key. Little does he know the mysterious book is a gateway to Solandria, a supernatural realm held captive by the Shadow. In Solandria, Hunter joins forces with the Codebearers, a band of highly trained warriors who form the Resistance to the Shadow. But before he can complete his training in the ways of the Code, Hunter is sent on a mission far more dangerous than he ever bargained for. Now with his life in peril and the future of Solandria hanging in the balance, Hunter is headed for a showdown with the Shadow and a battle to save his soul from a fate worse than death! Is Hunter’s knowledge of the Code deep enough to uncover the secret of the Shadow, or will the truth be more than he can bear? Hunter Brown and the Secret of the Shadow is the first installment in The Codebearers Series. The story incorporates an added layer of symbolism inspired by John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress to communicate spiritual truths and themes to readers.

From the mysterious beginning of the book when Hunter Brown is rescued by the janitor from his school (who turns out to be Evan, a Codebearer), to the moment when Hunter is chased into a graveyard by dispirits trying to steal the Author’s Writ , this book had me hooked.

Falling into a grave and then through it into the Lake of the Lost, Hunter finds himself engaged in a battle with the Shadow who is trying conquer this new world called Solandria. Hunter joins forces with the Codebearers who follow the precepts contained in the Author’s Writ and form the backbone of the resistance.

Hope, a native of Solandria and part of the resistance, becomes Hunter’s close friend. She was my favorite character in this book because of her strength and courage. She never panicked, always stood by her friends and really showed what kind of person we should all strive to be. I really admired her from the moment she entered the story.

Hunter wasn’t always such a stellar character, and had his flaws. But he was determined to do the best he could, and even when he got frustrated he pushed through. I remember how he handled trying to walk into the revealing room – a place where only the humble may enter. Once he accepted that he didn’t know everything and that he had a lot to learn, he was able to get in.

I admit to being a bit frightened by the monsters in this story, especially Kane, a gorwing. With his huge size and strength, sharp teeth, long, curled horns and ability to fly he was by far the most threatening creature in the book aside from the Shadow. The Scrill was also quite terrifying. So powerful, when it attacked one group in the resistance, it massacred the entire company save the captain.

Scene after scene, exciting adventure after adventure, this book kept me glued to the pages. The writing was descriptive, clear and interesting and the story was well-plotted and truly fascinating. With inspirational undertones, this story delivers a message along with the excitement. It taught me that we need to be humble, to not to allow our less positive emotions (like fear, frustration and anger) get the best of us and live our lives not just for us, but for others as well.

I can’t recommend this book enough, and am definitely planning to start reading the next one in the series the moment I’m done writing this review. Kudos to the authors for this marvelous read!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Burned by P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast

Burned (House of Night Series, book 7)by P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Age Recommendation: 14+
Length: Full Length (323 pgs)
Rating: 4.5 Suns
Reviewed by Peppermint

When friends stop trusting each other, Darkness is there to fan the flames….

Things have turned black at the House of Night. Zoey Redbird’s soul has shattered. With everything she’s ever stood for falling apart, and a broken heart making her want to stay in the Otherworld forever, Zoey’s fading fast. It’s seeming more and more doubtful that she will be able pull herself back together in time to rejoin her friends and set the world to rights. As the only living person who can reach her, Stark must find a way to get to her. But how? He will have to die to do so, the Vampyre High Council stipulates. And then Zoey will give up for sure. There are only 7 days left…

Enter BFF Stevie Rae. She wants to help Z but she has massive problems of her own. The rogue Red Fledglings are acting up, and this time not even Stevie Rae can protect them from the consequences. Her kinda boyfriend, Dallas, is sweet but too nosy for his own good. The truth is, Stevie Rae’s hiding a secret that might be the key to getting Zoey home but also threatens to explode her whole world.

In the middle of the whole mess is Aphrodite: ex-Fledgling, trust-fund baby, total hag from Hell (and proud of it). She’s always been blessed (if you could call it that) with visions that can reveal the future, but now it seems Nyx has decided to speak through her with the goddess’s own voice, whether she wants it or not. Aphrodite’s loyalty can swing a lot of different ways, but right now Zoey’s fate hangs in the balance.

Three girls… playing with fire… if they don’t watch out, everyone will get Burned.

Zoey what have you gotten yourself into now? If you have previous followed the other House of Night books you know what I am taking about. This book picks up exactly where Tempted left off. So if you have not read any of the previous books you should go back and start from the beginning and believe me, it is worth it.

This story featured a lot of Aphrodite which I was very pleased about. She has always been one of my favorite characters in this series so I was happy that she seemed to get quite a bit of story time in this book. For all of you Aphrodite fans she was her typical sarcastic self throughout the entire story. Another character that you get a lot of -- more than in the previous stories -- was Stark. He is a character that I always wanted to read more about and I finally got my wish. Of all Zoey’s male followers he quickly won my heart. He is the only one who seems to really understand Zoey and want her happiness and safety above his own. In my opinion it was great to see so much of these two characters and I hope we continue to see them more and more.

The story line with Stevie Rae was also a good one. I liked the direction these authors are taking her in, not only with Rephaim, but also the other Red fledglings that are out of control. Add in the twist with Damien at the end and you cannot help but feel bad for poor Stevie Rae. The poor girl has so much on her plate!

The only negative thing I really have to say about this book and a few others in the series, is that the development of the story drags in some places. We keep getting introduced to so many conflicts within each story without really getting any conclusion from the already existing ones. The authors introduce four or five new conflicts while only concluding one or two.

This series always keeps me on the edge of my seat. From book one, Zoey and her pack has amused me. After finishing this story you can tell this series is far from over, so I look forward to more from this authors.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Spider Gem: Book One of the Portal Chronicles by Taff Lovesey

The Spider Gem: Book One of the Portal Chronicles by Taff Lovesey
Publisher: Under the Moon
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Age Recommendation: 12+
Length: Full Length (195 pgs)
Rating: 3 Suns
Reviewed by Aloe

Accidentally invoking the power of a magical portal network, three teenagers, Ashley from Oregon, USA and two Welsh boys, Rhys and Michael, are pulled into Portalia, a fantastical world of sword and sorcery.

Befriended by centaurs, the trio find themselves at the forefront of a perilous quest to thwart the efforts of an evil warlock intent on world domination.

In possession of The Spider Gem, the warlock commands an enormous army of spiders as well as a throng of fearsome and unfeeling lava rock creatures, the Graav.

As the teenagers become attuned to their new world they develop unique skills of their own and soon join forces with the citizens of the world to form an alliance of good.

A mighty battle is inevitable as the alliance of elves, humans, dwarves, centaurs and magical fire eagles, rush headlong towards confrontation.

Can you imagine stepping through a portal into another world? What if it’s a world filled with mythical creatures and an evil wizard?

Rhys goes to stay with his aunt who lives on the Welsh coastline. He stays two weeks each summer and enjoys the fresh air, water and freedom to commune with nature. He also enjoys his friend, Mike, who lives in the same area and shares his interests. Rhys gets his aunt’s permission to visit a cave on the beach and Mike comes along. They take along food, water, a two way radio, and set out for a day’s adventure.

What they find at the back of the cave causes them to be transported to another world. And not only are they transported, they find themselves joined by a girl named Ash. She has no idea how she got there either! Now they are in a world of mythical magic.

There are several subplots in this novel. The main characters are human and have their fears, but also their courage and strength to fall back on. You will meet wizards, warlords, dwarves, elves, centaurs and more as you go through the story. There is a lot of action, magic, and war mixed with unusual creatures and brave warriors.

The plot seems a bit light, but it is written for young adults. The themes are sometimes dark, but they are not overwhelming.

This story will keep you reading while you watch the classic fight between good and evil. You also wonder if the three children will ever find their way back home.

There will be a sequel, and I was happy to hear that. While many have died in the war already, the evil wizard and his coven are still alive – and will be back…

Friday, June 18, 2010

Vampire Island by Sandra Cox

Vampire Island by Sandra Cox
Publisher: Class Act Books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Age Recommendation: 12+
Length: Full Length (192 pgs)
Rating: 5 Suns
Reviewed by Orchid

My name is Zoe Tempest. Just let me say, I had no intention of becoming a vampire hunter. My world revolved around the trendiest clothes, the boy of the week, shopping, and texting. My life was as close to perfect as a seventeen year old can get. I had everything. Then my parents were murdered and my world came crashing down.

After their funeral, I went to live with my uncle Julian Kilmer. That’s when everything changed. In a manner more terrifying than anything I could have imagined.

One day Zoe is the spoiled daughter of well-to-do parents, then suddenly her world changes completely. Her parents die suddenly and she goes to live with her weird Uncle Julian on Vampire Island.

Julian warns her not to go out once the sun has set, but when she discovers he sleeps by day and goes out at night Zoe begins to wonder if her uncle is a vampire. But that’s silly, there are no such things as vampires. Or are there?

Julian oozes danger. His ocelot Oz, who has silver claws, protects Zoe not only from herself but also from the creatures of the dark who wish to harm her. The protection of the cat, plus the garlic surrounding the garden, convinces Zoe her uncle can’t possibly be a vampire.

I really liked this book. Zoe is a young seventeen-year-old who always has to be turned out properly with matching clothes, nail polish and make-up. Throughout the book she makes sure she is properly dressed for each occasion even when it comes to finding just the right tote bag for the equipment she needs to survive.

Although not a love interest, Julian is absolutely gorgeous. The mystery and danger surrounding him only make him seem more attractive. Both Zoe and Julian are very strong characters. When Zoe finds out the truth she refuses to believe it. Julian then pits his will against hers and forces her to accept what he has told her.

Although the book deals with a subject which is classed as paranormal and commonly considered a myth, Vampire Island makes the reader believe in vampires. The end of the book dangles a temptation for the next in the Hunter Series and I shall look out eagerly for this to become available.

I have to admit I couldn’t put this book down. It was witty and fast moving. A totally believable story about a subject we know isn’t real. Or is it? Pick up your own copy and decide for yourself.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Suburban Vampires by Connie Keenan

Suburban Vampires by Connie Keenan
Publisher: Awe-Struck E-Books
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short story (79 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 4.5 Suns
Reviewed by Begonia

A whole high school full of vampires? Well it will be, if Dylan and Jesse follow orders. A vampire hunter is making living death dangerous in New Jersey, so the two young men...uh, relatively young as vampires go...are sent by the Master Vampire to bite the entire student body of a local high school. All is well until the lads fall for Tegan, the daughter of the vampire hunter, and her best friend, Rina.

Dylan and Jesse are inventive enough to appear to be ordinary guys, until challenged. No red-blooded vampire is going to let a mere human outdo him, as Jesse proves when he transforms into a bat to muddle a football game. Dylan survives a fatal fall from a tree--vampires are immortal. Tegan and Rina become pawns in a deadly game, until a final battle with the Master Vampire has an unexpected outcome. Dylan and Jesse prove their heroism, but will the vampire hunter give up his quest, even when his daughter's happiness is at stake?

Suburban Vampires is a laid back, easy going story about two vampires that wished they weren’t. Dylan and Jesse would love to find a way to convert back to human if such a thing is possible. When the master vampire gives them one last chance to prove themselves by sending them to Long Island to transform a whole high school of kids into vampires, and then use them to kill a human vampire hunter, they figure that’s their chance to find the answers or be banned from the master vampire’s castle forever.

Ms. Keenan did a great job writing this short story. She has a couple of plots going on at the same time although you don’t catch on to the second one until about halfway through the story. She mixes banter and comedy throughout the entire book. Dylan was originally from Britain and was turned in 1779 during the war at the age of fifteen, while Jesse was from Brooklyn in 1947 at the age of fifteen. Ms. Keenan used the cultural differences between the two time frames as a bone of contention between Dylan and Jesse. I found this hilarious when the two interacted since Dylan is an uptight British solder and Jesse is a fun loving slang-throwing Brooklyn boy.

Throw some high school romance into the mix and now you’re dealing with the everyday life of a teenager. At least that is what you think until you see how Ms. Keenan deals with it. I kid you not, you will laugh most of the way through this book. There are a couple of tense moments when the master vampire shows up to deal with Dylan and Jesse but that just makes this story more compelling.

Suburban Vampires grabs you from the beginning and keeps a hold of you until the end. You won’t want to put it down until you find out if Dylan and Jesse find the answer on how to convert themselves back to human or not. Plus Ms. Keenan adds a curse on one of the girls at that high school. A curse that says she will be turned into a vampire at the age of fifteen. If that’s not enough action for you, throw in a couple of spies for the master vampire, Roland Ellery the father (human vampire hunter) of Tegan the fifteen year old with the curse, as well as the local vampires who live on Long Island and you’re in for one exciting read.

Read Suburban Vampires to find out the answers to questions like, why don’t Dylan and Jesse want to be vampires? What could they possibly have against vampires? Do they find their answers? Are they able to convert back to human or are they stuck as vampires for eternity? Why is Tegan cursed? What is Roland Ellery is willing to do in order to save his daughter Tegan? Will Dylan and Jesse convert the entire high school and destroy the human vampire hunter?

You may even find a few more questions of your own while reading this fun, gripping story.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter by R.J. Anderson

Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter by R.J. Anderson
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy
Age: 8+
Length: Full Length (336 pgs)
Rating: 3.5 suns
Reviewed by Alyssum

Forget everything you think you know about faeries. . . .

Creatures full of magic and whimsy?

Not in the Oakenwyld. Not anymore.

Deep inside the great Oak lies a dying faery realm, bursting with secrets instead of magic. Long ago the faeries mysteriously lost their magic. Robbed of their powers, they have become selfish and dull-witted. Now their numbers are dwindling and their very survival is at stake.

Only one young faery—Knife—is determined to find out where her people's magic has gone and try to get it back. Unlike her sisters, Knife is fierce and independent. She's not afraid of anything—not the vicious crows, the strict Faery Queen, or the fascinating humans living nearby. But when Knife disobeys the Faery Queen and befriends a human named Paul, her quest becomes more dangerous than she realizes. Can Knife trust Paul to help, or has she brought the faeries even closer to the brink of destruction?

Talented newcomer R. J. Anderson creates an extraordinary new fantasy world and weaves a gripping tale of lost magic, high adventure, and surprising friendship in which the fate of an entire realm rests on the shoulders of one brave faery rebel.

What would you do if you were a faery and were told you could never go outside because humans were dangerous? Would you obey the rules or be a rebel?

Though Knife never meant to be a rebel, that is exactly what she was in the eyes of the faery Queen. Knife lives in a time when the faery world is crumbling - they have lost their magic. After what they call the Sundering the only one left with any magic is the Queen. Nobody knows what it's like to have true friendship and the old ones are dying of the Silence, a sort of dementia for faeries.

Knife wants to go outside but it's forbidden. However, after she becomes the Queen's Hunter she can go out all the time. After being rescued from a crow's attack she meets her first human. Making the acquaintance of this human boy throws everything she has learned upside down. Now Knife must prove that humans are not as bad as everyone thought them to be.

Knife is the kind of young heroine that I like: strong, independent and courageous. She has the curiosity to get herself into trouble, and she can't just let things go. Once she sets her mind to something she must find out the truth even if it hurts. The young man, Paul, has his own set of problems. He is a paraplegic and has sort of lost his inspiration, until Knife falls into his lap. Paul is kind and gentle which is why Knife has such a hard time trying to figure out why everyone hates humans. The faery Queen comes off a bit shady and I really had my doubts about her, but she is not as bad as I first thought.

The weakest part of this story, in my opinion, has to be the middle because it has a bit too much description and not enough forward movement. It was to the point that it slowed down the pace and pulled me from the story. But, once I got over the slump it went quickly and was a pleasant read through to the end.

Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter was a quick, enjoyable middle grade book that I would recommend to anyone who loves books about Fae. I give it 3.5 out of 5 suns.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

We Hear the Dead by Dianne K. Salerni

We Hear the Dead by Dianne K. Salerni
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Historical
Age Recommendation: 12+
Length: Full Length (448 pgs)
Rating: 3 suns
Reviewed by Lilac

It starts as a harmless prank…then one lie quickly grows into another. Soon Kate and Maggie Fox are swept into a dizzying flurry of national attention for their abilities to communicate with the dead. But living a lie is sometimes too much to handle, even if you have the best intentions. Based on a true story, We Hear the Dead reveals how secrets and lies can sometimes lead you to what’s real and what’s right. And how sometimes talking with the dead is easier than talking with the people around you.

What started out as a harmless prank soon became a way of life for Kate and Maggie. If I'd been in their shoes, I’m not sure if I would have been able to keep up the secret for as long as they did. That being said, I sure think it could have been an interesting way of making a living.

I have to admit that this book took me quite a while to get through it. I’m not sure if it was because it was set back in the 1800s, or if it was because it was based on a true story, or if it was something altogether different, but I didn’t really connect with either of the main characters until the end of the story. When Maggie’s world was shattered at the end (I won’t give away why), that part gripped me and I did really get Maggie’s feelings.

The story was told in two viewpoints, but most of the chapters were from Maggie. I would like to have read more from Kate and gotten to know her better. She seemed to have more of a spark than Maggie and maybe I would have found her story more intriguing.

Even so, this was a good book and if you like historical fiction, then this story of deception and the faux paranormal might be right up your alley. I suggest you give it a try.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Publisher: Harper Trophy/Harper Collins
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Age Recommendation: 10+
Length: Full Length (162 pgs)
Rating: 5 suns
Reviewed by Cholla

When Coraline steps through a door to find another house strangely similar to her own (only better), things seem marvelous.

But there's another mother there, and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.

Coraline will have to fight with all her wits and courage if she is to save herself and return to her ordinary life.

A door is just a door, right? Not when you’re a dissatisfied young girl looking for adventure, it isn’t. And that’s exactly what Coraline finds when she sneaks the keys to the locked door in the parlor -- adventure. From that moment forward, nothing is ever as it seems. And suddenly, the world isn’t the safe, warm place she once believed it to be.

Coraline is your typical elementary school girl. She loves to be the center of her parents' attention and to explore the world around her. Although her curiosity and boredom do almost get the best of her during this story, she is smart enough to pull herself out of the trouble she created. With the love of her parents, her stubborn will, and an assortment of odd characters, she puts all the puzzle pieces together and saves herself. Coraline’s character really develops during this short novel. She learns a lot about the dangers surrounding her little home and in the greater, wilder world around her. She learns to draw on resources she normally would write off and becomes a wiser and more cautious child for it all.

Neil Gaiman has long been one of my favorite authors of adult fiction. To find such a wonderfully written story for a much younger audience made me extremely happy. He has an amazing way of weaving the dark and supernatural into our world and giving it a place to stay, as if it has been there all along. We just haven’t opened our eyes wide enough to notice it yet is all. Coraline is no exception. Despite the age group it was written for, he delves into the dark and creepy with ease, finding the things that would most appeal to – and frighten – a child. Possibly not the best choice for a more sensitive child, it does have its frightening moments, although never gruesome. Best read with the lights on, Coraline is a sure fire hit for any adventurous child.