Coraline, by Neil Gaiman, Bloomsbury Children's Books, August 2002, [pound]9.99, 0747558531
Bestselling, award-winning author Neil Gaiman has written a spooky debut for teenagers. Coraline has just moved house and is intrigued by a bricked-up door which appears to lead nowhere. One day, she opens the door to find that the bricks have vanished. Inquisitive, she goes through the door and enters a world where things are not quite what they seem. The place beyond looks like her home, but it isn't, and the mum and dad there look like her parents, but they aren't. Her room in this parallel world is a gothic playroom, populated by wind-up angels which flutter around the room, and dinosaur skulls whose teeth chatter as she passes them. With absurd humour, reminiscent of Lewis Carroll, and a sense of comic spookiness to rival Edward Gorey, this is a delicious literary treat with strong appeal for both boys and girls across a broad age range.
Which I think nails it pretty well, in terms of mood if not in terms of plot.