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10 Books Like Coraline

Books Like Coraline

Do you miss the thrill of venturing through a hidden door, the chill of a creepy adventure, and the satisfaction of a brave young hero facing their fears? 

If Neil Gaiman’s “Coraline” cast a spell on you, then buckle up, because we’re about to embark on a journey through some remarkable books that capture the same spirit of wonder, suspense, and a touch of the strange.

From fantastical worlds to unsettling mysteries, these stories will challenge you, empower you, and leave you with a lingering sense of magical elements. 

Let’s go. 

Books Like Coraline

1. “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman

“The Graveyard Book” tells the story of Nobody Owens, a boy who is raised by the inhabitants of a graveyard after his family is murdered. 

As he grows up among the ghosts, ghouls, and specters, Bod learns about the living world and faces dangers both supernatural and human. The book blends elements of horror, fantasy, and coming-of-age to create a story that is both unique and captivating.

Major Similarities:

Like “Coraline,” “The Graveyard Book” is written by Neil Gaiman and shares a similar tone of dark fantasy mixed with whimsical elements. 

Both books feature young protagonists who find themselves in dangerous, otherworldly situations and must rely on their wits and courage to navigate through them. The themes of exploring the unknown and growing up are central to both stories, making “The Graveyard Book” a perfect follow-up for fans of “Coraline.”

2. “Doll Bones” by Holly Black

“Doll Bones” follows three friends, Zach, Poppy, and Alice, who go on a quest to bury a doll made from the bones of a girl who was killed many years ago. 

As they embark on their adventure, the lines between reality and the supernatural begin to blur, and the doll’s ghostly origins come to light. The story is a haunting mix of friendship, adventure, and the eerie, with a tone that captures the transition from childhood to adolescence.

Major Similarities: 

“Doll Bones” shares the theme of young characters embarking on a supernatural adventure, similar to “Coraline.” Both books delve into the eerie and the macabre, presenting it in a way that is accessible and engaging for younger readers. 

The exploration of growing up and facing one’s fears is a key similarity, making “Doll Bones” resonate with the same audience that appreciates “Coraline.”

3. “The Night Gardener” by Jonathan Auxier

“The Night Gardener” is a Victorian ghost story that follows two abandoned Irish siblings, Molly and Kip, as they work for, and ultimately discover the dark secrets of, the Windsor family in a mysterious, crumbling manor. 

The story weaves together elements of horror, fantasy, and historical fiction, creating an atmospheric tale about greed, storytelling, and the power of hope.

Major Similarities: 

This book shares with “Coraline” a strong sense of atmosphere and the theme of young characters confronting supernatural forces. The emphasis on storytelling and the blend of eerie elements with a message about courage and resilience echo the qualities found in Neil Gaiman’s work. 

The presence of a mysterious and malevolent force, akin to the Other Mother in “Coraline,” makes “The Night Gardener” a compelling read for fans of the genre.

4. “The Witch’s Boy” by Kelly Barnhill

“The Witch’s Boy” tells the story of Ned, the only surviving son of a witch, who becomes intertwined with a bandit king’s daughter, Áine, in a tale of magic, theft, and sacrifice. 

The narrative explores themes of identity, redemption, and the bonds that tie us to our families and our destinies. The magical elements are seamlessly integrated into the characters’ journeys, creating a richly woven tapestry of fantasy and folklore.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Coraline,” “The Witch’s Boy” features a young protagonist navigating a world filled with magic and danger. The themes of self-discovery and bravery in the face of the unknown are prevalent in both books. 

The magical and slightly dark atmosphere, along with the deep exploration of the characters’ emotional landscapes, makes it a suitable recommendation for those who appreciated the blend of fantasy and coming-of-age elements in “Coraline.”

5. “Over Sea, Under Stone” by Susan Cooper

“Over Sea, Under Stone” is the first book in “The Dark Is Rising” series. It follows the Drew children—Simon, Jane, and Barney—as they spend their summer holiday in Cornwall and stumble upon an ancient map that leads them on a quest for the Holy Grail. 

As they delve deeper into the mystery, they find themselves caught in the age-old battle between good and evil, with magic and historical secrets woven throughout.

Major Similarities: 

“Over Sea, Under Stone” shares with “Coraline” a blend of adventure, mystery, and the supernatural, set against the backdrop of the everyday world. The story’s focus on children uncovering hidden worlds and ancient secrets mirrors Coraline’s journey into the Other World. 

Both books offer a mix of suspense and fantasy, appealing to readers who enjoy stories where young characters face extraordinary challenges.

6. “Splendors and Glooms” by Laura Amy Schlitz

“Splendors and Glooms” is a gothic fairy tale set in Victorian London, where the lives of three children intersect in the shadow of a nefarious puppeteer, Grisini. 

When Clara Wintermute, the only child of a wealthy doctor, disappears on her birthday, suspicion falls on Grisini and his two orphan assistants, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall. 

As they seek to clear their names, they are drawn into a world of magic, curses, and the fight for their souls.

Major Similarities: 

The atmospheric and darkly magical world of “Splendors and Glooms” parallels the eerie and adventurous spirit of “Coraline.” Both novels feature young protagonists who must navigate through a world filled with sinister forces and magical realities. 

The themes of courage, friendship, and the battle between good and evil are central to both stories, making this book a compelling choice for fans of Neil Gaiman’s work.

7. “The Wolves of Willoughby Chase” by Joan Aiken

“The Wolves of Willoughby Chase” is the first book in a series set in an alternate history of England, where wolves have migrated through a tunnel from Europe and terrorize the inhabitants. 

The story follows cousins Bonnie and Sylvia as they combat a villainous governess and a plot to steal their fortunes, showcasing themes of resilience, bravery, and the triumph of good over evil in a world where danger lurks around every corner.

Major Similarities: 

Much like “Coraline,” “The Wolves of Willoughby Chase” combines elements of adventure, danger, and the struggle against malevolent forces, all through the eyes of young protagonists. The setting is richly imagined, offering a backdrop that is both fantastical and menacing. 

The courage and determination of the characters in facing their adversaries echo Coraline’s own journey, making it a suitable recommendation for those drawn to stories of youthful heroism and fantasy.

8. “Small Spaces” by Katherine Arden

“Small Spaces” is a chilling middle-grade novel about Ollie, a young girl who discovers a creepy antique book that foretells a tragedy. 

When her school bus takes a detour into a misty field, Ollie and her classmates find themselves in an alternate world filled with scarecrows and a mysterious figure known as the Smiling Man. 

Ollie must use her wits and bravery to save her friends and herself from a fate worse than death.

Major Similarities: 

“Small Spaces” shares with “Coraline” a compelling blend of the supernatural and the courage of young individuals faced with otherworldly threats. 

The book’s ability to build a gripping atmosphere, along with its exploration of themes like friendship, bravery, and the battle against eerie antagonists, makes it a great match for readers who love the blend of horror and adventure found in “Coraline.”

9. “Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase” by Jonathan Stroud

“The Screaming Staircase” is the first installment in the “Lockwood & Co.” series, set in an alternate London infested with ghosts. 

The story follows Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent who joins Lockwood & Co., a small, independent agency run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. Together with their colleague George, they take on the most dangerous spectral investigations, uncovering deadly secrets and historical mysteries along the way.

Major Similarities: 

This book captures a similar essence to “Coraline” with its young protagonists, supernatural elements, and a setting that blends the everyday with the otherworldly. 

The dynamic between the characters, along with their encounters with the supernatural, offers a mix of humor, horror, and adventure. Fans of “Coraline” will appreciate the eerie settings, the theme of venturing into the unknown, and the characters’ reliance on their bravery and intelligence to confront dangers.

10. “The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making” by Catherynne M. Valente

This novel follows September, a young girl from Omaha who is whisked away to Fairyland by a Green Wind. In Fairyland, she encounters witches, dragons, and a host of otherworldly creatures on her quest to retrieve a witch’s stolen spoon. 

Along the way, September must navigate the complexities of Fairyland’s rules, making allies and enemies, as she discovers her own inner strength and the value of friendship.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Coraline,” this book offers a richly imagined parallel world filled with strange and whimsical characters. September’s journey is marked by courage, cleverness, and the pursuit of justice, mirroring Coraline’s own adventure. 

The novel’s blend of whimsy, danger, and the exploration of new worlds makes it a perfect match for readers who fell in love with the adventurous and slightly dark tone of “Coraline.”

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