10 Books Like ‘Coraline’ | TheReviewGeek Recommends

Coraline by Neil Gaiman is a fantasy novel that explores a world of horror and wonder. The 2002 children’s book is about a young girl named Coraline Jones who moves into a new apartment with her family, where she meets a host of eccentric characters.

At first, everything seems pretty normal until young Coraline finds a secret door in her new room. It leads to a world that appears to be more perfect than her own world, including another mother and father. However, it is clear that this Other Mother is not who she says she is. Ultimately, Coraline must battle against the Other Mother to save herself and her family or risk being trapped in the other world forever.

Readers were pulled into the whimsical, yet horrifying, world of Coraline. This novel plays out like a fairy tale with our young protagonist lured into a world that seems perfect, but quickly discovers the horrors that are waiting for her. So, if you’re looking for novels that have similar sinister themes as Coraline, here are ten choices for you:

The Ocean at the End of The Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at The End of The Lane is a fantasy novel that tells the story of an unnamed man who returns to his childhood home and reflects on a magical adventure he had when he was seven years old. This novel is known for its magical realism and is similar to Coraline as it explores the darker themes of childhood, fear and loss in a way that captures the complexities and innocence of youth.

   Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

Fablehaven is a children’s fantasy novel about a brother and sister who discover a new world on their grandfather’s estate named Fablehaven. Fablehaven is a place where magical creatures live.

Like Coraline, Fablehaven has its protagonists facing evil forces that are beyond their understanding. Fablehaven also tackles the issues of coming-of-age and bravery in the face of danger, with a fairy tale feeling.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

This book is a fantasy novel that follows Jacob Portman, a sixteen-year-old boy who discovers a mysterious island and an abandoned orphanage where his grandfather used to live. As Jacob learns more about his grandfather’s past, he begins to unravel the truth about peculiar children with extraordinary abilities who live in the home.

Miss Peregrine protects the children from dangerous forces that want to try to harm them. While Coraline doesn’t have a protective figure for the main protagonist, it matches the sense of darkness and danger that the children face.

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents is part of the Discworld series, which follows the story of a group of animals led by a talking cat named Maurice and a boy named Keith as they run a scam to exploit humans’ fear of rats. However, their lives are turned upside down when they arrive in a town plagued by a dark power that threatens both humans and rodents alike. Facing the challenge head-on, Maurice and his company must use their intelligence to outsmart the dangerous ruminators and rescue the town from their clutches.

Pan’s Labyrinth by Cornelia Funke and Guillermo del Toro

There are many books that are similar to Coraline, but Pan’s Labyrinth is one of the best. It shares many of its themes and plot points with Neil Gaiman’s novel but has its own unique qualities that make it worth reading. In this dark fairy tale, readers follow a young girl named Ofelia as she moves with her parents to Spain during World War II.

She meets a faun who tells her that the faeries have chosen her to become their princess, but she must overcome some horrific obstacle before she can fulfil her destiny. If you are looking for something that matches the dark tones of Coraline, then Pan’s Labyrinth is what you are looking for.

The Riverman by Aaron Starmer

The Riverman tells the story of Fiona Loomis, a thirteen-year-old girl who claims to be able to travel to the fantastical other world called Aquavania. Alistair Cleary, her neighbour, is tasked with writing Fiona’s biography, but as he delves deeper into her stories, he begins to question their truthfulness and the nature of reality itself.

While Coraline is more explicitly focused on one girl’s adventure and the threat she faces, The Riverman is what happens when Coraline returns from the Other World. The Riverman explores the nature of storytelling itself and the impact that stories can have on our lives.

Jinx by Sage Blackwood

Jinx by Sage Blackwood is another book worth picking up as it fits nicely with the fairy tale theme. In a world that is filled with trolls, werewolves and witches, children are warned not to leave the path, and Jinx always had this fear. This is, until he meets the wizard Simon Magus.

While he knows that wizards are evil, Jinx can’t help but feel cosy in the wizard’s home. The longer he stays with the wizard, the less scared he becomes. However, Jinx’s lack of fear leads to him venturing further and further into the dangerous forest, and away from safety.

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

Gregor the Overlander is a children’s epic fantasy series that follows eleven-year-old Gregor. After his two-year-old sister, Boots, falls through an old air duct into the basement of their building, Gregor jumps in after her only to find himself in a mysterious realm called the Underland.  In the Underland, Gregor encounters a subterranean world filled with giant cockroaches, rideable bats and humans with violet eyes. Gregor and Boots are now in the middle of a war and with a new destiny.

This five book series has Gregor, in a similar way to Coraline’s adventures, discover and interact with a complex web of characters, while discovering more about himself and the people around him. 

The Witches by Roald Dahl 

Most of Roald Dahl’s children’s books could be placed on this list. However, the Witches is similar to Coraline. We have an unnamed protagonist who moves in with his grandmother. She shares with him stories about witches, who want nothing more than to kill human children. She tells him that witches will appear as normal human women, but there are ways of telling who is a witch and who isn’t.

The novel takes a dark turn when the young protagonist stumbles onto a group of witches at a hotel and must rely on his wits to defeat them. If you like the dark themes of Coraline, then The Witches is worth picking up.  

The Door by the Staircase by Katherine Marsh

This children’s fantasy novel revolves around 12-year-old Mary Hayes who lives in an orphanage. Unable to stand living in the orphanage any more, she jumps at the chance of being adopted by the mysterious Madame Z. Happy in her new life, Mary begins to explore the nearby town with her new friend Jacob.

However, she begins to learn some disturbing secrets about Madame Z which threaten to derail her life. Based on a Russian fairy tale, the mystery behind Madame Z’s true identity will fascinate lovers of Coraline. 

Overall, these ten books share similarities with Coraline in terms of themes, storytelling style, and the exploration of hidden worlds. If you enjoyed Coraline, you might find these books equally captivating. Have you read any of these books? Were there some books we missed? Did you love Coraline? Comment below and let us know! 

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