Coraline Book Summary, by Neil Gaiman

Want to learn the ideas in Coraline better than ever? Read the world’s #1 book summary of Coraline by Neil Gaiman here.

Read a brief 1-Page Summary or watch video summaries curated by our expert team. Note: this book guide is not affiliated with or endorsed by the publisher or author, and we always encourage you to purchase and read the full book.

Video Summaries of Coraline

We’ve scoured the Internet for the very best videos on Coraline, from high-quality videos summaries to interviews or commentary by Neil Gaiman.

1-Page Summary of Coraline


Coraline is a girl who has just moved into a new apartment with her parents. As she gets used to the area, she makes friends with her eccentric neighbors. Miss Spink and Miss Forcible live below Coraline’s apartment with their dogs, while above lives an old man who trains mice for his circus. Although Coraline’s parents work from home, she feels lonely at times and must find ways to entertain herself.

One day, Coraline decides to explore her own apartment. She is especially intrigued by the door in the corner of the drawing-room, which only opens onto a brick wall. One night while she is lying awake in her bed, Coraline hears a mysterious sound coming from down the hall. She investigates and realizes that the old door to the drawing room is slightly open. After her exploration, she experiences weird dreams. The next day, she experiences a series of strange events: first with Mr Jones (her neighbour) who tells her not to go through that particular door; then with Miss Spink and Miss Forcible (the women living below). They warn her about danger lurking behind one particular door – something exciting!

The next day, Coraline is left alone in the house while her mother goes shopping. She gets bored and lonely and decides to take the keys and go into the empty drawing room. She unlocks the blockaded door, only to find that there are no bricks behind it anymore. Coraline walks through the door and heads down a dark hallway. The hallway looks exactly like hers at home with similar pictures on the walls, carpeting on the floor, etcetera. Coraline hears a voice that sounds as if it belongs to her mother. She follows this voice until she reaches a corridor where she sees an identical version of herself standing before her own mirror dressed in very old-fashioned clothing from another era—the 19th century Victorian Era of England (1800–1900).

Coraline finds a woman in her house that looks like her mother, but she is taller and thinner. She also has buttons instead of eyes. Coraline then goes outside to explore the other world and encounters a cat. The cat doesn’t seem to be friendly at all, so Coraline enters Miss Spink and Miss Forcible’s apartment.

Coraline finds that her apartment has been transformed into a theater, and one of the neighbor’s black Scottie dogs asks Coraline for a “ticket” to the show. Miss Spink and Miss Forcible then shed their recognizable skin and emerge as thin pale women with black button eyes. The performance is strange, but Coraline is scared by the characters in the alternate world. Her other mother and father tell Coraline that she can stay in this world forever if she replaces her eyes with black buttons. Terrified, Coraline returns back to the real world, but she finds that her parents have gone missing after receiving a message from them saying they need help because they’ve been captured by evil beings who want to do bad things to them. After getting another message from them saying they’re going to be killed unless she saves them immediately, Coraline must rescue her parents from an alternate dimension before it’s too late.

After Coraline begins to investigate the other world, she realizes that her other mother has trapped children in it. In order for everyone to be set free, Coraline must find three missing souls and her parents. She searches for each of them while facing challenges along the way. Although she faces many obstacles, she finds all three missing souls and discovers that her parents are trapped in a snow globe on the mantelpiece.

Coraline had to defeat the evil other mother in order to save her parents. She was able to do this by completing three challenges and escaping from the other world. After she saved her parents, Coraline realized that they never noticed that she went missing. In a dream, Coraline saw that the other mother’s hand escaped into our world and is still alive. So, she traps it in a well after defeating it once again. The book ends with Coraline visiting neighbors who acknowledge that balance has been restored because of the disappearance of their enemy (the other mother).

Coraline Book Summary, by Neil Gaiman