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What We’re Reading: Behind the Bookcase

Post by Danielle Allison
Posted August 19, 2013 in NoveList Bookshelf, NoveList Plus

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Behind the Bookcase

by Mark Steensland

"Strange things are happening behind the bookcase..."

I spend most of my time reading either books for the very young (my son is 2 1/2) or teen fiction (a personal reading preference). Lately, I've been trying to broaden my reading horizons. Reviews likened Behind the Bookcase to Coraline, so I thought I'd give it a try. The plot is very similar -- a girl travels to an alternate world behind a bookcase and must save the world from plunging into complete darkness, as well as saving a few souls along the way. The main character, Sarah, always tries to do the right thing, even when it's slightly misguided. She seemingly gets herself deeper and deeper into trouble (with her younger brother getting sucked in, too) while trying to save the world. The suspense carried all the way through the book; I found that I was able to read it in almost one sitting. 

The characters were really great -- the monsters were creepy, without being too scary. Balthazat, who manifests himself as a talking cat, is actually a monster with smoke for hair and fire for eyes and some of the creatures have heads in the center of their bodies. The black-and-white illustrations displayed well, even on my e-reader, and seeing the creatures in drawings definitely upped the creep factor. All in all, this was a great horror story with just the right amount of gruesome detail. The scary experiences Sarah has in the alternate world make this book a page-turner, one tough to put down once you start reading! 

-- Danielle Allison, Cataloger.