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Behind the Bookcase

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  383 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
A girl stumbles into a fantastic world in this tale perfect for fans of Coraline, Alice in Wonderland, and The Twilight Zone.

Spending the summer at her grandmother's house is the last thing Sarah wants to do—especially now that Grandma Winnie has died—but she has no choice. Her parents have to fix the place up before they can sell it, and Sarah and her brother, Billy, have
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 9th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
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Richard Denney
Feb 03, 2016 Richard Denney rated it really liked it

I enjoyed this one, it was dark, creepy, and magical. I loved how this was full of illustrations, it made it a lot more fun. However I felt like it was a tad too whimsical for me and started to confuse me at parts and even got a bit boring. I'll talk about it more in my wrap up. If you liked Coraline, Alice in Wonderland, and Spirited Away I'd say give it a read. :)

- Richard
Seriously, publishers really need to stop promoting books by relatively unknown authors by saying they are like very popular and/or classic and beloved books. It’s almost always an unfair comparison that raises expectations to unrealistic levels.

This book is only like “Coraline” or “Alice in Wonderland” in the broadest sense of type – a fantasy story in which a child magically enters a fantasy world.

This does not at all mean it isn’t a good story, it is! It simply means I believe it should be al
"Behind the Bookcase" was a charming read when considered as a whole. I loved the illustrations and the fact that it was an otherworld type story with a colorful cast of characters and creatures. Sarah's a 12-year old who arrives at her mother's creepy childhood home. Her grandmother passed away not long ago. Sarah's family cleans up the house in order to sell it. The house has many secrets, but notably, Sarah realizes there's another world beyond a bookcase that has a secret opening.

The story f
Apr 17, 2012 Kitty rated it liked it
To make a Behind the Bookcase cocktail

13 oz vintage Tim Burton
15 oz Alice in Wonderland
7 oz non alcoholic Philip Pullman
9 oz of Coraline

You may add several slices of Del Toro's version of Don't Be Afraid of the Dark to taste if desired.

Shake well in a cocktail shaker that your whole family can handle with ease. Mixture will make thirteen servings. Serve in your wickedest cocktail glass and garnish each with a sprig of Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita for fun. Best served at the strok
Alfreda Morrissey
Nov 16, 2014 Alfreda Morrissey rated it it was amazing
My kids LOVED this book. I have two young girls age 6 and 8. I was worried the book would be too scary for my youngest, but they enjoyed it immensely. Every time I would close it up for the night, they would beg for one more chapter. When I refused, they would ask me to at least read them the chapter title so they could guess what had happened next.

It did remind me of Alice in Wonderland, but I liked this better, because there was a purpose to the world. It was not just random weird things for t
Rebecca McNutt
More or less just a rip-off of Coraline and Abby Linford and Her Imaginary Friend, there's honestly nothing outstandingly-original or special about it. But I loved the title, it had so much potential! Who wouldn't want to read a book called Behind the Bookcase?
Preliminary thoughts: Not bad, but not the best either. I feel like it could have used some more work. I swear the characters left one location to go to the next every other page, and then they'd go back to the last location & so on. That felt completely unnecessary and made the book draaaaag when it should have been climaxing. And after all that, the book ends completely abruptly. It didn't tie up many loose ends that really could have been resolved in under 30 pages.
Nov 20, 2012 Bookworm007 rated it it was ok
Is there gonna be a sequel? Cuz the ending SOOOOOOO did not feel finished.
Jessica Hottman
Behind the Bookcase by Mark Steensland, has a great main character in it. Sarah Marie Steiner is a twelve year old girl from California. She has a brother named Billy and a mom and a dad. She is scared of the dark and often bickers with her younger brother Billy, who is much more brave than she is. Her grandmother Winnie, an eccentric lady from Pennsylvania, has recently passed away. She then travels with her family to her grandmother’s house to clean up the house and sell it. The story takes a ...more
Jun 23, 2013 Joan rated it it was ok
This is a first publication for this author and it shows. Some things limp in a way that I think a more experienced author might not have written, particularly in dialogue. Once you get past the first surprise of who is a bad guy, the rest of the characters is somewhat predictable in who is good and who isn't. I cannot give him a lot of credit for originality because the worlds are so clearly based on heaven and hell with a third world clearly based on Dante's Purgatory. Having the bad guy the t ...more
Ms. Yingling
Jul 05, 2012 Ms. Yingling rated it did not like it
Sarah and her family move into her grandmother's house in order to fix it up. It's creepy and decrepit, but has been for years, and Sarah's mother says it has always been that way, and there is even a locked door in the basement that the grandmother claimed lead to Penumbra, where the souls of the dead lived. There's a lot of creepy knocking going on, but the family blames it on the pipes... until Sarah is sucked into another world, called Scotopia. She meets Balthazat, who claims to be the King ...more
Maria Camp
Sep 29, 2014 Maria Camp rated it did not like it
Lacks character development. No real tension or magic. Disappointing.

The title and cover art drew me to this story; however, I considered abandoning the book several times. It just did not deliver. The characters were flat. I felt no tension reading it. I had to make myself finish it. I didn't really care what happened. Too predictable. Too much telling. Not enough showing. - "Sarah was terrified."

I didn't like the main character. She felt bossy and lacking in substance. Too easily misled. Kind
Margaret Boling
Nov 15, 2012 Margaret Boling rated it really liked it
Shelves: level-elementary
Had the chance to meet the author at a Barnes & Noble event in Cincinnati the first weekend of November - otherwise would never have found this solid middle grade book.

I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure - common trope of disappearing into another world; time stands still in our own. Also, the tension built well in the first third of the book. I kept waiting for Sarah to discover... As the book continues, Sarah discovers that she has to right the wrong that she unwittingly set in motion. Sara
Stephanie Cover2CoverBlog
Background: Sarah and Billy are brother and sister and have come to their grandmothers old house to pack it up to sell it with their parents. The problem is, that while there, the children find out that behind the bookcases are secret passageways to other worlds and that their grandmother had a very important job to do.

Review: Go get this book for yourself, your children, your grandparents, it is adorable and full of surprises. There are illustrations throughout the book and they just add to its
Apr 21, 2012 Anna rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-reader
This is an adorable little middle grade. After her Grandma Winnie passes away, Sarah goes with her family to restore her old house to sell. Her mom has never wanted to go visit because her childhood there was so creepy. When they arrive, Sarah discovers that her grandma had wanted to tell her things that she didn't have time to. She also finds a secret passageway behind the bookcase in her room. After making several mistakes because she wanted to do it on her own, she learns to accept help from ...more
Salma Issah
Like it!
Hmm . I don't really know what to think of this book except I liked it . I wonder what the author was trying to portray or tell us because believe me apart from the adventures, I got nothing. But it was different and kinda okay.
Overall, 3.5 stars.
Feb 23, 2016 Jay rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars.
This was very easy read with a unique plot!
Though it did contain the basic evil villain wanting to take over the world,it also included a huge range if unique characters and plot lines!
Sep 21, 2016 Ashlyn rated it really liked it
A great read for younger kids. This really captured my attention and took me on an adventure to a different land.
Just this, wow, such a magical book. Really hoping for a second book!
Cynthia Egbert
Dec 28, 2016 Cynthia Egbert rated it it was ok
I was so excited to get to this one and now I am rather sorry. While it had one line that I really appreciated, on the whole it felt disjointed and off somehow. And I really get tired of having every adult in a story be an absolute dolt.

The one quote that I did enjoy; "It seems so obvious to me now that this is a bad place, full of bad things. I wonder how come I didn't see that one I first got here." Jeb smiled. "If it makes you feel any better, I used to spend a lot of time asking myself that
Feb 19, 2017 Clark rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I actually finished reading this book days ago, but I was too lazy to write my review until now. I really liked this book. Actually, I was a little apprehensive because this was a middle-grade book and I was afraid it will be too juvenile for me. But I was pleasantly surprised that it was not too childish; it was sort of like Harry Potter without any wizards and witches. Kind of like the Narnia books actually.

I can totally relate to the main character, Sarah, in the sense that I also have a pesk
Feb 20, 2017 devin rated it really liked it
Oct 15, 2013 Eden rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Sarah's Grandma Winnie has died and for the summer, she and her family will be at her Grandma's house sorting things out. It's not the kind of summer she wanted, especially after seeing the house. But nothing can be done and she has to make the most of it.

It seems like a normal, run-down house, but Sarah learns the house has secrets. Behind the bookcase in her room is a door that leads to another world. Sarah can't believe it! There she meets a talking cat and other strange creatures. But soon s
May 30, 2012 Cathy rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, netgalley
Known to be something of a scaredy-cat, Sarah isn't looking forward to her family vacation at her grandmother's house, especially since a) her grandmother has died and b) her mom has such strange tales to tell about the stories that granny use to tell.

On settling in the house, strange things start to happen. There are sounds of knocking, but signs of who or what is doing the knocking. Dad blames the pipes, while Sarah thinks her brother, Billy, is trying to spook and annoy her.

Ordered to head up
Jul 02, 2012 Jane rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, children
In Behind the Bookcase by Mark Steensland, two kids go with their parents to the creepy house their grandmother lived in before she died. They are going to clear the house out and sell it. Sarah discovers the land of Scotopia behind the bookcase in her bedroom. There she meets a cat who identifies himself as the King of the Cats, as well as a walking hand with a large eye in the palm and a boy with only half a face. Sarah makes a terrible mistake and sets out to fix things. Along the way, she me ...more
Oct 02, 2012 Tiffany rated it it was ok
Shelves: children-s-books
Full disclosure: I read a free e-galley from Netgalley.

Full disclosure part 2: I didn't finish this book, but I've read enough to book talk it, so I feel that I can quit and move on to something better.

Sarah moves with her family to her grandmother's house so they can clean it up and sell it, since she recently passed away. The house has a strange feeling to it, and lots of little doors and noises that make it seem like it's hiding a secret. Well, it's hiding a doozy. Sarah's grandmother helped
May 05, 2012 Heather rated it liked it
After the death of her grandmother, Sarah's family packs up their car and drivs cross country to pack up her grandmother's belongings and sell the house. Sarah soon finds out that her grandmother's house is far more than your regular old house. She soon learns that she can travel to other worlds through her grandmother's house and finds herself on a dangerous mission to save multiple worlds from destruction.

Middle aged readers who enjoyed Coraline and Alice in Wonderland will love this story ful
Jul 05, 2013 Suzy rated it really liked it
This was a wonderfully creative magical adventure. It was exactly the type of book I would've loved when I was young. I enjoyed it even now as an adult. Mark Steensland has created some interesting worlds and unusual characters from cloud people to walking hands with one eye in the middle of their palms to creatures made of ink that can take any shape they like.

Secrets passageways in a creepy old house, revelations about the grandmother they thought they knew, and a desperate mission to save th
Jul 17, 2013 Collette rated it it was ok
This book doesn't break any new ground, and though it's not bad, it's not incredible either. The plot is predictable, and it resolves too quickly and neatly to make it really believable.
It's a creepier telling of several fantasy stereotypes remixed. The human characters are also the usual suspects...the middle-grade-aged girl, her annoying brother, her clueless parents, and a mysterious ancestor. The plot too: Relatives passing down mysterious objects, doorways into other worlds, transformation
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Mark Steensland was born and raised in California. He self-published his first book while in fourth grade, and has been telling stories ever since -- some of them true. He became a professional journalist at the age of 18, writing about movies for such magazines as "Prevue" and "American Cinematographer." He has also written, directed, and produced numerous award-winning films that have played in ...more
More about Mark Steensland...

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