Airiz C's Reviews > Breathe

Breathe by Cliff McNish
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's review
Jun 16, 11

bookshelves: horror, young-adult, paranormal
Read on August 13, 2008 — I own a copy

I can best describe this kid’s horror/paranormal story by McNish as a cross between two of Neil Gaiman’s most popular children's books—Coraline and The Graveyard Book.

Basically this is the gist: asthmatic boy Jack and her mom moves into a big old house where ghost children Gwyneth, Ann, Oliver, and Charlie are incarcerated. Once they realize that Jack can see and talk to them, they start to ask for his help. Supposedly they should be crossing to the other side now, but the devilish Ghost Mother imprisoned them to feed from their spirit energy just so she can stay in the mortal’s world. If the spirit energies of the ghost children are emptied, they’re going to be claimed by the scary Nightmare Passage. Now here’s an itty bitty detail that rung a bell: Ghost Mother wants Jack to treat her as his own mother, and forget his real one. If the Ghost Mother doesn’t remind you of Coraline’s “Other Mother” I think you have a problem. And I don’t have to tell you what’s in The Graveyard Book that’s also present in this story, right? XD

Anyway, I liked how McNish deftly designed the dimensions where the spirits go after they shuffle off the mortal coil; I picture the setting quite clearly, and if I remember correctly it gave me a few goosebumps when I was reading the scene backdropped by that. I liked the scene where Jack calls to the Nightmare Passage to swallow up the Ghost Mother and then let everyone else who’s trapped there out. Quite suspenseful and it's reminiscent of the horror books I used to read as a kid. Makes me want to grab a few R.L. Stine's books, dust them off, and read them.

Recommending this to people who like a decent paranormal story.
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