Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Behind the Bookcase” as Want to Read:
Behind the Bookcase
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Behind the Bookcase

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  527 ratings  ·  105 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
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  527 ratings  ·  105 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Behind the Bookcase
Richard Cardenas
Feb 03, 2016 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
Meghan (TheBookGoblin)
Again I feel like while I would’ve enjoyed this as a kid, it just wasn’t AMAZING. I read so many great books as a child and this one probably would’ve been a bit of a let down even back then. Not enough description even for a middle grade and a rip off of so many other great books.
"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
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? ...more
3,5/5. An entertaining adventure in a crazy world full of strange characters. Of course, with this kind of book we always think about a kind of Alice in Wonderland type of book, and it's. I like the world a lot, the characters lack a bit off substance to be at a higher level and the story was really captivating for the first half, but in the second one, it kind of go round and around in circle for too long, it felts a bit stretch in my opinion, could have drop some fifty page and it would have b ...more
Apr 17, 2012 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
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. ...more
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A new favorite of mine, Behind the Bookcase follows Sarah's adventures as she discovers just what secrets her eccentric late grandmother left behind when her family comes to ready the house for sale. It's a story of adventure and discovery, of making mistakes and learning to right them, of family and trust.

Jun 23, 2013 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
Alfreda Morrissey
Nov 16, 2014 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
Nov 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
Is there gonna be a sequel? Cuz the ending SOOOOOOO did not feel finished.
Ms. Yingling
Jul 05, 2012 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 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
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
Margaret Boling
Nov 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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. Sarah se
Apr 21, 2012 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
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-lit, fantasy, ebooks
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
Just this, wow, such a magical book. Really hoping for a second book!
Feb 23, 2016 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 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.
Sandra Stiles
May 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you like creepy mysteries then I recommend this book to you. Sarah and Billy will be spending their summer fixing up her late grandmother’s house to sell. Sarah’s mother just wants to get things done and the house sold. She has never liked the house and she believes that her own mother was a little crazy. The reason it that Sarah’s grandmother used to tell some pretty crazy stories to her mom. While cleaning things out Sarah finds an unfinished letter from her grandmother. She states that “st ...more
I really did not like the story. It reminded me a little of the Phantom Toll Booth, but it was not as "fleshed out" as I felt it could have been.

"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 to help. But the tedious work turns into a thrilling mystery when Sarah discovers an unfinished letter
Linda Lipko
This is indeed a book that the juvenile aged person would relish. Filled with the mystery of an old, dilapidated home, spooky rooms, and sounds that go bump in the night, the pages will turn quickly for the young reader who longs to find what lies beyond the bookcase.

The grandmother of two has died, leaving the house to their mother and father. Traveling from California to Pennsylvania countryside, the children enjoy the mystery of the house with rooms of books and mystery. Their parents, howeve
Cynthia Egbert
Dec 28, 2016 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
Basically this reads as a detailed testimonial for why you should always have a death plan. Sarah's Grandma Winnie dies without one, and it throws multiple worlds into chaos, unleashes a very passive army of the dead, as well as setting up events to allow a vindictive dictator access to the ordinary world. So basically, make sure you talk early and often with your friends, family, and heirs about what should happen if you die.

Also: horrific transformations as punishment, questing adventures to m
Discounted | Simplistic for me, but likely good for the target audience | This is a bit too 'do A, then do B, now do C, and resolution D is here' for my taste, and the characters aren't really very nice kids. They're not *bad*, they're just kids I would decline to babysit because I wouldn't want to have to put up with them for a whole evening. But the concept is unique, and well built, and I'd read a sequel either involving the worlds behind the bookcases, or involving the job of assisting the d ...more
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 09, 2020 rated it liked it
I grabbed on this copy because of the wild illustration and not to mention the wonderfully put synopsis. Was I disappointed? Nope. But was it the best? Well... it started out great but got a way bit crowded in the middle. There were way too many characters to keep a track of and the story seemed to have some loose ends... for a fantasy fiction .. the books is good overall.
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee
  • Goody Hall
  • Dead Voices (Small Spaces, #2)
  • The City Born Great
  • The One and Only Bob
  • Bluecrowne (Greenglass House, #3)
  • All Your Twisted Secrets
  • Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror (Tales of Terror, #1)
  • Plot it Yourself (Nero Wolfe, #32)
  • Haunted Harvest: A collection of eerie poems to celebrate Halloween
  • A Mrs. Miracle Christmas
  • Tales of Terror from the Tunnel's Mouth (Tales of Terror, #3)
  • The Puzzle of You
  • Green for Danger (Inspector Cockrill #2)
  • Curtains for Three (Nero Wolfe, #18)
  • Pumpkinheads
  • Tales of Terror from the Black Ship (Tales of Terror, #2)
  • The Yellow Room Conspiracy
See similar books…
Mark Steensland 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. His award-winning films have played in festivals around the world. His novel for young readers, Behind the Bookcase, was published in 201 ...more

News & Interviews

Are you having a difficult time reading these days? If so, you're not alone. Since the pandemic began, I've found it harder to concentrate on...
35 likes · 12 comments