Tuesday, February 2, 2016

REVIEW: A Curious Tale of the In-Between

A Curious Tale of the In-Between
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing, Inc
228 pages
Published September 2015
Review based on Advance Uncorrected Proof

Just as the title states, this is a very curious tale that deals with some pretty heavy topics -- death, suicide, mental illness, grief -- but in a magical way. Pram speaks to ghosts. From birth, she has been able to see them and talk to them. But, for whatever reason, she can't speak with the ghost of her dead mother. She lives with her aunts, who shield her from the truth about her mother's suicide. And she has her best friend, Felix, a ghost.

She meets a boy at school who has also lost his mother. She bonds with Clarence over their shared loss. The kids plan to find Pram's father, a sailor who might not know she exists, and also enlist the help of a spiritualist to allow Clarence to speak with his dead mother. But, their plan is in jeopardy because Lady Savant is not what she seems.

This is Lauren DeStefano's first middle-grade book. This eerie story teaches a lesson about love, loss and the power of friendship. Despite dealing with dark emotions and topics, the story is not scary. It is totally appropriate for middle-grades 4-7.

I very much enjoyed this book. DeStefano tells a beautiful tale that can't help but have an emotional impact on young readers and adults alike. It delves into serious subjects that affect kids - parental death, loneliness, and betrayal - without going too far. The end result is a lyrical, hauntingly beautiful story about a girl caught between the land of the living and the spiritual world.

My Rating: 8/10
Dark topics, but age appropriate.
Grades 4-7

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