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I Belong


Review: A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano

A Curious Tale of the In-BetweenTitle: A Curious Tale of the In-Between

Author: Lauren DeStefano

Genre: MG Fantasy/Paranormal

Series: Pram (Book #1)

Publication Date: September 1, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 240 Pages

ISBN-10: 161963600X (Bloomsbury)

ISBN-13: 978-1619636002 (Bloomsbury)

Reviewed by: Zed

Synopsis:

Pram Bellamy is special–she can talk to ghosts. She doesn’t have too many friends amongst the living, but that’s all right. She has her books, she has her aunts, and she has her best friend, the ghostly Felix.

Then Pram meets Clarence, a boy from school who has also lost a parent and is looking for answers. Together they arrive at the door of the mysterious Lady Savant, who promises to help. But this spiritualist knows the true nature of Pram’s power, and what she has planned is more terrifying than any ghost.

New York Times bestselling author Lauren DeStefano is beloved by critics and readers alike, and her middle grade debut is lyrical, evocative and not to be missed.

Quick & Dirty: An unusual girl who finds it easier to be friends with ghosts than the living.

Opening Sentence: Pram died just before she was born.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

It is not often that I read a Middle-Grade book, but A Curious Tale of the In-Between was the perfect comeback; it was both thought provoking and easy to understand. A curious tale is told from Pram’s perspective, a girl who can see spirits due to her extraordinary birth. Her mother committed suicide whilst pregnant but Pram was saved and raised by her two very odd aunts.

Pram took a fork to her cake, bitter with herself for having said something so strange. Death made people uncomfortable; her aunts had taught her this. The elders made people uncomfortable, too, and that’s why they were left with her aunts to be cared for.
The only ones that made Pram uncomfortable were the living.

Pram is the perfect young protagonist, she knows she’s unusual but she’s not afraid of her ‘gift’ and is very smart for her age. Although her aunts want Pram to be ‘normal’ above everything else, I found that they were the weird ones. They home-school Pram, give her desserts for breakfast and lunch and run a ‘Halfway to Heaven Home for the Ageing’ so most of Pram’s time is spent either with ghosts or old people. The aunts know that Pram is too mature for her age yet they refuse to give her the answers she deserves to know in the aim of protecting her. They should know she’s too curious for her own good but their quirky habits were endearing.

He didn’t like the way the woman stared. It was his belief that most people were cruel, or at the very least something of which to be suspicious, especially adults. Pram didn’t share in this belief, and that worried him.
There were few things more dangerous than trust.

As Pram gets older and her ‘imaginary friends’ don’t disappear, the aunts fear for her sanity and send her to school so that Pram can spend more time with kids her age. At school Pram meets Clarence, a lonely boy with piercing blue eyes, who is mourning the loss of his mother. I loved how Pram’s two best friends were a wandering ghost and a lonely boy. Pram helps both of them with her friendship but more importantly, they helped her too. Felix helps Pram in life threatening situations and keeps her company when she is most alone, whilst Clarence helps Pram understand her abilities and realise that the company of the living isn’t too bad either! Both friendships were equally important and I loved how this was portrayed.

“They’re making me go to school,” Pram said. “I don’t think it’s a very good idea. I’ve read about how cruel kids can be.”
“Are you afraid they’ll be cruel, or that being around them for too long will make you cruel?” Felix said.

The situation with Lady Savant was rather scary, especially when Pram moves further into the spirit world. For a short while I even wondered whether Pram could make her way back and whether it would be best for her to move on with the dead!

To conclude, this is an excellent story for younger readers, with a great balance of a paranormal storyline, action and suspense.

Notable Scene:

Pram was inside of her, already dead. But doctors aren’t put off by the finality of death. They believe it can be negotiated. If they can pull the right strings at the right time, they can make dead things breathe again. So Pram lived after all.

Pram Series:

1. A Curious Tale of the In-Between

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FTC Advisory: Bloomsbury provided me with a copy of A Curious Tale of the In-Between. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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