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The Dark Between Library Binding – August 27, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up-When Kate Poole loses her job assisting a medium in defrauding grieving Spiritualist believers out of their money at the turn of the 20th century, the orphaned British teen has nowhere to turn. She seeks out lodging at Summerfield College, run by Mr. Thompson, who used to be good friends with the father who could not openly acknowledge her birth. Kate meets Thompson's niece, Elsie, who is suffering a strange condition that has her hooked on the same drug that killed Kate's mother, and Asher Beale, a young man estranged from his American father. The teens have each come to the college to escape the past, but they find their futures entwined as they investigate the death of Kate's friend, Billy. Reality and seemingly impossible phenomena begin to blend as Elsie discovers that without the dampening effects of her medication, she is able to communicate with the dead. Strange visions, photographic clues, and research into the local group of fringe scientists lead the teens to discover a real murderer preying on the dregs of society for his own nefarious purposes. Telepathy, communication with the dead, and electroshock therapy are all explored by the scientists and scholars in Kate Poole's town. The blending of the empirical and the ethereal creates a vivid and intriguing backdrop for this murder mystery. The teens are fully developed characters with well-defined motives for their actions, and the story will evoke empathy from readers.-Jessica Miller, West Springfield Public Library, MAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Elsie, Kate, and Asher all have secrets to hide. But when they find themselves in the midst of an investigation into a series of unusual deaths at Summerfield College in Cambridge, they need to learn to trust each other as they work together to uncover the truth behind the deaths at the Metaphysical Society, whose members are dedicated to learning about the intricate, enigmatic goings-on of the human brain and its connection to psychic phenomena. As the teens search through the seedy underbelly of early-twentieth-century Cambridge, they discover a corrupt element of the organization whose research into the use of electricity to achieve psychic states has been used on misfortunate street urchins and vagrants. Adding to the paranormal elements are Kate’s career as a “spirit apparition,” their experiments with spirit photography, and Elsie’s apoplectic episodes, which allow her to communicate with the dead. Gensler (The Revenant, 2011) imbues her latest with plenty of information on the history of psychic research as well as a healthy dose of romance. Grades 9-12. --Sarah Hunter --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 0730 (What's this?)
  • Library Binding: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (August 27, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375967028
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375967023
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Sonia Gensler grew up in a small Tennessee town and spent her early adulthood collecting impractical degrees from various Midwestern universities. A former high school English teacher, she now writes full time in Oklahoma and spends summers in England.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Evie Seo TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Set in 1901 Cambridge, England, The Dark Between is a beautifully written and delightfully atmospheric Gothic murder mystery that follows the adventures of three extraordinary teenagers as they investigate the mysterious death of a friend.

Sonia Gensler's new book is a magnificent work of fiction. I loved every page of it. Revolving around spiritualism and seances - two subjects I find extremely fascinating - The Dark Between is quite eerie and dark, but also very fun to read. And the fabulous cast of colorful characters makes this book even more entertaining and absorbing. Kate, Elsie and Asher are so very different from each other, and yet they make such an awesome team! I can't tell you which one of these wonderful characters I liked the most. One thing for sure, I connected with all of them. Kate's background story was probably the most heartbreaking one and I often found myself wanting to hug her, protect her, comfort her (not that she needed that, she was so tough and brave!). The beautiful and fragile Elsie was equally fascinating, though not nearly as strong and sassy as Kate. Asher was the perfect gentlemen - at least until you got under his skin - charming, protective and chivalrous. They all have dark pasts filled with secrets, they're all running away from something, and they're all real and three-dimensional. I loved watching them interact with each other and thought the dynamics of their relationship was crackling with sweet chemistry!

I loved, loved, loved the historical backdrop, as well as the lushly described settings! Sonia incorporated enough period detail into her story to make you feel like you were there, right in the middle of it all, breathing the same air as her characters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By claudia swisher on August 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was able to score an advance copy of the book, and my students and I read and loved this book. I now own a fancy hardback's that good.

Had to wait to review this since a student grabbed it out of my hands as soon as I read it. She just finished and the two of us have promised to buy all the copies at our local bookstore IF Sonia Gensler starts working on the sequel. NOW! Yesterday!!

Kate, Asher, Elsie. No more different three young people, and yet here they are, at Summerfield College in Cambridge. Each has a connection to the popular world of Spiritualism, and each is trying to run from a painful past.

The atmosphere of Summerfield is a character in and of itself -- mysterious, evocative. Menacing and nurturing. Sonia creates mood through setting as well as any author I know.

We see the concept of Spiritualism from several different points of view, and we are left to make up our own minds about the truth of messages from the dead. I love the plausibility of the explanations and discussions.

I gravitate to character, and there are so many to love. Kate...alone in this world, willing to work hard, no-nonsense. Kate, who thinks the best of everyone, even though she's been treated badly by this world. Kate is smart and sassy and willing to take risks.

Asher, so sad and confused. Running away from a father whose ideas Asher must reject, just as he rejected the man. Uncertain of his appeal, dazzled by the wrong girl for the wrong reason. Unbending in his beliefs, but so willing to help a friend.

And Elsie...maddening, fragile Elsie. Her own mother drugs her rather than believe Elsie's claims of being able to communicate with the dead. Love-sick Elsie who doesn't see her own power and influence.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Kehoe on October 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover
My wife couldn't put this book down and said I "just had to read it". While I may not gravitate to stories dominated by young characters "The Dark Between" is written in a style that makes following them quite intriguing. The subjects tackled here were very interesting to me, spiritualism, medical experimentation e.g. shock therapy and disadvantaged youths surviving in an adult world. All the characters are well drawn and the pace quickens as the story evolves. Sonia Gensler has written a very solid story that will appeal to anyone who likes character driven drama. I would certainly recommend this book and now that I have read The Revenant would recommend that one as well.
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By Amazon Customer on September 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This is the complete review as it appears <a href="">at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV</a>. Blog reviews often contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates or modifications to the blog review be replicated here. Graphic and children's reviews on the blog typically feature two or three images from the book's interior, which are not reproduced here.

Note that I don't really do stars. To me a book is either worth reading or it isn't. I can't rate it three-fifths worth reading! The only reason I've relented and started putting stars up there is to credit the good ones, which were being unfairly uncredited. So, all you'll ever see from me is a five-star or a one-star (since no stars isn't a rating, unfortunately).

I rated this book WORTHY!


This is the first of a pair of reviews on Sonia Gensler's work, the first two of her novels that I've ever read, and it speaks highly of her writing that after I'd read this one, I immediately started tracking down other books by this writer. She seems to have made this genre her specialty, but unfortunately, the second one I read, The Revenant was far less satisfying.

This novel reminds me a lot of Haunting violet by Alyxandra Harvey which I favorably reviewed back in May 2013. It has that same 'medium working with a younger female assistant who helps perpetrate fraud, and the subsequent exposure and consequences' as this one does, although the two are different stories.
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