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A Curious Tale of the In-Between Hardcover – September 1, 2015
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From School Library Journal
“Readers will be hooked from the first line of this lyrical and suspenseful mystery/fantasy (part thriller too) of a brave and compassionate girl. . . . DeStefano artfully concocts a moving and multilayered tale that is an effective mix of genres and tones, at times contemplative and philosophical yet also macabre and psychologically sophisticated. Love, loss, and hope are at the heart of this exciting read.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“The perfect book to hand to readers looking for the mysterious and spooky.” ―Booklist
“DeStefano creates a beguiling world through haunting images and descriptions. . . An eerie, moving story about 'that murky place between this world and the one that comes after it.'” ―Publishers Weekly
“Startlingly dark. . . Sophisticated readers will appreciate the vivid characters with rich internal lives. Readers who enjoyed A.J. Paquette's Rules for Ghosting and Grave Images by Jenny Goebel will want to give this title a try.” ―School Library Journal
“The voice of this dark but often funny novel is as pragmatic as Pram, matter-of-factly acknowledging truths its characters need to know, even when those truths are unpleasant. . . Fans of Holly Black's Doll Bones may well enjoy this creepy, character-based tale.” ―The Horn Book
“A harrowing debut. . . . DeStefano has an observant eye.” ―Publishers Weekly on WITHER
“A concoction of tension and love with a cliff-hanger ending.” ―School Library Journal on PERFECT RUIN: THE INTERNMENT CHRONICLES BOOK 1
“DeStefano has created a perfect storm--intertwining plot, characters, and setting beautifully. . . . This is a page-turner, and waiting for the next book will be hard, hard, hard.” ―Booklist on PERFECT RUIN: THE INTERNMENT CHRONICLES BOOK 1
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She lost her mother when she was born and she has a father she has never met. This alone sets her apart from other children. She is homeschooled until her aunts are forced to send her to school where she meets her first real friend, Clarence. Clarence and Pram form an instant bond as they both lost their mothers. Clarence longs to get closure and to say goodbye to his mother and takes Pram along with him to seek answers from spiritualists. Pram takes Clarence along when she decides she needs to meet her father. These fast friends support each other through their darkest times and come to trust each other as truths are revealed and their safety is on the line.
This is a book you just can’t put down, whether you are a young child or adult. This is obviously written for younger readers but it’s a wonderful story that will work its way into your heart. These characters are believable and lovable. The storyline is part reality, part magic and that’s what I love about it the most. Magical realism ROCKS! One word of caution for sensitive children: this book touches on suicide and obviously death and the hereafter. I think its fine, but everyone knows their own child best. I’d say this one would be good for ages 11 and up.
The 5 star rating reflects a children's book rating, so bear that in mind. For any age this is enjoyable, though, as the author has such a beautiful style of writing. It's like being sent back in time to English Gothic fiction but with a surreal, dreamy touch. Seriously, it's awesome. Her writing style is beautiful in its simple complexity, haunting in its theme.
Not a simple story for a child by any means - there are layers of sadness touching upon different circumstances and stages of grief. Someone who never knew her parents, a person who just lost their mother to death, a child who died and can't remember what it felt like to be alive.
Pram is a worthy heroine - imaginative, fun, compassionate - but not so to where it's simplified and cloying. Clarence is absolutely loveable and I can believe the sparks without the author having to paint the picture. Who couldn't love Felix? My anguish wondering about him was real when Pram herself worried.
The supernatural in the mix isn't normal for this kind of work but works perfectly to convey how death is an inevitable force that is simply seen here as the next stage. Attempts are tried to reconnect with lost ones but I'll leave out the spoiler whether that works or not.
If you have a child who wants to read, get them this. The imaginative world is craftily told in words that capture the mind as well as the story itself (and the possibility it opens) does.