A Curious Tale of the In-Between (Pram #1) by Lauren DeStefano
Pub. Date: September 1, 2015
Source: e-ARC via netgalley (Thank you, Bloomsbury!)
Summary: 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.
Genre: Middle Grade, Paranormal
Oh, Middle Grade. Oh, my heart. While I haven’t read DeStefano’s Chemical Garden or Internment Chronicles series, the second I came across this one – a Middle Grade novel about a girl who can talk to ghosts – I was utterly charmed. And because of that, this review will be less SRS CRITICISM and more whee ghosties.
From the very first paragraph I was hooked: Pram had already died once before she was even born. While still pregnant, Pram’s mother committed suicide, and by the time she was lowered from the tree Pram was also dead. Miraculously she was revived but since then Pram has had a special ability: she can see things no one else can. Now, living with her aunts (for she never knew her father, a sailor), she spends her days out by the lake with her best friend Felix. Because Felix is a ghost, Pram’s aunts have simply assumed for years he was nothing more than an imaginary friend…but now Pram is getting older, too old to still be playing with figments of her imagination and the decision is made to send her to school.
While at school, Pram meets a boy. Clarence has also lost his mother and is determined to find a way to make contact with her. Together they find themselves at the door of a mysterious woman who claims she can contact the spirit world. Little do they know what’s in store for them.
I’ve been holding off on reviewing this one for a few weeks now. While I absolutely adored this book, there really isn’t much to say and for that reason I kept putting off writing down my thoughts. Please don’t get the wrong idea though – everything about A Curious Tale of the In-Between was wonderful, there simply isn’t much more I have to say apart from how much I enjoyed it.
Lauren DeStefano wrote about painful and scary topics like suicide and loss and she did so with grace and respect. In her author’s note she discusses how this book came to be and it makes it all the more lovely and bittersweet. While I completely agree with other reviewers that younger readers shouldn’t read this one alone (subject matter for one, and, well…it can be a bit scary too!) I still highly recommend it to readers of all ages and at a time when I’m craving standalones, I couldn’t be more thrilled that this one is a series!