Knowing that A Curious Tale of the In-Between was a middle-grade book, I went into this book knowing I may not get the same supernatural effect as a YA book would give off. The concept of the book seems fantastic: a girl who can talk to ghosts. I love reading about kids with supernatural abilities and there’s even a hypothesis floating around that says children are more susceptible to seeing ghosts. Hmmmm… How fascinating…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.
A Curious Tale of the In-Between was such a cute yet chilling supernatural story that I read in a matter of hours! It was much darker than I was expecting it to be. Like Neil Gaiman’s, Coraline, DeStefano creates a world and a storyline that can be read by any age group. I’m 21 and I found the story to still be slightly creepy!
I loved how Pram was 11/12? (correct me if I’m wrong) years old and she was written to be a mature character. Of course, not all 11/12-year-olds are completely immature but there was a certain mature air to Pram and how she just upped and left to go and look for her Father, that made her a brilliant character. I also loved the character of Clarence, the way he was pulled into Pram’s journey and wanted to look for his Mother, and I adored how understand Clarence was of Pram’s ability to see and talk to ghosts; he was so supportive, it nearly made me cry.
“He was now working his way through the many shades of grief. Sadness made everything gray, he’d learned, but there were different types of gray, some darker than others. There were dark spots in his memories he wasn’t brave enough to enter.”
― Lauren DeStefano,
Speaking of ghosts… Felix! Felix is a ghost that Pram has known ever since she was a little girl so of course, I can understand Felix getting slightly jealous that Clarence was now in Pram’s life, but sometimes, his jealousy came across too strong and petty. However, my point of view of that completely changed when he did something incredible for Clarence. I was so proud of him and happy that he did it.
DeStefano doesn’t shy away from the darker themes in the book and writes them in such a way that makes them so captivating and definitely adds more layers to the characters. One of the things that I absolutely loved about this book was how the story of Pram’s Mother was entwined with the rest of the story and we were slowly given pieces of information about Pram and her family.
Overall, I think this is an amazing book and even though it was slow at first, the pace definitely picked up and tugged on so many heartstrings. DeStefano writes the ghost story very well and I can’t wait to read her other middle-grade novels!