A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren Destefanos is the first book in the Pram Series. Pram is a special girl born with an unusual gift: she can see the spirits of the dead. Most of her life that gift has left her rather isolated from the living but that all changed the day she meets Clarence, a boy from school who recently suffered the loss of his mother. Unbeknownst to the two friends, Pram’s talent has made her the target of a spiritualist plotting to steal those powers for herself.
Destefanos’ story is beautifully told. The time period is set ambiguously around the early, middle of the 20th century and the simple yet eloquent writing contributes to establishing a more innocent time. A Curious Tale of the In-Between is a sweet and engaging story of friendship and family. Pram’s two aunts are delightfully bumbling with their concern for Pram’s “oddness” which is balanced well by a sincere affection for her. Clarence and Pram’s instant chemistry is well introduced and believable, while maintaining a charming innocence.
In A Curious Tale of the In-Between death is a prominent theme, and it does contain several moderately intense scenes along those lines. The book shares a similarly macabre tone as Lemony Snickett’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, although it takes a lighter, more childlike approach. Overall, the A Curious Tale of the In-Between is a decidedly enjoyable read.
Review of an Advance Uncorrected Proof
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Bloomsbury USA
Violence/Gore: Pregnant woman hangs herself; many references to death and dying; reference to a woman dying in a car accident; a car “hits” a ghost; ghost uproots a small tree to scare an adult; adult hypnotizes a child without consent; child nearly freezes to death (twice); adult kidnaps children; adult puts child in a crate and throws it in a lake; adult puts child in a cage; adult uses magic to drug a child; child passes out after visiting the spirit world; (non-graphic) visions of children dying in a fire, child tied to a bed in a mental hospital, child drowning.
Sex/Nudity: Children hug and hold hands.
Mature Subject Matter:
Death, loss of parents, life after death, kidnapping, mental illness, supernatural.
Alcohol / Drug Use: