A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano

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Title: A Curious Tale of the In-Between
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 240
Source: Copy provided by Penguin Random House Canada
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Overall: 5 STARS

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.

New York Times bestselling author Lauren DeStefano is beloved by critics and readers alike, and her middle grade debut is lyrical, evocative and not to be missed. 

My Thoughts: 
Raised by her two aunts in a two-hundred-year-old colonial house that also functions as a senior's home, Pram Bellamy has never had an ordinary childhood. She's a source of entertainment for the lonely elders, has a deep love for the works of Shakespeare, and her best friend is a ghost named Felix. Aunt Nan and Aunt Dee have never quite understood Pram's eccentrics, but they've always done their best to protect and shelter her.

Pram has always felt she's both living and dead, not exactly a normal thought for a girl who's nearly twelve. But then again, strange is Pram's normal. For as long as she can remember, she's always been able to interact with ghosts, but never the spirit of her mother. Unlike the reader, Pram doesn't know the tragic circumstances of her mother's death, only that she had been young, beautiful, and sad.

When Pram meets Clarence at school, they instantly feel a kinship to each other. They both understand what it's like to lose a loved one, to experience grief and longing for someone who's no longer living. Clarence became withdrawn and distant when his mother passed away a year ago, but Pram brings light back into his world. Aunt Nan and Aunt Dee are just relieved their niece has finally made a friend who's her own age. 

But trouble soon arrives in the form of Lady Savant, a mysterious traveling spiritualist who claims she can communicate with Pram's mother's spirit, which immediately leaves Pram wary. And for a good reason. Lady Savant knows Pram is a very special girl, and she has sinister plans to use Pram's gift to see ghosts.

Lauren DeStefano's middle grade debut A Curious Tale of the In-Between is a new favourite to add to my bookshelf and re-read again in the future. I absolutely loved the book! Delightfully charming, yet also darkly whimsical, A Curious Tale of the In-Between is a memorable ghost story filled with tender moments of friendship and family. There are difficult themes such as suicide, death, and abuse, but Lauren DeStefano has touched upon these subjects in a thoughtful, meaningful way that perfectly complements the paranormal aspects of the novel.

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