A Curious Tale of the In-Between, Lauren DeStefano (Pram #1)
Published: September 1st 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Hardcover, 240 pages
Source- ARC from ALA Midwinter Meeting
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.
I don’t really read middle grade as a habit, but something about the description for A Curious Tale of the In-Between called to me so I picked up a copy at the ALA meeting this winter. I am so glad I did because I just loved Pram. This was a fast read, but so well written and so emotionally huge that I think it is for everyone – certainly not just middle grade!
Pram’s mother died on the day she was born and she was raised by her aunts. Her father is a mystery Pram wants to solve – she has never seen him. When Pram’s aunts are forced to stop homeschooling her and send her to school she befriends another motherless boy, Clarence. This is a big step because until this time her only other friend has been Felix – who is a ghost that lives outside her house. Pram has to learn to how to give her friendship to more than one person at a time – while keeping in mind her two friends can’t even see each other.
Clarence and Pram begin to delve into the occult to find out what they can about their mothers and get caught up in something much larger than they anticipated. This pair made me smile with their innocence and my heart hurt for them as the book went on. Pram was brave and afraid, smart and foolish all at once – I loved her.
We need books like this to help kids (and adults!) remember that it’s ok to be sad, to miss someone who died, and that it’s ok to move forward and be happy too. Books like this make me SO EXCITED to read chapter books with Babycakes. Ok, so this one won’t be for my little one for several years – but I still can’t wait! This is definitely a book I’ll enjoying gifting to my friends’ older children for now. I am glad this is book one of a series because Pram is a girl I need to read more about.
Thank you Bloomsbury USA Childrens for this advance copy!