01 September 2015

Review: A Curious Tale of the In-Between

A Curious Tale of the In-Between A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Probably closer to a 2.5.

Middle grade ghost stories can be interesting tales, and most of them either act as short stories or go toward the absurd/humorous. A Curious Tale of the In-Between attempts to go the creepy route, and to sometimes positive and sometimes negative results.

The tale starts with a parent who hangs themselves, and quickly there's the bridge or tear in the fabric that brings out the ghost that only Pram can see. It's believed to be an invisible friend, then becomes something a little more, and ultimately becomes the meat of the story. The setting itself is important to the overall tale, and lends itself to the creepy atmosphere that's coming across, and thus keeps it from falling into the expected tropes.

Why, then, am I so lukewarm on this? It's almost too dark in many ways, it feels like a book out of time in others. If this were published 50 years ago, I could see it as a classic, but it feels almost painfully outdated at times. I didn't find the story entirely satisfying, either, but I do realize this might be more my preferences for a book like this than anything else. I just don't feel like this entirely worked, and that the flaws aren't overcome by the good in the story. There are some cool magic things, and I like a middle grade book that takes chances, but on a whole...

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