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A Curious Tale of the In-Between
Contributor(s): De Stefano, Lauren
ISBN: 161963600X     ISBN-13: 9781619636002
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens Books
    OUR PRICE: $16.82  
Product Type: Hardcover - Other Formats
Published: September 2015
Annotation: Pram, a young girl who possesses the ability to talk with ghosts, helps a boy from school who wants to contact a lost parent and is targeted by a spiritualist who would use Pram's powers to achieve a terrifying goal. By the best-selling author of the Internment Chronicles.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Loss (Psychology); Fiction.
Psychic ability; Fiction.
Friendship; Fiction.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Horror & Ghost Stories
- Juvenile Fiction | Family | Parents
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2014035767
Lexile Measure: 690
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.75" H x 6.00" W x 1.25" (0.74 lbs) 228 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 177662
Reading Level: 5.2   Interest Level: Middle Grades   Point Value: 7.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q67764
Reading Level: 4.3   Interest Level: Grades 3-5   Point Value: 11.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s):

Lauren DeStefano is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Internment Chronicles and The Chemical Garden trilogy, which includes Wither, Fever, and Sever. She earned her BA in English with a concentration in creative writing from Albertus Magnus College in Connecticut.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2016 Spring)
Pram's pregnant mother committed suicide, but the doctors managed to save the baby. Eleven years later, eccentric Pram talks to the dead, and her best friend is ghostly Felix. When she enters the memories of the dead, Pram learns more about her own past, and Felix's, than she bargained for. Fans of Holly Black's Doll Bones may well enjoy this creepy, character-based tale.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2015 #5)
"Pram died just before she was born": her pregnant mother committed suicide, but the doctors managed to "pull the right strings at the right time" and resuscitate the baby. Eleven years later, intelligent and eccentric Pram has no living friends besides her aunts and the residents of the old-age home they run. She can, however, talk to the dead, and her best friend is ghostly Felix, whose jealousy is aroused when Pram finally befriends living classmate Clarence. Grieving for his own dead mother, Clarence persuades Pram to try to communicate with her through spiritualist Lady Savant, who turns out to have an unsavory interest in Pram's powers. Urged by Lady Savant to enter the memories of the dead, Pram learns more about her own past, and Felix's, than she bargained for. The voice of this dark but often funny novel is as pragmatic as Pram, matter-of-factly acknowledging truths its characters need to know, even when those truths are unpleasant (and in fact discovering that her mother committed suicide, rather than dying in childbirth as she had been told, helps to ease Pram's guilt). Fans of Holly Black's Doll Bones (rev. 7/13) may well enjoy this creepy, character-based tale. shoshana fla Copyright 2014 Horn Book Magazine.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2015 July #2)

In her first middle-grade novel, DeStefano (the Internment Chronicles) explores the connection between the human and spirit worlds. Since birth, Pram has been able to communicate with ghosts—her mother hanged herself while pregnant with Pram, and doctors barely saved Pram's life. Shielded from the truth about her mother's death by her caretaker aunts, 11-year-old Pram spends most of her time with books and her protective ghost friend, Felix, until she meets Clarence, a classmate at the school Pram starts attending. They bond over their motherlessness and set out to find Pram's father—a sailor who may not know she exists—and the spirit of Clarence's mother. Lady Savant, a spiritualist, promises to help them, but her true intentions endanger the living and the dead. DeStefano creates a beguiling world through haunting images and descriptions (of spirits, she writes, "There was a certain energy they carried, an urgency to be somewhere that no longer existed, or to do something that could no longer be done"). An eerie, moving story about "that murky place between this world and the one that comes after it." Ages 8–12. Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Agency. (Sept.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2015 August)

Gr 4–7—Pram Bellamy possesses a strange talent: she can see and hear ghosts. Unfortunately, her gift makes fitting in at school a challenge, so she prefers the company of her books and her ghostly friend, Felix. Then Pram meets Clarence, a lonely boy who has also lost his mother, and the two forge a friendship through their common bond. Just as Pram is beginning to embrace a more ordinary life, however, her extraordinary nature puts her in danger. The mysterious Madame Savant is more than willing to kidnap and murder to get what she wants—and she means to use Pram's abilities to fuel her own ambitions. Bereft of friends and family and struggling with powers she's just beginning to understand, Pram has to break free of her captors. DeStefano's story is startlingly dark, with mature themes of death, madness, and suicide coupled with a lively paranormal adventure. The author explores not only the mysteries of the beyond but also the impact of absent parents and the healing powers of friendship. While the emotionally charged narrative is less likely to satisfy those looking for a spooky thrill, more sophisticated readers will appreciate the vivid characters with rich internal lives. VERDICT Readers who enjoyed A.J. Paquette's Rules for Ghosting (Bloomsbury, 2013) and Grave Images by Jenny Goebel (Scholastic, 2013) will want to give this title a try.—Stephanie Whelan, New York Public Library

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