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A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren…
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A Curious Tale of the In-Between

by Lauren DeStefano

Series: Pram (1)

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Slightly creepy for a juvenile chapter book. ( )
  keindi | Apr 21, 2017 |
Pram has always been a little different. She was born dead - her mother committed suicide and doctors were able to save Pram. She's kind of straddled the world of the living and the dead. Her first friend, Felix, is a ghost. When her concerned aunts decide to send her to school she meets Clarence, who recently lost his mother. The two seek out spiritualists. One of them takes an interest in Pram, an interest in her powers, and soon her very existence is on the line. I read Far Far Away immediately before this book and there are many similar plot points.
A quick read. ( )
  ewyatt | Dec 21, 2016 |

Not every adult is immature enough to enjoy a middle school book, but this one sounded intriguing on Netgalley and had such high reviews here I had to try for it. Plus, I'm rather immature.

The 5 star rating reflects a children's book rating, so bear that in mind. For any age this is enjoyable, though, as the author has such a beautiful style of writing. It's like being sent back in time to English Gothic fiction but with a surreal, dreamy touch. Seriously, it's awesome. Her writing style is beautiful in its simple complexity, haunting in its theme.

Not a simple story for a child by any means - there are layers of sadness touching upon different circumstances and stages of grief. Someone who never knew her parents, a person who just lost their mother to death, a child who died and can't remember what it felt like to be alive.

Pram is a worthy heroine - imaginative, fun, compassionate - but not so to where it's simplified and cloying. Clarence is absolutely loveable and I can believe the sparks without the author having to paint the picture. Who couldn't love Felix? My anguish wondering about him was real when Pram herself worried.

The supernatural in the mix isn't normal for this kind of work but works perfectly to convey how death is an inevitable force that is simply seen here as the next stage. Attempts are tried to reconnect with lost ones but I'll leave out the spoiler whether that works or not.

If you have a child who wants to read, get them this. The imaginative world is craftily told in words that capture the mind as well as the story itself (and the possibility it opens) does.

Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: An unusual girl who finds it easier to be friends with ghosts than the living.

Opening Sentence: Pram died just before she was born.

The Review:

It is not often that I read a Middle-Grade book, but A Curious Tale of the In-Between was the perfect comeback; it was both thought provoking and easy to understand. A curious tale is told from Pram’s perspective, a girl who can see spirits due to her extraordinary birth. Her mother committed suicide whilst pregnant but Pram was saved and raised by her two very odd aunts.

Pram took a fork to her cake, bitter with herself for having said something so strange. Death made people uncomfortable; her aunts had taught her this. The elders made people uncomfortable, too, and that’s why they were left with her aunts to be cared for.
The only ones that made Pram uncomfortable were the living.

Pram is the perfect young protagonist, she knows she’s unusual but she’s not afraid of her ‘gift’ and is very smart for her age. Although her aunts want Pram to be ‘normal’ above everything else, I found that they were the weird ones. They home-school Pram, give her desserts for breakfast and lunch and run a ‘Halfway to Heaven Home for the Ageing’ so most of Pram’s time is spent either with ghosts or old people. The aunts know that Pram is too mature for her age yet they refuse to give her the answers she deserves to know in the aim of protecting her. They should know she’s too curious for her own good but their quirky habits were endearing.

He didn’t like the way the woman stared. It was his belief that most people were cruel, or at the very least something of which to be suspicious, especially adults. Pram didn’t share in this belief, and that worried him.
There were few things more dangerous than trust.

As Pram gets older and her ‘imaginary friends’ don’t disappear, the aunts fear for her sanity and send her to school so that Pram can spend more time with kids her age. At school Pram meets Clarence, a lonely boy with piercing blue eyes, who is mourning the loss of his mother. I loved how Pram’s two best friends were a wandering ghost and a lonely boy. Pram helps both of them with her friendship but more importantly, they helped her too. Felix helps Pram in life threatening situations and keeps her company when she is most alone, whilst Clarence helps Pram understand her abilities and realise that the company of the living isn’t too bad either! Both friendships were equally important and I loved how this was portrayed.

“They’re making me go to school,” Pram said. “I don’t think it’s a very good idea. I’ve read about how cruel kids can be.”
“Are you afraid they’ll be cruel, or that being around them for too long will make you cruel?” Felix said.

The situation with Lady Savant was rather scary, especially when Pram moves further into the spirit world. For a short while I even wondered whether Pram could make her way back and whether it would be best for her to move on with the dead!

To conclude, this is an excellent story for younger readers, with a great balance of a paranormal storyline, action and suspense.

Notable Scene:

Pram was inside of her, already dead. But doctors aren’t put off by the finality of death. They believe it can be negotiated. If they can pull the right strings at the right time, they can make dead things breathe again. So Pram lived after all.

FTC Advisory: Bloomsbury provided me with a copy of A Curious Tale of the In-Between. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Feb 23, 2016 |
A charming tale that doesn't shy away from its darker themes.

Pram (short for pragmatic) is an orphaned girl being raised by her two maiden aunts in a home for the elderly. The aunts hope that Pram will live up to her name, unlike her late mother, who killed herself before Pram was born.

Little do the aunts know that Pram's unusual circumstances have given her the ability to talk to ghosts. Her best friend is a ghost named Felix, who hangs out down by the pond.

But when Pram belatedly starts school, she makes friends with a living boy, Clarence, whose mother is also dead. Clarence's desire to make contact with the ghost of his mother leads the two children to an unsavory world of spiritualists, and into danger...

I think that this story would appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman's 'Graveyard Book.'

Many thanks to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for the opportunity to read. As always, my opinions are solely my own. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 161963600X, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:43 -0400)

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