a curious tale of the in-between

HSL Book Deal of the Day 5.20.17: A Curious Tale of the In-Between

We reviewed this eerie middle grades ghost story when it first came out: A girl who can talk to ghosts makes her first real-live friend, and they quickly bond over the fact that they both have lost parents. She's never been happier—but her ghost-talking talent has been noticed by dangerous people, and her real and ghostly friends will have to team up if they want to save her. This is definitely more spooky and atmospheric than your typical middle grades novel, but kids who like that kind of story will be entranced by the adventures of Pram, Felix, and Clarence.

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New Books: A Curious Tale of the In-Between

A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano

Pram Bellamy can talk to ghosts. She knows that’s weird, that most living people don’t see ghosts everywhere they go, but Pram’s always felt like she straddles the space between the world of the living and the dead. Her best friend is a ghost named Felix, who lives in the garden of the house where Pram lives with her kindly aunts. 

She knew that the dead hid pieces of themselves in the world. They buried organs in the living. They stuffed memories into trees and clouds and other innocuous things.

But everything changes when Pram goes to school and meets a real, living boy named Clarence, who’s still mourning the loss of his mother. For the first time in her life, Pram has a living friend. Felix is jealous, but Pram thinks she’s never been happier. When Clarence finds out that Pram can see ghosts, he’s convinced that she can help him find his mother’s ghost—and in return, Clarence vows to help Pram down her absent father, whom she’s never met. But Pram’s unusual gift puts her in danger when she catches the attention of the mysterious Lady Savant, and Felix and Clarence will have to team up to save Pram from a fate worse than death.

I almost didn’t read this book because I really, really was not a fan of De Stefano’s young adult series Wither (I know lots of people loved it, but I was not one of them), but I’m so glad I picked it up. A Curious Tale of the In-Between is lyrical and lingering—the story moves fast enough to keep things interesting, which I think is essential for middle grades literature, but it’s full of opportunities to slow down and think deeply about what you’re reading. Pram, Clarence, and Felix are delightful, and I appreciate the way that they all have to learn how to be friends as the book progresses. The book isn’t scary, exactly, but it gets a little eerie in places, and touches on things like death and suicide—you may want to give it a quick read-through (and it really is a quick read) before passing it to your child.

More Spooky Books

Monday Pep Talk No. 12

home|school|life magazine's Monday Pep Talk has lots of fun ideas for planning your homeschool week.

Jump-start your week with our Monday pep talk, designed to make having fun a little easier.

3 fun things to do this week

Get sucked down the rabbit hole of Viking history on the History Channel’s website to celebrate Leif Ericson Day on Oct. 9.

Dig a little deeper into Byzantine history with the 12 Byzantine Rulers podcast. (It’s free!)

Use your kitchen time this week to teach everything from the big bang to Keynesian economics. (Some of these are a bit of a stretch, but that's what makes them so fun.)


3 ideas for this week’s dinners

Some people get excited about pumpkin spice lattes; I get excited about butternut squash, which is the star of this butternut squash and farro salad.

Give your regular roast chicken an international upgrade when you make roast chicken with Moroccan spices. (I’d serve a big bowl of roasted vegetables and couscous on the side.)

Just the thing for chilly evenings when you want the whole house to smell delicious: baked onions with parmesan and cream. (The recipe is number five on the list.)


one great readaloud


Get into the Halloween spirit with a spooky story about a girl who can see ghosts and a boy who want to solve the mystery of his mother’s death. A Curious Tale of the In-Between is just scary enough to be fun.


one thought to ponder

in case of emergency{ because sometimes you need something stronger than inspiration}