Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Review: A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano

Publication Date: September 1st 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books
Length: 240 pages

Huge thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

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.

Lauren DeStefano’s writing is incredible. She writes brilliant, stunningly beautiful, unique stories and her writing just gets better and better with each published novel. So I knew that regardless of the age range this book was being pitched towards, I was going to love it. And I was right.

A Curious Tale of the In-Between is like nothing you will ever have read before, or indeed anything you will ever read again. The prose is haunting and lyrical, filled with unexpected pieces of beauty and my copy is littered with highlighted quotes that I fell in love with.

“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.”

It tackles difficult subjects, most pre-dominantly that of death with a deft and gentle hand. The story is at times creepy and downright terrifying, but it is pitched just right for middle grade readers. It offers a piece of solace for anyone who has suffered a loss, and offers a window for younger readers to talk about it and see it depicted in fiction. It is a unique book in that regard, and one that handles the subject extraordinarily well. It’s particularly poignant after reading the authors note about how this book came about.

I devoured this book in one go, falling in love with Pram and her little space in the world. The writing is, as I’ve said, stunning. 

“To lose one’s mother was to lose the beginning of one’s life story.”

The characters are fascinating and vividly drawn. I found myself being moved by this books in ways I wasn’t expecting, drawn in by the quiet and melancholy moments, the terrifying elements and the heart-warming relationships. It is an unexpected book, but utterly beautiful, and anyone who has ever suffered a loss (or indeed loves great writing) should pick this up. Do not be fooled by the middle grade age tag, this is a gem of a book that anyone will love.


  1. I want to read this just because Lauren DeStephano is so INCREDIBLY FUNNY on twitter. xDXD Seriously, I would just read a book of her tweets if it got published. Ahh, and I also love ghostly creeptastic books, no matter if their MG or YA. SO YEAH THIS IS FOR ME FOR SURE.

    1. Isn't she AMAZING. She's one of my favourite authors to stalk on all social medias. Plus her books are AWESOME. Like she crept up into my favourite authors and is now an autobuy for me. AND this is a super gorgeous book, so yes, READ AND LOVE IT.

  2. I want to pick this book up so bad. I wasn't actually a big fan of her YA series, but I follow her on Twitter too because she makes me laugh and because of this, I want to give her books another try. Thanks for the review!

    1. It's a beautiful book and something very different, so I really hope you enjoy it! Thanks so much for reading!

  3. I've never read anything by Lauren DeStefano, but this sounds really intriguing - it's one of those ghost-fairytales that I want to be beautifully ethereal. Yeah, I think I'll give this a try. SO PRETTY!
    Beth x

    1. It's GORGEOUS. I recommend all of Lauren's books though, because they are sly and brilliant and you think they're just going to be more run of the mill dystopian and then they slap you around the face with how awesome they are. This book is very different but equally gorgeous, and yes, PICK UP ALL THE BOOKS basically. I really hope you enjoy it! x