cover image The In-Between

The In-Between

Rebecca K.S. Ansari. Walden Pond, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-291609-9

With this eerie, expertly crafted tale, Ansari (The Missing Piece of Charlie O’Reilly) explores grief, loss, and trauma—both personal and familial. Cooper, 12, feels overwhelmed, disconnected, and perpetually angry. Not only did his father abandon him, his mother, and 10-year-old sister, Jess, to start a new family, but Cooper is responsible for helping to manage Jess’s diabetes, an added duty that frequently frustrates him. When Jess persuades him to look into the mystery of Elena, the strange girl across the street, who seems somehow tied to a century-old tragedy, Cooper reluctantly agrees. The siblings also pull Cooper’s new friend Gus into the investigation, only to discover that Elena’s presence may herald disaster for them all. The fractious bond between Cooper and Jess and the easy friendship between Cooper and Gus give this story a solid emotional core that grounds it within its supernatural trappings. A spooky ambiguity regarding Elena’s true nature, meanwhile, paves the way for a deeper, more profound narrative when Cooper and the others learn the truth. Heartfelt and genuine, this one will speak to readers who feel invisible or overlooked. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Tina Dubois, ICM Partners. (Jan.) [/em]