The Girl in Between

Sarah Carroll. Penguin/Dawson, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7352-2860-3
Carroll’s poignant and unsentimental debut, about an unnamed homeless girl and her alcoholic Ma, offers an unfiltered glimpse into the daily realities of life on the streets and, for much of the book, in an abandoned mill the twosome dub the “Castle.” The protagonist holds fond memories of the comforting routines of Gran’s house, where she and Ma once lived, going to school, sleeping in her own bed, and never being hungry; Ma’s drinking only minimally affected her. That secure life ends when Ma, for an unrevealed reason, fights with Gran and takes off with her daughter. Living in constant fear of run-ins with the “Authorities” who will take her away from Ma, and of a ghost she is sure haunts the Castle, the girl spends much of her time observing other people’s lives with a pair of cast-off binoculars and drawing on the Castle walls. Carroll is especially perceptive about the mix of deep love and anger a child bears for an abusive parent. The unsettling story’s chronological jumps make for an ambiguous, though moving, ending. Ages 12–up. Agent: Claire Wilson, Rogers, Coleridge and White. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/17/2017
Release date: 06/20/2017
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