"Pram died just before she was born"
Is that not a great line to open a new series about a young girl who sees ghosts? I haven't really loved anything of DeStefano's I have read up until this point but that first line pulled me right into this story. The writing style continues in this fashion. It is delightfully whimsical and perfect for a middle grade novel.
Pram is a wonderful new character. She is curious and sweet but very cautious and will definitely appeal to young readers, especially those who might prefer the company of books to people (as I did as a child). As an orphaned child raised by her spinster aunts, she questions her place in the world and begins searching for a trace of the father she never knew. Pram is joined by Felix, the ghost boy who lives outside her home and has watched her grow up and Clarence, her first real, living friend. Clarence is still reeling from the death of his mother. He and Pram set out to find her ghost and, along the way, encounter Lady Savant, a medium who takes an unhealthy interest in Pram. When she lures Pram away with promises of messages from her long dead mother and information on the father she has never known, the story takes a dark turn and Pram must push her powers to lengths she never dreamed of, or give them up forever.
The first half of this novel is extremely charming, introducing us to Pram and her world. I loved that she sees the ghosts not only of people but also animals and insects. This small detail added a whimsical new layer to an old theme. We are also treated to a sweet, age appropriate romance. The second half of the novel is exciting and a little bit scary. There are points where I really feared for Pram's well-being and a few surprises that I didn't see coming. Lest you think this is just another straight-forward, middle grade novel, there is also a great deal of introspection as Pram sees exactly what motivated Lady Savant and proposes that even the villain of the story has more to her story.
Bottom Line: A Curious Tale of the In-Between is a promising start to this new series. I can't wait to read more about the little girl who talks to the dead.