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Tin by Candace Robinson and Amber R. Duell
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The In-Between: 03/13/20

The In-Between

The In-Between by Rebecca Ansari is a middle grade urban fantasy about loss and disappointment. Cooper and Jess live with their mother on her income and the little bit extra their father sometimes send. Across the street an abandoned house has been fixed up and now there's a girl in a private school uniform who has taken to staring at them.

Jess, though, is intrigued by the across the street girl. She finds a connection between her school uniform and a mystery dating back to 1928. With more research Jess and Cooper realize that the girl's school uniform has appeared on the bodies of other children in other disasters throughout history.

At school, Cooper befriends a new kid, Gus. The two boys end up having a lot more in common than Cooper and his ex-friend Zack had. Through his friendship with Gus, Cooper is able work through his emotional trauma over the divorce.

In the background of this oddballs becoming friends tale is a narrative similar to Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie (2020). The main difference is that there are multiple events instead of just one.

In the run up to the climax all sorts of details come together in a very satisfying manner. I'm normally an observant reader but I was so focused on Cooper and Jess's story that I completely missed the bigger picture. Observant or not, the big reveal is as satisfying as the big mystery in in The Sixth Sense or Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane (2003).

How Cooper, Jess, Gus and the girl across the street interact and relate to the historic tragedies, can be mapped on the road narrative spectrum. This analysis will include spoilers.

Cooper and Jess are sibling travelers (CC). Their destination is the titular In-Between, a literal utopia (FF). Their route is the cornfield (FF) — or a golden field as described in final third of the book. Summarized the In-Between is about siblings traveling to utopia via the cornfield (CCFFFF).

Five stars

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