Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Distiller: Hikari Loftus
4.5/5 Stars

A Curious Tale of the In-Between (Pram #1)
by Lauren DeStefano
Bloomsbury USA Childrens (September 1st 2015)
240 pages

Pram Bellamy leads a curious life. For a girl who can see and talk to ghosts, it’d be hard to call her life anything but that. Orphaned, home-schooled, and living in a 200 year old home for the elderly with her aunts, the only real friend Pram has ever had is the ghost, Felix.

But when Pram meets Clarence, a very living boy, who is looking for answers about his deceased mother, the two encounter a spiritualist, Lady Savant, who claims she can contact and see ghosts too. It’s just that the road Lady Savant takes is more dangerous than the pair could ever imagine.

The writing in this middle-grade read is absolutely lovely. It reminded me a little bit of Neil Gaiman’s “Coraline”, as it’s a little darker and scarier with it’s other worldly dealings. Having said that, I feel like I should say that it’s not the ghosts that are scary or cruel. It’s the living that take that role. The ghosts are depicted as friendly throughout the entire tale.

When you deal with ghosts, you also inevitably must deal with death. While the manner of deaths are glossed over pretty harmlessly, I would probably recommend this for older middle-readers. Possibly 10-12. (We like Tim Burton and peculiar things in our home, so I could see myself letting my daughter read this at whatever age she wanted. I just know some parents like to know info like that.)

I loved the characters in this. I felt like Pram was an excellent character for young girls to read about. She’s smart and kind, and figuring out how to have a life among her peers, when she feels she is so strange and different. 

I thought this was beautifully written, thrilling, creepy, and full of wonderful themes like love and friendship. I recommend this for any age, as I myself really loved it. Looks like there will be a second book to follow this one this year and I will definitely be reading it. Very much enjoyed this little curious tale.


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