08 September 2015

A Curious Tale of the In-Between

Author: Lauren DeStefano
Series: Pram #1
Rating: 2.5 / 5 stars
Verdict: Borrow

Lauren DeStefano has a knack for taking brilliant story ideas and running them so far aground you don’t know what the heck you are reading anymore.  I feel like this story is no exception.  Meet Pram Bellamy, a cute, quirky young girl who can see ghosts.  One of her best friends, Felix, is in fact a ghost.  She also makes friends with Clarence, and they bound over the fact that they both have mothers that have died.

This part of the story, I loved, loved, loved.  I thought this was going to be a heart warming, and perhaps even heart wrenching, tale of two friends on a quest to find out where they came from, especially with Pram’s interest in finding out who her father is.  After all, though her two aunts care for her, she still feels like she is an obligation to them, and very much an orphan.  Maybe I can't relate to this sentiment exactly, but I sure as heck can empathize.

I could not have been further off base from the actual plot of this novel if I had tried.  And, I have to admit, I would have been much happier and I think the book would have been much more brilliant if DeStefano had gone the route I thought, and less down the rabbit hole into the paranormal/fantasy of stealing memories (among other things) and introducing a whole bunch of new characters while shying away from the ones she took the time to develop in the beginning of the novel.

I will admit, I like the moral of the story as it relates to Pram’s mother, father, and her aunts in the end.  But, unfortunately, the ending in this regard does not make up for the story I was expecting.  I think my issue is that the story becomes too fantastical.  Of course, you might say.  It has ghosts after all!  But I can suspend my disbelief for small doses of paranormal, which it why I really enjoyed the beginning portion of this novel.  But with the introduction of Lady Savant, and the way the plot forks and heads down a totally different direction after throwing her into the mix?  It feels more like DeStefano was going for cheap thrills with the action/suspense instead of the character study/emotion train I would have preferred.  Still, I can see why kids are going to like this book.  And I'll probably pick up the next in the series (I can't seem to stop getting sucked into DeStefano's crazy series), hoping the plot in a little more believable/relateable.

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