The In-Between

The In-Between cover
The In-Between by Rebecca K. S. Ansari

by Rebecca K. S. Ansari
Walden Pond, 2021
320 pages

Ages 9-13

Cooper is angry. His dad left the family three years ago; since then, he has emotionally isolated himself from his mom and younger sister, Jess, who holds out hope that their dad will contact them. It’s just easier that way. But one day Jess comes to him with a mystery: She’s found an article about the 1928 Charfield railway disaster that left an unidentified victim, a young boy. On his jacket was a crest—the same one that’s on the jacket of Elena, the strange new girl next door who has a habit of silently watching Cooper from her front yard. A conversation with the tight-lipped Elena yields no information about this coincidence. Neither does a Google search, although the siblings discover two more historical disasters, each with a victim whose clothing bore the same crest. Even more alarming, Cooper, Jess (whose type 1 diabetes is essential to her character, if not the plot), and their new friend Gus are the only people who can see Elena. Have they been earmarked as victims in an upcoming deadly disaster? As the three attempt to solve the mystery and strategically outwit what they suspect is their fate, sibling relationships and friendships mend, grow, and become much-needed sources of support. This riveting supernatural mystery featuring a cast of characters presumed white is firmly grounded in an honest depiction of the trauma of parental abandonment and the healing power of being seen, validated, and loved. ©2021 Cooperative Children’s Book Center