Books for Kids: Inn Between

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Inn Between
Roaring Brook Press / Raincoast Books
By Marina Cohen
208 pages
age 8-12

Synopsis from Raincoast Books:

Eleven-year-old Quinn has had some bad experiences lately. She was caught cheating in school, and then one day, her little sister Emma disappeared while walking home from school. She never returned. When Quinn’s best friend Kara has to move away, she goes on one last trip with Kara and her family. They stop over at the first hotel they see, a Victorian inn that instantly gives Quinn the creeps, and she begins to notice strange things happening around them. When Kara’s parents and then brother disappear without a trace, the girls are stranded in a hotel full of strange guests, hallways that twist back in on themselves, and a particularly nasty surprise lurking beneath the floorboards. Will the girls be able to solve the mystery of what happened to Kara’s family before it’s too late?

I know you’re not suppose to judge a book by its cover but the cover art on Inn Between is just what attracted me to this book. But it’s the story that will keep you reading. This is a story of friendship, grief, love and loss. It also delves into the world of the supernatural and the after life.

At the Inn, Quinn struggles with her sister’s disappearance, something we’re exposed to a little bit at a time through memory flashbacks. From these memory fragments we discover Quinn’s sister was abducted and begin to understand where Quinn’s guilt stems from. These feelings are only compounded when Quinn sees what she believes to be her sister at the Inn.

When Kara’s parents and then brother disappear from the Inn unexpectedly, Quinn believes the employees know what has happened but are keeping it a secret. The two girls are determined to escape the Inn Between and find help but all attempts are met with unusual circumstances, including a visit to the lower part of the Inn where creatures in disguise seem to live.

I loved this take on the after life, giving an interesting perspective on Hell without sounding preachy or too morbid. For a tween read I found myself drawn in to the premise, switching from tense to teary as I moved through the story. Inn Between isn’t a sugar coated happy ending, something I think many young readers are craving. The premise opens up an interesting dialog around limbo and what happens after death. It is a story I’ve encouraged all three of my kids to read.

Additional Reading: Outside In.

You can find a copy of Inn Between from Raincoast Books or your local bookstore. Visit our Kid’s Books section for other great book recommendations.

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