Two Middle Grade Book Reviews

These two books were fairly short and seemed to go together. I decided to do them both now in October, because they were both scary and creepy.

The Inn Between by Marina Cohen

From the cover you think this is going to be a sweet story about friendship. And on one level it is, but it quickly moves into the realm of scary and creepy, once they start to figure out the mystery around the Inn. Quinn is the sole narrator and she is a sweet girl, who has had to deal with tragedy far to young. She is trying to get over the death of her sister, which she feels responsible for. She is traveling with her friend’s family when they become stuck at an Inn and that is when the creepy stuff starts to happen. I’m not sure if kids will pick up on what is really going on until the end, but as an adult I figured it out pretty quickly. But that did not diminish my enjoyment of this story. The author does a great job of keeping you invested in the story and the mystery without making it too scary or unbelievable. Quinn and her friend Kara have a lovely relationship that will last no matter that Kara is moving far away from Quinn. Kara’s parents are kind and very understanding of Quinn’s grief over her sister and of losing Kara. Kara’s brother was a little bit of comic relief at times as were some of the other characters they encounter. A very well crafted story that will hold your attention and keep you wondering about reality until the end.

Guest: A Changeling Tale by Mary Downing Hahn

The master of middle grade spooky tales has done it again. This is a wonderful story that captures the myth of changelings and how scary fairies can really be. This is not a fairy story for those kids who think of them as helpful glittery things with wings, but for those kids who love and adore the evil side of fairies, or Kinde Folk as they are called here.

Mollie is a very brave girl and really believes that the Kinde Folk will return her brother if she just asks. She detests the changeling that her mother calls Guest and can’t wait to be rid of him. But as she journey’s with him through the Dark Lands she comes to understand him and his life as well. Mollie encounters a Traveler named Madog and his son Aiden who help Mollie find the Kinde Folk and get her brother back. Madog is kind and helpful and only wants to help them. Aiden is angry and resentful the whole time he is with them, and I was glad to see that he and Mollie did not become friends by the end. Not something you often see in Middle grade books.

The story moves pretty quickly except for a slow part in the middle, and will certainly keep you engaged throughout. There are some very creepy moments in the forrest as the Kinde Folk try to trick Mollie into giving up, but she is always either rescued from these traps or saves herself from them. The ending to this story was interesting and there was a twist that was unexpected. This is a great introduction to the other side of fairies and to the myths and stories that surround changelings.


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