The Inn Between by Marina Cohen

If you were a fan of Suzanne Young’s Hotel Ruby, meet its middle grade counterpart: The Inn Between by Marina Cohen.

inn betweenThe Shining meets “Hotel California” in this supremely creepy middle grade novel about the bizarre things that happen to two girls stranded at a desert inn.

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?

Is it possible for a book to be both creepy and kid-friendly? If so, The Inn Between is perhaps the definition of such an unlikely combination. The publisher’s description of “The Shining meets ‘Hotel California'” — one also used to describe Suzanne Young’s YA novel Hotel Ruby — is apt. But unlike Young’s book — which is most certainly a book for teens and older readers — The Inn Between strikes a balance between the macabre and what’s appropriate for middle grade readers.

That’s not to say that the creepiness is lacking; even as an adult, I made sure all the lights were on while reading The Inn Between … because it definitely gave me the heebie jeebies! But the book also does an excellent job of telling the story from a younger perspective; we see what’s really at stake for Quinn. Friendship and family; love and loss. That’s something I found so lovely about this book: it’s more than just a creepy ghost story; there are layers to the plot that unfold beautifully as the story progresses. We see a depth and complexity not often found in characters so young.

Look for The Inn Between in stores March 22nd.


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