I had the pleasure of reading the ARC for this book by S. J. Henderson. In one night, I had completed the book and next morning I had told myself, I going to buy me a copy when she publishes it.
Now that it is available on Amazon, I have bought my copy and re-read it, again, within a single night.
I have read many young adult books paranormal/supernatural elements (Yes, I am not ashamed of my mind range of 3-60 years stuck in the body of a 34-year-old woman, I read everything I want to. Don’t judge me.) The heroine of this book is not a fairy-tale princess waiting for love, or a shoe. In the Middle highlights on the issue of diversity in a different way, with a scarred and battered female lead. No wall flower or picture perfect babe here. Lucy or Lucille (she hates that name, poor dear), was once an average teenager, attractive and well-loved by friends and family. One night of an unexpected and very much unwanted event changed her life.
The author hooks the reader’s attention right from the introduction of the protagonist surviving a near fatal accident. No beating around the bush with Ms. Henderson. By the end of the first chapter, the reader will know something isn’t quite right, not ‘normal.’
A fast paced read, this book shows Ms. Henderson’s unique sense of humor with a touch of sarcasm even in the most difficult of the situations.
A favorite (excerpt from Lucy’s thoughts when she meets Oliver, the attractive stranger with dimples.)
Now that I’ve been reconstructed and reanimated like Dr. Frankenstein’s monster, I feel nothing at all.
I laughed loud enough to wake up half of my sleeping family when I read the comparison of Aunt Perdita’s fake smile with Lucy’s face after eating a bowl of her mom’s chilly. Did I mention, I read the book, twice, at night?
Okay, now back to the story. The paranormal is unleashed upon us pretty soon, as one by one, people start disappearing from Mitte, Lucy’s current abode.
By the way, ‘party pooper’ Aunt Perdita’s house, where Lucy stays, is a castle with little food. Poor Lucy loses the grandmotherly cook Mille, almost immediately (though not before a good meal, yay!)
Read somewhere, the name Perdita means lost. Her sad story made me reach for my baby, just to remind myself, I have one.
Anyway, people disappear usually in Lucy’s presence, and to her dismay, the initially hostile citizens of Mitte warm up to her. The scenes of the orphanage, the tragic and gruesome past of Aunt Perdita, Doc Blevins, and Oliver, especially the bit about Oliver’s secret knowledge of Lucy, all the bits, and pieces of suspense fit into one great jigsaw puzzle once we understand Lucy’s role in Mitte.
Little things make up a memorable tale of regrets, and consequences, raising a sense of nagging self-awareness at the end. By not preaching her philosophy, the author has a way of making you think about your actions and their effects on after-life.
A fast paced novel with a mysterious air of the paranormal, this book is more than a romantic account of a girl-meet-boy. The way this young girl survived such a tragedy and lived on, it’s fascinating; even if it was all inside her head.
I offer four bohostars to In the Middle.
I recommend In The Middle for all ages. This is no Hunger Games or Twilight but a sweet, sad, and ultimately feel good story of a simple girl with an extraordinary purpose of life.