Monday, April 11, 2016

Book Review: The Inn Between

The Inn Between
Marina Cohen
Illustrations: Sarah Watts
Roaring Book Press, 2016 Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Source: ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

~What It's About~
Quinn has had a rough time and now her best friend is moving, but at least they have this one last trip.  She's traveling with Kara and her family as they head out west to move into their new home.  It's their last time to be inseparable.  On the way there, they find themselves at a strange inn that seems to appear out of nowhere and Quinn has her suspicions about its guests as well as the staff.  When Kara's parents disappear, Quinn knows she is right and is determined to find out what's going on in this strange place.  She's also slowly peeling back clues from her past that might help her understand herself as well as the Inn Between.

~The Good~
Quinn and Kara have a strong friendship that cannot be broken.  They are both trying not to think about being torn apart when they finally arrive in Kara's new town and Quinn will have to go back home alone.  They trust one another.  Even when Kara isn't so sure of what Quinn is trying to do in her search for the truth of this strange hotel, she trusts her.  This is a good and not so good thing, which we see throughout the book, but I like it because of their strong friendship.

~The Not-So-Good~
The story is set up to be a mystery, where there are only bits and pieces revealed at a time so that you can slowly figure out what's going on with this strange inn.  It's pretty obvious, though.  I realize this is written for middle grade readers, but it still seemed too obvious for them as well.  I was actually waiting for something unexpected to happen to challenge my idea, but it never came.  

There is almost constantly some kind of major crisis or event throughout the story.  After the opening where we're learning a little bit of the background of our characters, there isn't much actual story telling, as it relies heavily on action and a steady flow of conflicts and running around attempting to discover the truth.  I also found myself wanting to roll my eyes at the conclusion. 

~Final Thoughts~

I wasn't that thrilled with Inn Between.  With the carefully laid out clues, it made it obvious what was happening from well on in the beginning.  The story was trying too hard to be something else.  If you're truly looking for a mystery, this probably won't fulfill that desire.  However it may be good for young readers who would need something a little more predictable, but I'm doubtful many middle grade and up readers will fall for it.

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