The In-Between: A Memoir in Verse by Katie Van Heidrich

Published by Aladdin

Summary:  In this debut memoir in verse, Katie Van Heidrich writes about a six-week period when she lived with her mother and two younger siblings in a motel room.  It’s an “in-between” time when her mom is between jobs and unable to keep their apartment.  As Katie tries to adjust to her circumstances while pretending everything is normal to her seventh-grade classmates and teachers, she reflects on the past and her relationship with the members of her family.  Her Black mother and white father have always worked to be in her life, even after they divorced, and she recognizes how her dad has provided structure while her mom has allowed her to dream.  The kids spend weekends with their dad, who’s recently remarried and living in the suburbs, but Katie slowly learns the reasons why they can’t live there all the time.  By the time a tenuous happy ending arrives, Katie’s learned that she can’t always please her parents and that her voice is an important part of the family.  Includes seven pages of photos.  304 pages; grades 5-8.

Pros:  Katie Van Heidrich has a masterful debut with verse that is both expressive and concise and beautiful pacing that slowly reveals each family member’s personality and how the past has brought them to the present moment.

Cons:  While there’s nothing in this book that makes it inappropriate for upper elementary, the emotions are so pitch-perfect for middle schoolers that it might be better appreciated by older readers.

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