BETWEEN by Jean Thesman


Age Range: 11 - 13
Email this review


Thesman (Sea So Far, 2001, etc.) proposes an inglorious take on human origins in this tale of a teenager caught between an array of magical creatures protecting one of the last “Darkwoods” on earth, and Hunters bent on destroying it. Charlotte begins to suspect that all is not as it seems at the Puget Sound guesthouse where she’s summering when she notices that her adopted little brother’s shadow has disappeared. After several other odd incidents, she concludes that something in the nearby woods threatens Will—and that the owners of the guesthouse, along with a pair of unpleasant guests, know more than they’re telling about it. As it turns out, the unicorns, dragon, shape-shifting Fox Fairy, and other beings tied to the Darkwood have identified Will as an orphaned child of the Fair Folk, a potentially powerful ally against humans, dubbed “Mudwalkers,” who were created long ago as playthings by a malicious Chimera, but then escaped to conduct a campaign of destruction against the world’s forests. When the possibility that Will might join the residents of the Darkwood spurs a gathering of particularly evil Mudwalkers to set a forest fire, Charlotte joins the successful defense, then goes on in subsequent years to become a renowned naturalist. What with rather nebulous bad guys and several unexplained circumstances, the story’s internal logic isn’t any too solid, and the ecological message, along with humankind’s low origins, is hammered home. But Charlotte narrates in a distinctly personal voice, and the author lightens the tone by casting interestingly rude characters on both sides of the conflict. Ably done, but without the spark of The Other Ones (1999). (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: May 20th, 2002
ISBN: 0-670-03561-0
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2002


ChildrenSINGER by Jean Thesman
by Jean Thesman
ChildrenRISING TIDE by Jean Thesman
by Jean Thesman
ChildrenA SEA SO FAR by Jean Thesman
by Jean Thesman