THE EDGE OF IN BETWEEN, by Lorelei Savaryn, Viking Books for Young Readers, April 19, 2022, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 8-12)
Lorelei Savaryn reimagines The Secret Garden as magical realism in her new middle-grade novel, The Edge of In Between.
Lottie lives in Vivelle — the heart of a vibrant city where life exists in brilliant technicolor and nearly everyone has magic. And Lottie is no exception; she can paint pictures to life in every shade and hue imaginable. But at the sudden loss of her parents, all the color is stripped from Lottie’s heart and the world around her. Taken in by her reclusive, eccentric uncle, Lottie moves into Forsaken, his vast manor located in the gray wasteland between the Land of the Living and Ever After, the land of the dead.
The discovery of a locked-up garden, a wise cardinal, a hidden boy, and a family whose world is full of color despite the bleakness around them begins to pull at the threads of what it means to live in such a near-dead place, slowly returning some of the color to Lottie’s private world and giving her hope that life is worth experiencing fully, even while one carries sorrow.
But as time runs out, Lottie must find a way to thaw both the world and the hearts of her uncle, cousin, and those she has come to know and love in her new home, or all of Forsaken — including Lottie herself — will be absorbed by Ever After long before their time. —Synopsis provided by Viking Books for Young Readers
There are a lot of similarities between The Secret Garden and The Edge of In Between. In fact, the core story — death of parents, reclusive uncle, secret cousin, locked garden — follow nearly identical paths.
It’s the stuff in the middle — the details — that sets the two apart.
The main difference comes in the form of magical realism. In Savaryn’s world magic not only exists, but it’s at the core of everything. That magic is manifested through color. Savaryn cleverly equates color to emotion, thereby producing a tale that is rich in feeling and imagery.
While some of Savaryn’s characters remain true to the source material, the author diverges with others, delving deep into their emotional baggage. It adds to the variety and lends a nice weight to the overall story.
The Edge of In Between is a tale of love, loss, family and hope. Through every bit of darkness, there is a spark of light that guides readers through. It captures the spirit of The Secret Garden while staying true to itself. It would be an interesting study to read the two novels one right after the other.
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