Reviewed by Darcie Gudger
In Between by
Jenny B. Jones
"Jenny B. Jones is carving out her space on the YA shelves! ...[her character] Katie Parker is a real teen, not some plastic Barbie meets Paris Hilton type. She is funny, insecure and oh so believable."
In Between by Jenny B. Jones is bust-a-gut funny! My poor husband had to endure my sudden outbursts of raucous laughter during a long drive from Minneapolis to Denver. It was all he could do to avoid swerving off the Interstate!
Katie Parker, a ward of the huge state of Texas, finds herself placed in the home of Mille and James Scott. The Scotts are a middle-aged couple that at first glace don’t seem the type of people able to relate to a teenager. Worse yet, James is a pastor!
As is typical of kids who are shuffled from home to home, Katie decides it’d be best if she left on her own terms. So what would freak out a pastor more than a little Goth? Consequently, Katie ends up in the wrong crowd, in handcuffs and grounded for life.
The Scotts impose punishment on her involving restoration of a historic theatre and reading to Millie’s mother, Mad Maxine. In the midst of fulfilling her punishment duties, Katie discovers secrets run deep in the Scott family.
Will she be able to discover the truth threatening to tear her foster parents apart just as she realizes In Between, Texas is where she wants to stay? Will the churchies be able to look beyond her shaded past and accept her for who she is? Can she survive Maxine?
In Between is published by NavPress’s THINK! Imprint for young adults, but I tell you, no matter your age, you will absolutely LOVE this book! As a YA writer myself, I read a lot in that particular genre and Jenny B. Jones is carving out her space on the YA shelves!
Katie Parker is a real teen, not some plastic Barbie meets Paris Hilton type. She’s funny, insecure, and oh so believable. A rare breed in contemporary teen fiction. The Scott family is far from perfect, despite James’ profession as a preacher. Jones strips away stereotypes of Texas preachers, creating a scenario many married couples can relate to.
Mad Maxine is, in my not so humble opinion, the best part of the book. That old lady is nuts! I’m thinking she’s now one of my favorite book characters. Who can’t love an old lady sporting a hot pink bike helmet, crashing through town on a tandem bicycle named Ginger Rodgers?
Jones resists the urge to preach (RUP), which again, is pretty cool considering one of her secondary characters is a pastor. Faith issues, including the salvation message are presented through character action and dialogue. Better yet, the faith issues don’t neatly resolve – just like real life.
The only criticism I have is that the ending seems a little cliché and hard to believe (especially those of us who are experienced in theatre), but it defines the character of Katie Parker for subsequent installments.
Finally, I totally loved the fact that the romance in the book did not involve Katie, rather Maxine! So many girls go through high school without ever being asked on a date. Christian YA novels with strong romance sub-plots can be alienating. Good job Jenny for bringing the average girl into your story. Can’t wait for On the Loose.
Darcie Gudger is a freelance writer currently working on a young adult novel while trying to solve all the mysteries of motherhood with her adopted son, Kyle. In her spare time, she coaches the 2A Colorado State Champion Sheridan High School colorguard, judged equipment for the Rocky Mountain Colorguard Association and sings for the Bear Valley church choir and worship team. An adventure-seeker who lives and writes in the shadow of the Rocky mountains, Darcie loves hiking, camping, cycling, photography and keeping her husband guessing. Visit Darcie online at her blog, Joy in the Litterbox.