Book Review: The Inn Between by Marina Cohen, Sarah Watts

The Inn Between is a middle grade novel written by Marina Cohen, with illustrations by Sarah Watts. Eleven-year-old Quinn has had some bad experiences lately. She was caught cheating in school and her little sister Emma disappeared while walking home from school. She never returned. When Quinn's best friend Kara has to move away, she goes on one last trip with Kara and her family. They stop over at the first hotel they see, a Victorian inn that instantly gives Quinn the creeps, and she begins to notice strange things happening around them. When Kara's parents and then brother disappear without a trace, the girls are stranded in a hotel full of strange guests, hallways that twist back in on themselves, and a particularly nasty surprise lurking beneath the floorboards. Will the girls be able to solve the mystery of what happened to Kara's family before it's too late?

The Inn Between is a slow building story that takes readers on a unexpected journey. A road trip turns odd and dark when an unexpected stop at an inn starts and even stranger journey for two friends. Quinn is still struggling with self blame and the related stressors from her sister's disappearance. A final trip with a friend and her family to say goodbye is a bittersweet escape. However, the inn is creepy and so are many of its occupants. At first Quinn thinks she is the only one that sees the oddities around her, but soon more people are disappearing and Kara is along with her on the mission to figure out just what is going on. I will admit that I had a feeling as to what was going on briefly after the arrival at the inn, but the slow reveal and conclusion was so well done that there was still plenty of suspense and heartfelt moments to make the read more than worth my time.

The Inn Between is a thoughtful, sometimes creepy, but very poignant read. I think those dealing with trauma or loss will particularly see bits of themselves in the story, but that everyone can get something valuable from the read and enjoy it. 
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