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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The In-Between is Katie Van Heidrich's memoir in free verse of six heartbreaking weeks when she was 13. Katie, her mother, 12-year-old brother, Josh, and 11-year-old sister, Haley, have been evicted from their apartment. This means one more move in a long series of moves for the family. As they settle into one room in an extended stay hotel, Katie, who's always "looking for consistency, sameness, unwavering sameness," knows she'll have to find the strength to endure yet another period of chaos in her life. Through her writing and journaling, she tries to sort through her divorced parents' complicated relationship and understand her mother's seeming inability to get and keep a job that will bring stability to the family. There's occasional strong language includes single used of "pissed,""hell," and "damn." There's a detailed description of a car accident.
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What's the Story?
THE IN-BETWEEN is where Katie Hendrich has spent much of her life. In-between homes, schools, and friendships. "I'm only thirteen but I've done a lot of living and moving, finding that all things eventually fall apart, in time, even me, especially me, no matter how well packed -- and that's okay, because it leaves space for better things to come together." Katie, her mother, brother Josh and sister Haley return to Atlanta from her grandfather's funeral to find they're being evicted. They move into an extended stay motel with a tiny kitchen, a single queen sized bed, and a rollaway bed for Josh. They've already moved dozens of times, sometimes for the promise of a new job for her mother that never worked out. With some moves there was time for proper goodbyes and time to pack treasured possessions, while others were rushed and "leave you sobbing in a new bedroom full of nothing ..." The thought of returning to school feels "apocalyptic" to Katie, as the motel is located out of district and she's terrified someone will find out. She doesn't even tell her closest friends where she's now living. Katie, John, and Haley get a break from the motel when they spend every other weekend with their father. Their parents divorced when Katie was 5 and he now lives in the Atlanta suburbs with his new wife. When Katie asks why they can't stay with him and move into the home's empty bedrooms, he says her mother won't agree to it.
Is It Any Good?
This heartbreakingly honest memoir paints an unforgettable picture of what life is like for children in families where a stable and secure tomorrow is never certain. The story ends on a hopeful note, and for readers wondering what the future held for Katie, the About the Author page in The In-Between notes that she graduated from Brown University and after teaching fifth-grade, is now an assistant principal. The book also includes several pages of black-and-white photos of Katie and her family from the late '90s and early 2000s.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the perseverance Katie shows in The In-Between. How does writing and journaling help her try to understand what's happening around her and offer her hope for the future?
Has there ever been a time when you've felt in-between -- at a new school or with friends or teammates? How did you get through it?
Katie didn't tell her friends she was living in an extended stay motel. Are there ever secrets you don't think should be shared with even your best friends?
- Author: Katie Van Heidrich
- Genre: Autobiography
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Great Girl Role Models, Middle School
- Character Strengths: Perseverance
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: Aladdin
- Publication date: January 17, 2023
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 13
- Number of pages: 295
- Available on: Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: February 17, 2023
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