The Dark Between

The Dark Between

4.6 3
by Sonia Gensler

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A supernatural romance about the powers that lie in the shadows of the mind, perfect for fans of Sarah Rees Brennan, Alyxandra Harvey, and Libba Bray.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Spiritualism and séances are all the rage—even in the scholarly town of Cambridge, England. While mediums dupe the grief-stricken, a group of local fringe&


A supernatural romance about the powers that lie in the shadows of the mind, perfect for fans of Sarah Rees Brennan, Alyxandra Harvey, and Libba Bray.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Spiritualism and séances are all the rage—even in the scholarly town of Cambridge, England. While mediums dupe the grief-stricken, a group of local fringe scientists seeks to bridge the gap to the spirit world by investigating the dark corners of the human mind.

Each running from a shadowed past, Kate, Asher, and Elsie  take refuge within the walls of Summerfield College. But their peace is soon shattered by the discovery of a dead body nearby. Is this the work of a flesh-and-blood villain, or is something otherworldly at play? This unlikely trio must illuminate what the scientists have not, and open a window to secrets taken to the grave—or risk joining the spirit world themselves.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—When Kate Poole loses her job assisting a medium in defrauding grieving Spiritualist believers out of their money at the turn of the 20th century, the orphaned British teen has nowhere to turn. She seeks out lodging at Summerfield College, run by Mr. Thompson, who used to be good friends with the father who could not openly acknowledge her birth. Kate meets Thompson's niece, Elsie, who is suffering a strange condition that has her hooked on the same drug that killed Kate's mother, and Asher Beale, a young man estranged from his American father. The teens have each come to the college to escape the past, but they find their futures entwined as they investigate the death of Kate's friend, Billy. Reality and seemingly impossible phenomena begin to blend as Elsie discovers that without the dampening effects of her medication, she is able to communicate with the dead. Strange visions, photographic clues, and research into the local group of fringe scientists lead the teens to discover a real murderer preying on the dregs of society for his own nefarious purposes. Telepathy, communication with the dead, and electroshock therapy are all explored by the scientists and scholars in Kate Poole's town. The blending of the empirical and the ethereal creates a vivid and intriguing backdrop for this murder mystery. The teens are fully developed characters with well-defined motives for their actions, and the story will evoke empathy from readers.—Jessica Miller, West Springfield Public Library, MA
Children's Literature - Greta Holt
Kate has grown too big for the medium's throne, a box from which she appears as a fake spirit. In the box, her limbs cramp and twitch. Gensler begins her fantasy novel with apt images of teen angst. Kate and her friends Billy and Tec live in the dangerous and ugly underworld of Cambridge, England at the beginning of the 20th century. Elsie was born to luxury, but an accident has rendered her susceptible to spells of vivid dreams and perchance real contacts with the dead. Her family has put her on Chlorodyne (to which she is addicted) and sent her away. Asher has broken from his father in the States. Asher's father and most of the adults in the book are members, or opponents, of the Spiritualist movement, which used the scientific advancements of electricity to try to contact spirits of the dead. The lives of Kate, Elsie, and Asher converge at Summerfield College in Cambridge. Bodies of poverty-stricken people are found, possibly electrocuted. The three friends decide to discover the culprits. Gensler has researched the Spiritualist movement and Cambridge life in the early 1900's. YA readers may not know the particulars of the movement, and Gensler works to embed information within the natural pace of her mystery novel. Beyond writing a Gothic "who done it" novel Gensler creates characters that are more complex than one expects. Kate struggles to recognize goodness; Elsie is an exasperating combination of pretty girl, druggie, and scientist; and Asher represents the rebellion of boy against father, and rising intellect against the pseudo-science of Spiritualism at a time in which science was gaining headway. Multiple viewpoints add, rather than detract, from the narrative. Reviewer: Greta Holt
Kirkus Reviews
Three Victorian teens in 1901 Cambridge, England, become perilously embroiled in the Society for Metaphysical Research's deadly investigations of paranormal phenomena. After masquerading as a spirit apparition for a charlatan medium, 14-year-old Kate Poole finds herself on the street when society members expose her employer's fraudulent practices. Desperate and pragmatic, Kate arrives at Summerfield College, where society member Oliver Thompson discovers she's the illegitimate daughter of his late friend and offers her a temporary job. Here, Kate meets Thompson's impulsive niece, Elsie Atherton, and skeptical Asher Beale, son of Thompson's American colleague. Elsie suffers from seizures, during which she sees and hears spirits of the recently deceased, while Asher's estranged from his father and at loose ends. When several dead bodies surface on campus, raising disturbing questions, Kate, Elsie and Asher bond as they explore how far society members will go to test their theories of near-death experience. Gensler captures the suspenseful atmosphere of a time when people were obsessed with the paranormal and loosely bases many characters on historical figures prominent in psychical research during this period. Lovers of intrigue should enjoy this lively Victorian mystery whose teen heroes experience danger, romance and ethical dilemmas as they delve into "the dark between." (author's note with references) (Historical fiction. 12 & up)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
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Random House
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File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Sonia Gensler is also the author of The Revenant and Ghostlight. She grew up in a small Tennessee town and spent her early adulthood collecting impractical degrees from various Midwestern universities. A former high school English teacher, she now writes full-time in Oklahoma.

From the Hardcover edition.

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The Dark Between 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Sonia Gensler's books. Great, atmospheric mysteries. Jane Austen with a ghosty twist.
crayolakym More than 1 year ago
The cover on this book is quite disturbing and suits this story beautifully. Set in the early nineteen-hundreds, you are taken back into a world that is darkly simple and disturbing to say the least. When Kate, Asher, and Elsie take it upon themselves to investigate the death of their friend, they find more than what they could even imagine. Using Elsie’s seizure like skills to communicate with the other world, she will open up a world of Gothic darkness they might rather wish they hadn’t. “Why would I want to go to look at a dead body with you? The very idea is repulsive.” I found this to be a very unique book covering Victorian topics not so common like séances, death photography, and spiritualism. If you are looking for more paranormal stuff like vampires or werewolves, then this is not the book for you. Elsie’s dreams and the way author Sonia Gensler describes them is straight from a horror movie and will have you sitting on edge. This book reminded me of a cross between the movies The Others and The Grudge but in writing to add creep factor. It seriously gave me chills. If you are looking for something new or have never read a Gothic fiction before, I highly suggest starting with this book! *This book was provided in exchange for an honest review *You can view the original review at San Francisco Book Review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sonia Gensler has provided another enjoyable story in THE DARK BETWEEN. (If you've never checked out her first book, THE REVENANT, add it to your list!) The characters are vivid and interesting, drawing you into the events happening around them. The historical setting feels authentic and "lived in" - you can sense the beauty and charm of Cambridge while also experiencing a creepier atmosphere of the city as night falls. The paranormal aspect is intriguing, and combined with the underlying mystery of the plot will definitely keep you turning the pages for more. There's even some romance added to the mix, but it never feels like an 'add on'. Rather, it manages to enhance the tale and further develop the characters. By the final page, you discover an ending that wraps up enough of the story to provide satisfaction, yet also that delightful taste of "what if...?" that allows you to ponder where these characters might go from here - and hoping that Ms. Gensler will consider a sequel at some point in the future. ;)