The Sweet In-Between

The Sweet In-Between

by Sheri Reynolds

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781618580337
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
Publication date: 10/02/2012
Pages: 220
Sales rank: 1,296,230
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author


Sheri Reynolds is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of five novels, including The Rapture of Canaan. She lives in Virginia and teaches at Old Dominion University, where she is the Ruth and Perry Morgan Chair of Southern Literature.

Read an Excerpt

We’ve come out here to fish, me and Quincy and Daphne and Aunt Glo. Daphne’s got her lunch box filled with rotten chicken necks, the rottener the better for the crabs. So I move upwind, past the stench. I’ve got my daddy’s old rod and reel, the red one with the soft cork handle. It’s got dents from where his fingers used to go.

It’s September now, and we’ve come out here to fish. But Quincy brought his skateboard, and he’s riding it all the way to the end of the pier, pissing off the heron who was catching a nap. Quincy’s wheels thrum drum through the cracks between boards, and that heron stretches out and takes off. If I could fly like that, I wouldn’t even mind looking so prehistoric. The heron settles on a channel marker out there in the bay and pulls his head into his shoulders like somebody cold.

Aunt Glo helps Daphne tie her chicken necks with string and dangle them down into the water. Daphne sniffs her fingers and says, “Ugh,” but she must like the smell, the way she sniffs them over and over. “Ugh,” she says and scrunches up her nose.

I’ve got my own cooler, and stashed inside it there’s a can of soda, a pack of saltines, a plastic bag with my still-frozen squid, and an army knife sharp enough to cut it. So I dig out a piece of squid and saw it right there, add my slashes to the thousand already carved into this wood. I choose a good-size hunk, the head, and hook it to my line. I hook it three times, through the flesh and through the eye, black juice squirting out at me, and when I cast, my line zings high and plops hard in the bay.

Now it’s the wait, the knock-knock of the line and deciding whether it’s a crab or something bigger, the reeling in sometimes, the breeze on my face, my face in the sun. It’s September, but the sun’s still hot, and when I close my eyes, I can pretend I’m on a boat sailing off to somewhere else.

On that boat, heading north with my face in the wind, I can forget the sounds I heard last night: the banging around, the giggles and high-pitched “shit!”s I thought at first it was just a dream and those girls were at my door and making fun of me. It was late in the night, and when I woke up, I figured somebody was pulling a prank on old Jarvis Stanley right next door.

But that was yesterday.

With the water slapping soft against the wood, I pretend I’m a tugboat captain, pulling a barge loaded with gold all the  way up to Annapolis, and I wonder if barges ever carry anything besides gravel or coal, if barges go to Annapolis at all. Annapolis is the farthest I’ve ever been, but someday I’ll go farther. I’ll go someplace where crazy things don’t happen, where girls don’t die like that girl died last night, right there in Jarvis Stanley’s living room.

Today I plan to catch a flounder. Maybe two.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Ms. Reynolds’s poetic gifts are uncommonly powerful.” —The New York Times

“Reynolds . . . is a gifted writer with a deceptively simple style and a keen ear for dialogue.” —The Boston Globe

“The newest and most exciting voice to emerge in contemporary Southern fiction.” —The San Francisco Bay Guardian

“[A]s true as butter in your grits . . . [a] powerful drama with pathos, poetry, and, unexpectedly, hope.” —People

“[A] sweet coming-of-age story, thanks to its young, wise-beyond-her-years, Scout Finch-esque heroine.” —Entertainment Weekly

Customer Reviews

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Sweet in Between 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
shines on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another masterpiece! Sheri Reynolds puts you on the page, in the story with a front row seat. Kenny, the focal character, really grows on you, always thinking about what someone else will think and never seriously considering what she thinks. How bittersweet to torn between two polar opposites every which way you turn! Amazing!
LCBrooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Sweet In Between suffers from underdevloped plot and characters. Despite its character flaws, the book is still a worthwhile read. Sheri Reynolds never really lets her reader know Kendra/Kenny so it is difficult to empathize with her struggles.
faith42love on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I liked this book okay, I felt like I wasn't really reading a novel but that I was looking through one of the windows spying on this dysfunctional family. I really wanted Kenny to find herself and allow herself to breath. She spent so much time worrying about what would happen next that she never could take the time to enjoy now. The book comes full circle in the plot and I didn't feel like it truly ended. Usually in a psychological book such as this one there is a revelation of some sort. I didn't see it and I didn't feel satisfied in the end. I was disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dirt-poor Kendra "Kenny" is a seventeen year old who lives with her father's girlfriend, "Aunt Glo". Kenny's mother has died of cancer and her father is serving time in prison for drug-dealing. Kenny also lives with Glo's two sons, one of whom has sexually abused her, and Glo's oldest daughter's little girl whose mother has her own drug problems. The man who lives on the other side of their two-family is an alcoholic and possibly a pedophile, and when the story opens, he has just shot and killed a girl who accidentally broke into his house in the middle of the night thinking it is the rental she got for the summer. Glo is overworked and overstressed and is developing a substance abuse problem herself, and to top things off, Kenny is gender-confused, and also terrified that she will be kicked out when she turns 18 and no longer drawing foster care money for Glo from the State. So to say Kenny has problems to deal with is putting it very mildly. This is a very quick read and one that sheds some light on gender-identity and the pain, confusion, and abuse that surrounds this whole topic. Throughout the story, I found myself rooting for Kenny knowing full well that while it might (and did) end on a hopeful note, it would not be a fairy tale, happily-ever-after story and never could be. I would have preferred to see into the future and some consequences happen for the abusive brother Tim-Tim, but this is ultimately Kenny's story and how she is learning to maneuver in a very difficult world. I'll watch for more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Virginia seventeen year old Kendra "Kenny" Lugo fears the near future. Her mom died years ago of cancer and her dad is serving time. She lives with her dad¿s girlfriend ¿Aunt¿ Glo who has two kids of her own (tweener Quincy and teen Tim-Tim) and her seven years old granddaughter Daphne, dumped on her by her oldest child. Glo survives her responsibilities thanks in part to prescription pain killers.
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Kenny fears Glo will kick her out of her home once she becomes an adult, which is soon. The teen also struggles with identity issues especially hiding her feminine body. When their alcoholic neighbor Jarvis Stanley accidentally kills a college girl, Kenny obsesses over the deceased as her morbidity makes her believe Glo will kick her to the curb soon. Her plan is to soon become responsible and dependable; Glo will beg her to stay.
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Told by the frightened Kenny, THE SWEET IN BETWEEN is a fascinating family drama starring a frightened teen filled with anger, remorse and fear. The rest of Glo¿s extended family is fully developed characters who enhance the at times subtle and other moments in your face story line. However, this is Kenny¿ tale as she sadly expects the worse but hopes for the best, which in this case is not being kicked out of the only shelter, albeit a relatively poor one, she knows at a time she wonders why she feels different from girls her age.
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Harriet Klausner