Review: The Kate In Between by Claire Swinarski.

Blurb

Kate McAllister is desperate for a change. Something to hit refresh and erase the pain of her mother leaving town without her. So when a group of popular girls folds Kate into their clique, it feels like the answer to all her problems—even if it means ditching Haddie, her childhood bestie.

But when Kate’s new friends decide that Haddie is their next target, Kate becomes a passive participant in a cruel incident that could have killed Haddie…had Kate not stepped in, at the last minute, and saved her. The next day, a cell phone video of the rescue goes viral, and Kate is hailed a hero. But Kate knows the truth—she was part of the problem—and it’s only a matter of time until the full version of the video is released and everyone knows it too.

With so much at stake, Kate must decide who she wants to be: a liar, a follower, or someone greater.


Review

Kate is in between in various ways, in between her parents, in between her friendship groups, and that in between age, not a child, not quite yet a teen, just between it all.

Her story is a familiar one, in that she wants to fit in, wants to be ‘normal’, popular, liked. But things go too far when trying to fit in with her new friends and although she wants to stop things from happening she can’t, and her old best friend suffers for it.

We see bullying throughout the book, with the relentless comments from Taylor, snide remarks that try to be passed off as ‘jokes’, and just general nastiness towards others. We also see how being a bystander to bullying can be harmful too, that it is important to speak out and stand up for others.

I liked the way the story looks at social media and the impact it can have on young people, the way you can be thrust into the spotlight in both good and equally bad ways. That a video can be cut and edited to show the parts they want to show, just because you see something doesn’t mean you have the full story. An important message for young people today.

I feel that Kate is an incredibly relatable character for ‘tweens’, you are growing up and trying to find yourself, but are still a kid and will make mistakes, some larger than others. But as Kate learned the most important thing is to do the right thing, apologising where needed, and learning from it.

The plot moved at a good pace and with a constant level of peril throughout, not knowing exactly what happened that day, not knowing how things were going to turn out.

Whilst being an enjoyable read some important lessons can be learned too, I would recommend it to the year 7 and 8’s at my school.

Thank you to Quill Tree Books and Edelweiss+ for the e-arc to review.


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