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Betwixt and Between

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  190 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Peter Pan meets The Lovely Bones in this beautifully rendered and emotionally devastating debut novel about where children go when they die. Betwixt and Between follows three intertwining narratives: that of Preston Tumbler, a ten-year-old boy who is poisoned by a neighbor and wakes up in Neverland, where he finds himself—along with a group of other deceased children—under ...more
Paperback, 370 pages
Published November 19th 2013 by Ig Publishing (first published October 18th 2013)
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  190 ratings  ·  55 reviews

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Abby Rose
Wow, what a surprisingly lovely book! Definitely my very favorite recent read.

Everlost meets Finding Neverland (I know most people compare it to The Lovely Bones, but frankly I don't see it; it reminds me a lot more of the Skinjacker books) in this touching story that is part fake origin for JM Barrie's Peter Pan and part "What it's like to be a mom" tearjerker.

The story follows three different timelines. One deals with young Preston, a boy who is poisoned and transported to Neverland upon his
Elizabeth ♛Smart Girls Love Trashy Books♛
I really enjoyed this book! Peter Pan retellings are very rare for whatever reason(I actually think Robin Hood might have more than it), so I usually enjoy every one I come across since Peter Pan is a personal childhood favorite of mine, and this is no exception.

The parts I enjoyed the most focused on the main character, Preston, who's a Lost Boy in Neverland, and Winifred 'Wendy', who falls into a coma as a teenager and magically finds her way to Neverland, and both Peter and herself strike up
Thomas Phispher
This is a wonderful book. It's a book for people who like literature (Twilight fans need not apply) but also for those who enjoy a good mystery, a nice adventure story, but also for those who like to think about the world. This book will set your mind wandering, it hosts themes of life and afterlife, what it means to loss something (and someone) truly precious to you. This book deals with loss and life and what it means to grow up so beautifully. Not only do we get a mother who loses a child, bu ...more
Fernanda Zapata Vakil
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved the way Jessica Stilling told the story from different perspectives. She beautifully captured a mother's pain as well as a child's innocent yet almost adult-like nature. I also found the storyline itself very imaginative and loved visiting Neverland from her perspective.

I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because I really wish she had gone into more depth on the cookie murderess. Her reason for killing the kids to me seemed too superficial for such a despicable crime, especially when you con
Feb 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Betwixt and Between is a very interesting little take on Peter Pan. Ten-year-old Preston, a fairly carefree and happy child, visits his socially awkward man-child neighbor, eats a poison cookie, and dies in the woods of his neighborhood. He awakens in Neverland, which in this particular universe, is where little boys go after they die before moving on to the actual afterlife. The idea seems to be that as long as these boys are in Neverland, their parents/loved ones can still sense them allowing ...more
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
novel which employs the Peter Pan myth to explore loss and grief. It moves elegantly between the reality of London a century ago, suburban contemporary life and the instructive fantasy of Neverland. The appreciation of the preciousness of our children and their vulnerability never sinks into sentimentality but rather provides the basis for understanding the precarious nature of life and the risks we all take when we love.

The expert use of the real and the fantastic reminds the reader of the grea
You know how I love Peter Pan, and it's always risky reading any kind of retelling, but... Wow. This book was incredible. It takes the theme of death from Barrie's original, which has largely been lost in subsequent retellings, and takes it to a whole new level. The mythology all makes sense, the story is multifaceted, and it really makes you think. I liked how she tied together Barrie (including the stories of his dead brother David and his relationship with the Llewellyn Davies family), the fi ...more
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
4 stars. I like these types of books where fantasy combines with reality. This is kind of a blend of "The Lovely Bones" and "Peter Pan". Ten-year-old Preston is killed with a poisoned cookie and wakes up in Neverland, the place where dead boys go after dying and before going to the After. There Preston meets Peter, who has been in Neverland forever. Peter was never alive in the Before, and can never die and go the the After - he's a Betwixt & Between. Preston misses his mother, but comes to enjo ...more
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was the most beautiful book I've ever read. It drawls you in and makes you feel a part of each story. You would be watching the tragedy of Pan and Winifred. You felt the sorrow and melancholy that Claire did when her Preston was killed; almost as if it was your own son that died. And you are there with Preston as he traipsed through Neverland. Simply, beautiful and thought provoking. I would defiantly recommend this book to just about anyone. ...more
S. Lodro
Sep 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book which explores love and loss in a unique parallel to Peter Pan. I found myself anxiously turning the page waiting to see how each character would reach their moment of self-actualization. Each character has a burden to bear and it is a wonderful experience following along with them as they reach new levels of understanding. A very great and stimulating read.
Dec 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Betwixt and Between is an imaginative retelling of the Peter Pan story. The story seems real because the characters are real. You know these people. The plot is consistent. Jessica has created a book the intertwines tradition, history and her own imagination. You will love this book.

Disclaimer: I am related to the author.
Katie Gatten
Jan 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I haven't cried so much at a book since I read The First Part Last by Angela Johnson. This is such a good story. I enjoyed how she incorporated the Peter Pan story, and it was so touching and beautiful to walk the footsteps of the mother. I have boys of my own and this story just makes me want to hold them all close and never let them go. Great Great story. ...more
Blake Asher
Sep 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary
This is a good book. Very emotional, you will most likely cry, but in a good way. Well written, great characters, I want to know the author's rendition of Peter Pan. I wish he were my friend when I was a child. ...more
Feb 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
What if Neverland was really a purgatory like place for little boys? A very interesting re-telling of the Peter Pan story along with the story of a little boy who dies and what his mother goes through after his death.
I'm a sucker for a re-telling and this was a good one. It was very different.
Apr 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Interesting and creative take on the Peter Pan/Neverland story, however, I did not like Claire's perspective that much. I felt that the writing there was not as good as the other story lines. ...more
Sacha Laski
This could have been edited better, but it's a beautiful and moving novel that hit me right in my childhood. ...more
Doreen Fritz
Jun 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: rb-book-club
A sobering extension of the Peter Pan story, this novel attempts to create a world wherein children go to Neverland when they die, and there they stay, playing and pretending and having a joyous, carefree existence until the ones who loved them are ready to go on with their lives, and thus release the dead children to move on, too. Peter is the one who manages all the comings and goings in Neverland, and knows much more than he lets on. We discover the existence of Neverland when Preston lands t ...more
Aug 03, 2022 rated it really liked it
At first, I was leery of reading this book. The descriptions made it seem pretty heavy and emotional and it was, but not too heavy. It was a well written mashup of a “Lovely Bones” type story of love and loss and learning to live again and a mixed up version of Peter Pan. I found it very interesting and unique, in spite of that.
“So what do you think is out there?” Preston asked one more time, looking toward it.
“I don’t know,” Peter replied. “But I promise it will be a great adventure.”
Jul 31, 2017 rated it did not like it
Basically - purgatory for children? A bit weird.
Dion King
Nov 18, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Adore this book. Would read over and over again.
Sep 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Actually, four and a half stars.

This is a lovely, whimsical book. It has tragedy, mystery, fantasy and romance. The only reason I didn’t give it a full five stars is because there were moments that I thought the writing was "overdone" and some of the plot twists were a tad too convenient; yet there were many paragraphs that were lyrical and flowed so well, I read them again and again, trying to commit them to memory. This novel engaged me from page one.

Peter and Wendy’s story is bittersweet and
Feb 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: for-grown-ups, grief
Four stars for concept, two stars for execution.

I know I'm in the minority here -- Most people seem to be wowed by it. My annoyance while reading this may be more the industry's fault than the writer's: This is another book that was misrepresented by those trying to sell copies. It was portrayed as a fantasy, a combining of the Neverland of Peter Pan and the after-life experiences of children. This is in there; however, the main thrust of this book is parental grief, longing, and moving on. It'
Apr 13, 2014 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 23, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I’m a sucker when it comes to reimagining classic children’s stories, perhaps none more so than Peter Pan. I loved Brom’s The Child Thief when I read it a year and a half ago. When I stumbled across Betwixt and Between by Jessica Stilling and read the description, I got excited. One of my favorite ideas is that Neverland is where the souls of deceased children go so reading that idea fleshed out into a novel was something I had to do. However, Stilling’s novel is less fleshed out than I had hope ...more
So an interesting mix, as it shares in the summary, of Peter Pan with a cross of The Lovely Bones. I guess I only really know the Robin Williams' Peter Pan, having never read the original, and though, The Lovely Bones is an all-time favorite of mine, I just didn't get quite all of it but enough to make it intriguing and certainly unique.

The topic is scary enough, the first young boy is poisoned and found in the woods. The parents, especially his mother, Claire, is clearly devastated, and they'r
Charlie Caftman
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book. I have never been so engaged, turning page after page. This novel is about loss and grief. It's about moving on, it's about finding your way. The first scene had me in tears and the first chapter made me feel so much more. I would recommend this to any parent. It will make you hug your child more tightly. I would recommend this to anyone interested in the story of Peter Pan. Not just someone playing around, this book is meticulously researched, Stilling talks about JM B ...more
Constance Brooks
Sep 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is book is amazing. It is for people who have raised children, for people who have loved children and watched them grow up. It is for people who have experienced loss. It is for people who want to think about life and also for people who want to feel emotions. This book will make you feel. When we go about our day sometimes we feel happy or sad in a generic sense. We feel worried or excited perhaps in a more poignant way, but this, what this book makes one feel, that is life. This book conj ...more
Oct 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Betwixt and Between works both as a story-telling narrative and as a work of literature which gives the reader new perspectives. Most interesting is the characterization of the stages of existence, with life being the "Before," Neverland being a type of comfortable but fanciful purgatory inhabited by different groups sharing past characteristics being the "Here," and an afterlife being the "After." The book is a riff on J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, but conceives of Neverland as a real place and cast ...more
Angie Phipher
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is well done. The author describes very well, she really makes you feel like you're there. The theme of loss, of grief, of parenthood are all there and the use of Peter Pan as a device to show what it means that children grow up is so beautifully done. I love this book so much. There's been a lot of talk about all the ideas, the themes, the research and let me tell you, I don't read for ideas and research as much as I read for emotion and story. I'm not a scholar when it comes to books ...more
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I didn't know what to expect when I picked this book up. I read that it was about Peter Pan but it was really good. Neverland is a place like Limbo where boys who have died get to go before they are ready to go to the "After" or a type of heaven. Preston has been poisoned when he has a cookie at a neighbor's house. We look at Preston's version, Claire's version (Preston's mother) and there are flashbacks to Wendy's version when she was in love with Peter Pan. We find that children are children u ...more
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