The Sweet In-Between
By Sheri Reynolds
(Crown, Hardcover, 9780307393890, 224pp.)
Publication Date: November 25, 2008
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“[With The Sweet In-Between,] bestseller Reynolds delivers again . . . Simple prose rich with subtext, convincing dialogue, and a fascinating protagonist combine to produce a heartstring-plucker that’s explicit, tender, sad, and hopeful.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Kendra, or “Kenny,” has grown up in a family that’s not really hers. Her momma died of cancer when Kenny was very young, and “Aunt” Glo is, in fact, her daddy’s girlfriend, who took her in when her father was sent to jail for drug trafficking.
Nearing eighteen years old and facing confusion over her sexuality, Kenny binds her chest with ACE bandages and keeps her hair cropped short like a boy’s. Her gender ambiguity makes her an outcast at school and, even at times, at home, where her adopted family isn’t really sure what to make of her.
When a senseless murder occurs in their run-down coastal town—a college student mistakenly entering the wrong home is killed—Kenny becomes obsessed with thoughts of the dead girl and with her own fears that she will be alone in the world when she turns eighteen. She makes it her mission to become indispensable to Aunt Glo in the hopes that she can win the older woman’s love, despite their not being bound by blood.
A lyrical tale of a family of misfits in a town that’s seen its best days come and go, The Sweet In-Between is also a poignant story of an unforgettable character’s coming-of-age.
SHERI REYNOLDS is a professor of writing and literature at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. She is the author of five novels, including the Oprah Book Club selection The Rapture of Canaan, which was a #1 New York Times bestseller. She lives in Cape Charles, Virginia.
"[A]s true as butter in your grits....[a] powerful drama with pathos, poetry, and, unexpectedly, hope."
"[A] sweet coming-of-age story, thanks to its young, wise-beyond-her-years, Scout Finch-esque heroine."
"Reynolds...is a gifted writer with a deceptively simple style and a keen ear for dialogue."
—The Boston Globe
“Reynolds moves so smoothly back and forth between the past and the present that her novel feels like a keg of dynamite sitting on a slow-burning fuse…as riveting as a fast-paced thriller.”
“Simple prose rich with subtext, convincing dialogue and a fascinating protagonist combine to produce a heartstring-plucker that's explicit, tender, sad and hopeful.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred)
Praise for Sheri Reynolds
“Reynolds’s newest novel delivers more of the rich southern atmosphere and coming-of-age drama that made The Rapture of Canaan (1995) an Oprah Book Club selection and bestseller.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“Reynolds is the newest and most exciting voice to emerge in contemporary southern fiction.”
—San Francisco Bay Guardian
A Gracious Plenty
“Reynolds is a wonderful storyteller and master of pastoral imagery.”
—New York Times Book Review
“Mesmerizing . . . Reynolds’s earthly insights make for a redemptive finale—but not before some satisfying storms of retribution.”
“An imaginative tour de force . . . Pushing beyond the boundaries of her earlier work, Ms. Reynolds has created a life-affirming novel that gathers the joy and pain of living into a celebration of what it means to be human.”
The Rapture of Canaan
“Ms. Reynolds’s poetic gifts are uncommonly powerful. In The Rapture of Canaan, she tells a truly rapturous love story and presents two unforgettable characters: the teenage heroine and her skeptical but stalwart grandmother, from whom she learns about the acceptance of loss, the pragmatism that must underlie any abiding love, and the place in every heart where God resides, waiting to reveal himself.”
—New York Times