Tara Bray Smith
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Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
The publisher of BETWIXT

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15 Responses

  1. As an educator, I was horrified that this book was allowed to be on the shelves for young adults. It is filled with inappropriate topics for middle schools students. Not only is it inappropriate, but nothing of significance happens in the entire book. In my opinion, it should be reclassified as an adult book. I don’t think it should be recommended reading for any child.

  2. actually, i really dont understand why u think it was innapropriate. its called reality. teenagers cuss A LOT and we do drugs and all that stuff that adults act all holy about. i mean, really, wake up and smell the coffee. Mrs. Smith totally understood everything she was writing about. Thats what makes a #1 author. A person who completely understands their characters and realizes them for who they are. And portrays tham exactly. Betwixt was a story like one i have come across very rarely…surreal…

  3. I’ll have to disagree with Nona Sherak. The sexuality of the book is really quite subtle compaared to a lot of modern literature and the drug use isn’t something that teens don’t not only already know about, but should know about. And on note of significance, how could you possibly think nothing happened. They found out their origins. That was the significance of the book. Not to mention the undertones of the societal effects of drug use.

    Maybe you don’t want your 11 year old reading the book, but it isn’t an adult book.

  4. I’ll have to agree with the later two responses. This book is most deffinitely a teen novel, and would not survive the shelves labeled “adult”. It’s 2009, sex, drugs, and profanity have rocked the youth of this world for a while now. Like the Caitlyn above, this book has a purpose, it helps those misguided youth, who feel out of place, discover a since of belonging. It shows you that who you and where youcome from may be different than any other person, but yet you still have meaning and importance in the world. Nona Sherak, you may want to protect your middle-school age children from this content, but the truth is that is what happens, that is what teen are doing and thinking about more and more these days.

  5. i agree with the later three responses. many teens are on the same wavelength as the characters in this book, whether the parents realize it or not, it’s true. many young adults only think about the content in this book. it also shows the truth reality of what can happen when you do drugs and that everybody has a purpose in the world.

  6. There are a lot of Young Adult books that I have read that I really felt should be in the fiction or sci/fi sections, but this is not one of them. I have customers ask me for age appropriate books in my bookstore all the time…Twilight, for example, is the most popular series for Young Adults, and the smart parents will ask if it’s appropriate for their 13 year old. I say, flat out, “The first book is okay, but by the second book the main character tries to kill herself, and in the fourth book she becomes pregnant, so no, I don’t recommend it for a thirteen year old.”

    However, “young adults” want to read books that are beyond their years content-wise. Only a few years out of the “young adult” classification myself, I know I read books that were more mature than I should have read. BETWIXT is a well-written book with a rich plot that you don’t often find in the young adult section, which often contains trashy romances and over-dramatized “real life” stories.

    Yes, drugs are mentioned; yes, sex is mentioned; yes, people die. However, the drugs are frowned upon even in the book, and the sexual content is at a pg-13 level, and there is hardly any blood or gore. The significant part of this story is that these teenagers (Ondine, Morgan, Nix, K.A., and Neve) are facing real-life issues with a bit of a magical twist…real-life issues that every teenager faces, and that should not be ignored but instead addressed, as this book does, to help teens find their way, like these characters do.

    And so, to the first comment by Nona Sherak, I have to say you are fundamentally wrong. This is the perfect book for a young adult.

  7. i completely agree with the late comments. Although there is sexual content and drugs as well as death, as mentioned before, its not out of the norm. now to experience those things before the parents think is appropriate. In public schools, on news and any kind of media you look at, sex, drugs and death are the only kinds of things that are shown in our world now a days. Although most parents would find this book inappropriate for their young teens, it is not all that bad. The fantasy mixed with the real life drama that happens is what makes this book the best that it can be. It is not about the content, its about the story itself, the drama about the teens finding themselves and learning their destiny. Betwixt has a very small line of having anything to do with sex, and although drugs are very intermixed with this book, drugs are all around teens now. I know that in my school so far, I have smelt pot, seen it, and been offered it (I did refuse). Drugs now are not something that is out of the ordinary, but they still are a bad choice. Tara Bray Smith did a wonderful job of keeping a balance for a young adult book. There is just a perfect mixture of reality with that certain touch of fantasy. It makes it seem as though this could really happen to anyone.

  8. I enjoyed the book, and while I know my parents probably would not agree with some of the content, I’m pretty sure they would understand why I like the book so much. I myself am pretty young, and kids my age really do enjoy reading books way beyond our age. Adults should be glad that kids are even reading books, because most kids are playing video games and eating all day, it could be a lot worse. We can relate to the characters easily when they are teenagers, and we feel accomplished when we read long books. Overall, I think the book is great, and if your child wants to read it, let them, you should trust your kids enough to know that if a book contains inappropriate content, that they will not repeat it.

  9. Very interesting… thanks.

  10. personally i believe Smith has done an excellent job in the portraying of typical teenagers and their “habits”. everything in this book was relatable and honest for young adults. seeing as the actions and personalities were not too far off from reality it was easier for teenage readers to find themselves intrigued and apart of this magical world bestowed upon them.

    whoever disagrees with smith’s story style is ignorant and clearly outdated.

  11. Just as a quick response to Nona. I understand that you do not think it is appropriate for Middle School aged children, but keep in mind that by definition Young Adult books are targeting 14-18 year olds. Middle School in most parts of this country houses 11-14 year olds. So yes, in a middle school, this book may be a bit too much. But as far as a young adult book it is right on par. As an educator, like myself, you should have done the research before you posted such a rude and inaccurate message on the books website.

    As for the book, I am an avid YA reader. I am a few years out of the demographic, but I enjoy the entertainment level that so many of them provide. I am not finished with Betwixt yet, but I am deeply intrigued. I hope for a sequel, because I find the writing to be utterly enjoyable.

  12. I truly enjoyed this book. The characters seemed truer than any I’ve come across in the “young adult” novel world. Being a junior in highschool, I can attest sex, drugs, parties, and that journey to find your real self are all major themes in teen life. I thought the way the author handled all these was just incredible. I appriciated so much the artistic references from Ondine, Morgan, and Rapheal. As a student at a boarding arts school, I found it so amazing to hear my own world reflected through these characters. I’ve never found that in a book before, it was just great.

    My whole life I have felt called to the Pacific Northwest, and this novel has only strengthened that pull. The vocies in which this story was told, you can hear the author’s pride in the setting. It was so refreshing. I also liked how it could cover the broad spectrem of entirely different elemental ideals-such as what is truly out there, what makes people people, what makes us who we are. I was not expecting to recieve a new understanding of the world’s physical possibilities, but I’m happy I got that.

    This book is truly for the open-minded. I believe it’s good for any age. The younger ones could use as much knowledge about drug-abuse, shady people, and taking care of themselves as they can get. And I think older people will find a nostalgic throw-back to their wild, hard, fun, defining teen years.

  13. I’m a fifteen year old girl, a month into her sophomore year of high school, and I wasn’t shocked, startled, or corrupted by any material of the book. I’m a bit mature for my age, sure, but I didn’t find anything particularly unsuitable for my age group in the book.

    Sure, there’s some sexuality, but it’s actually pretty tame, considering what ACTUALLY goes on. Also, seeing as “dust” is a fantasy drug, I considered the descriptions to be very vivid. Since it’s actually a harmful substance, rather than portrayed as something “cool.” The parties were disastrous, and the character that entrances the cops and liquor salesman is arguably a considerably “neutral” character, because he flits back and forth from the “good” and “bad” sides.
    There are a lot of vague themes, and the character are vague at times. However, I found a lot of meaning in the book; maybe, being a teenager, I can see things more clearly in a book MEANT for teenagers.

  14. I personally think that the book is fine for young adults. I myself am fourteen and think that there is nothing wrong with the fact that there was cussing and drugs in the book. Cussing and drugs are a fact of life, and not putting them in books is not going to change that. Mrs. Smith managed to incorporate real teenage life with fantasy and magic, and that is a great accomplishment. Its a fairy tale for the older kids, nothing like cinderella or tinkerbell. A lot of adults think that kids should be sheltered and kept innocent. But personally, nothing that happened in this book is something that i havnt known about since i was ten

  15. YA fiction has begun to blur the line between YOUNG teens and older ones. Themes are more mature, but its the reality of things. I was glad to find the language and behaviors portrayed as such; the author was not afraid to be honest with the reader.

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