A magical hotel, a mysterious tree, and a cryptic story about their missing father leads twins Cam and Cass on a worldly adventure in this enchanting debut novel that’s perfect for fans of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library and Wildwood.
Twins Cam and Cass have never known their parents. They’ve been told their mother died, and Cass is certain their father abandoned them. Cam isn’t so sure. He wants to prove her wrong; he must.
Cam’s wish is soon granted in the form of a glistening, golden sign with elaborate flourishes that reads: The Hotel Between. With doors that open to countries all over the world, magical trollies, charmed corridors that can be altered on a whim, stone elephants that turn to life, sweets made from rocks; everything is possible in The Hotel. Cam has a hunch his father is somehow connected to this magical place, and may even be lost within its hidden halls.
Every journey has its risks, and The Hotel Between is full of dangerous secrets. If Cam’s not careful, his stay may be over before his vacation has even started.--from the publisher
Cameron lives with his Oma, who works at his school as a substitute teacher, and sister Cassia, who has been challenged all of her life with the complications of spina bifida. His mother is dead, and his father has disappeared, although Oma says he was stolen and didn't abandon them. One day, Cam is coming home from school and see a mysterious building; the Hotel Between. He meets the mysterious Nico, and finds out that the amulet on the necklace he wears that belonged to his father ties him to the place in a strange way. Hoping to find his missing father, he gets more and more involved with the hotel, working there and meeting people like the Old Man and Stripe, who are vaguely evil and mysterious, and almost certainly know more than they are telling. The hotel has a series of doors that connect to different parts of the world and facilitate travel and the "best vacations" that people have ever had-- even if they are not going to remember all of the magical details. The hotel has some problems, however, and is always in danger of having the pins that connect the worlds fail in disastrous ways. Cass is very ill, and Cam believes that the hotel may hold the secret to healing her, and that their father disappeared when trying to figure this out. Will Cam be able to find his father, or will the mysterious hotel hold more grief for him than anything else?
Strengths: There is a lot of great world building going on with the hotel, its mechanics, and the people inhabiting it. It was very clear that while Cam put so much hope in the hotel, he was going to be disappointed, because things were much more complicated than they seemed at first. It's a great concept (a central door to get to a lot of different locations), and the mystery with the parents also worked well and was solved in a very interesting way. My favorite past was probably Oma, in her flowered shirts and khakis!
Weaknesses: Even with all of the action and adventure, there was a strong feeling of sadness and anxiety that overshadowed the fun elements of the book.
What I really think: Something about this cover, and the overall plot, reminded me of Oliver's The Shrunken Head. This is the sort of fantasy that doesn't do particularly well with my readers (who seem to prefer old school medieval fantasies or happier magical realism), so I am debating.
Reviewed by: Karen Yingling; Library Media Specialist; Ohio USA
See more of her reviews: msyinglingreads.blogspot.com