What We Knew
When I was little, I imagined a monster: Scaly hands. Mouth full of blades. Pits for eyes.
When Tracy and her best friend, Lisa, were kids, stories about Banana Man—a creep who exposes himself to little girls—were enough to keep them out of the woods and in their own backyards. But Tracy and Lisa aren't kids anymore, and Banana Man is nothing but a sick joke, a lame urban legend...or is he?
Someone lives in the woods and he's watching. He knows their secrets. Secrets the girls can't tell anyone, not even each other. Secrets that are slowly eating them from the inside out...
Wake up. You're not a little kid. Monsters don't exist.
Lisa's just being paranoid, right? That's what Tracy thinks, but then a disturbing “gift” confirms her worst fears and sets the girls on a path of vengeance that takes them beyond the edge of the woods. But reality is often more terrifying than the most chilling myth, and what they find will test the bonds of friendship, loyalty, and love. Can two wrongs ever make a right? How far are you willing to go for your best friend?
Once upon a time, two girls were lost in the woods...
Tracy and Lisa can't destroy the evil they'll face, but can they stop it from destroying their lives?
St. Martin's Press. Vicki Lame, Editor.
“The end result is not only tragic, but also tells an entirely different story of secrets and deception; readers come away understanding that there is always more than meets the eye… The characters are rough around the edges—they smoke and drink. They also take care of one another and will ring true to teens. Older readers looking for a book that unravels the truth in an unconventional way will enjoy this urban legend.” —School Library Journal
"Stewart weaves a story of mystery, fear, and the strains that growing up puts on friendship in this psychological tale. Best read with the lights on, this narrative asserts that the truth is often far scarier than childish myths, and far more likely to hit close to home. Stewart’s suspenseful creepfest explores the nature of paranoia, the limits of loyalty, the pursuit of vengeance, and the ways that friendships change as young people come of age." —Booklist
Fourteen-year-old Elanor Moss has always been an outcast who fails at everything she tries—she's got the scars to prove it. Moving to Pottsville was supposed to be her new beginning, a chance to leave behind all the pain and ugliness of her old life. But when disaster strikes, Elanor's life is changed forever. She survives the accident but her near-death experience opens a door to a world inhabited by Madeline Torus.
Madeline is everything Elanor is not: beautiful, bold, brave. She is exactly what Elanor has always wanted in a best friend and more—their connection runs deeper than friendship. But Madeline is not like other girls, and Elanor has to keep her new friend a secret or risk being labeled “crazy.” Soon, though, even Elanor starts to doubt her own sanity. Madeline is her entire life, and that life is spinning out of control.
St. Martin's Press. Vicki Lame, Editor.
"This may be Stewart’s first novel, but she exhibits a practiced skill, keeping events ambiguous enough to have readers guessing throughout. A most intriguing book and debut." —Kirkus
"Stewart crafts an eerie and suspenseful novel that stands out from its contemporaries."—Romantic Times
"Stewart's debut novel is a riveting page-turner with real empathy and compassion."—Booklist
"A dark and uneasy psychological tale that delivers just the disturbance readers are looking for."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“Barbara Stewart's THE IN-BETWEEN, a dark, compelling story of love, loneliness and obsession spun out of control is chilling, heartbreaking and nerve-wracking in the best possible way. Elanor Moss's fierce struggle to survive is unforgettable and will keep you reading way past bedtime…an impressive book and it grabbed me by the throat on page one and didn't let me go until the end.”—Laura Wiess, author of SUCH A PRETTY GIRL and ORDINARY BEAUTY
"Barbara Stewart's THE IN-BETWEEN is terrifying, in the best possible way. Keeping all the lights on and reading in the daytime won't save you from goose bumps and shivers."—Tiffany Schmidt, author of SEND ME A SIGN
"Creepy and addictive, Barbara Stewart's THE IN-BETWEEN left me with both an acute distrust of what my eyes see, and an overwhelming fear of falling asleep. This psychological thriller definitely thrilled me."—Jodi Meadows, author of the INCARNATE trilogy
"Compelling and addictive, hands-down my favorite YA read of the year. I was in the story's grip from beginning to end, in awe of how beautifully and realistically Barbara layered Ellie's personality and how she kept me guessing and wondering until the very last page. Most of all, I cared for poor, troubled Ellie and her family. I wanted to take the journey with her all the way to the end. I wanted to see her heal.”—Jennifer Brown, author of HATE LIST
Author Photo: JNP Images
I spent the first nineteen years of my life wanting to be someone else: Laura Ingalls, Elton John, Nancy Spungen, Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe, Sylvia Plath. It was hard finding work as any of those people, so I went to college. That was hard, too, because I had to pick a major. I was interested in a lot of things—psychology, sociology, history—but none of them screamed "career" at me.
And then my English professor asked if I wanted to write a short story for extra credit. I gave it a shot. And then I wrote another and another…I couldn’t stop. I knew what I wanted to do.
I finished my BA in English, married the awesome Dave Kopecek, and moved to the Midwest to get an MFA in Creative Writing. Fast forward through two businesses, a wood-paneled station wagon, a Route 66 pilgrimage, a close call with a tornado, a 1967 Cadillac, a soul-trying move back East, a Shining-like winter in the woods, a run-in with a rabid raccoon, the restoration of an old house, and I still don’t know who I am, but that’s why I write. I’m a kid again; I get to be whoever I want: the tomboy, the rock star, the crazy artist, the drug-sick groupie, the goddess, the suicidal poet.
Now I live in the Catskill Mountains with my still awesome husband and an odd little cat named Shirley. I read a lot of true crime and crochet way too many scarves. I love amusement parks, anything with peanut butter, and Key West. I'm all about gritty, edgy stories with surprise endings. Dark and unsettling endings, too, because life is messy. I also like horror—the supernatural kind—thanks to my grandmother. I still can't believe some of the stuff she let me watch.
I am represented by Amy Tipton at Signature Literary Agency.
There are a lot of Barbara Stewarts out there. Here are a few things I am not:
- A politician living in New Zealand. That's Barbara Stewart.
- A Realtor, Insurance Agent or Diabetes Sales Specialist. That's Barbara Stewart (Realtor) Barbara Stewart (Insurance) and Barbara Stewart (Diabetes).
- A composer known for her work on the kazoo. That's Barbara Stewart.
- A writer for the New York Times. That's Barbara Stewart.
- An actress who appeared in Simon Birch. That's Barbara Stewart.
- A Canadian writer. (Not that there's anything wrong with that. Some of my best friends are Canadian) That's Barbara I. Stewart.