June 2010

Coping with the ugly truth

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Sixteen-year-old Evie is lonely, friendless and adept at lying—so when the dead body of Elizabeth “Zabet” McCabe is found in the woods, Evie manages to insert herself into the tragedy. Even though Evie hasn’t been friends with Zabet in years, she lies to the girl’s father and says they were best friends. She realizes the severity of her lie when Mr. McCabe invites her and Zabet’s real best friend, Hadley, to dinner. But rather than reveal Evie’s fraud, Hadley surprisingly covers for her, and Evie gets drawn into a friendship with Hadley—whose behavior grows increasingly erratic as she becomes obsessive about finding Zabet’s killer.

While the mystery surrounding Zabet’s murder is both haunting and intriguing, it is Evie who is most unforgettable. She has an authentic voice that evokes a sense of sadness and isolation. Unable to get close to people, Evie fabricates stories and embellishes half-truths to make people respond to her, including her own mother. She observes, “This idea that I have friends is so important to Mom that sometimes I help her out, like, I’ll repeat something funny that Angela Harper said in chem, not including the fact that she’d said it to Rachel Birch, not to me.”
Katie Williams’ debut novel, The Space Between Trees, offers a deft depiction of a girl coping with the truth, no matter how ugly it is. The haunting premise and honest narration of this poignant coming-of-age story will equally captivate both teen and adult readers.


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