Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Space Between Trees by Katie Williams + Contest!


Published 2010.

In this haunting tale, quirky loner Evie is in the wrong place at the wrong time when her sometime friend and local crush, Jonah, discovers a body in the woods - a body that turns out to be that of her childhood playmate. At the funeral, a fateful lie leads Evie into a complicated relationship with the dead girl's father and best friend. Before she realizes what is happening, Evie is on the hunt for a killer, spinning more lies along the way and putting herself in serious danger. (book back blurb)

In all honesty, I like where this book started much more than where it ended. In the beginning, Evie was such an awkward character. Like awkward to the point of me actually cringing at some of the things she did. And the thing is, everyone knows at least one person just like this. They're alone. They crave contact, any contact, with someone and sometimes they act like they're 6 to get it. Not to mention they're oblivious to the obvious body language they're being projected from their target. It's uncomfortable to watch and just as uncomfortable to read about. That's what really drew me in.

Evie stayed her awkward self until the body was found and she started hanging out with Hadley, the dead girl's current friend (as opposed to Evie herself, being the dead girl's former friend). Her personality, from what I saw, visibly shifted. I still read about Evie as she normally was in her head. The awkwardness was still there. But outwardly that seemed to have gone away and, I think, rather abruptly. I just had a hard time trying to figure out why she was still awkward on the inside and not anymore on the outside. Did she get better at hiding it because of Hadley? I'm not sure.

Hadley was actually my favorite character, though. I wanted to help her so bad. She was so utterly wrecked after her best friend was killed and the sad thing was, no one was really there to help her. Her parents basically stuck her on drugs and left her to her own devises. Personally I think that's an excellent portrayal of parenting today. Drugs cure all, right? The thing is, Hadley isn't the type of character that would actually let you help her. She's one of those people with the tough exterior that's constantly putting on a front and constantly on the offensive. But those moments of weakness, when the hurt and the pain broke through, rounded her character out so thoroughly I could see her standing up from the page and telling the story herself.

The ending turned into a bit of a Lifetime movie for me. I wish there were more consequences to Evie's lies and the things Hadley did aside from merely growing as characters. There didn't seem to be any of that. I kept getting a real Wonder Years monologue going at the very end where all the loose ends were being tied up and wrapped in a pretty box. I'm not a fan of these types of endings. I like them messier. Here, though, everyone seemed to turn out okay and they all moved on with their lives. Pretty boring, if I had to be honest. And I usually do.

So while the plot is relatively stagnant, the characters carry the story in The Space Between Trees. I don't think you'll be reading it to figure out who Zabet's killer is because even within the story itself, it's not the main focus. You'll read it for the characters who are compelling and awkward and nasty and broken. I would change the ending if I could, but I can't. But some people like the kind of neat closure this story will offer and that's fine. I'm sure if it were told from Hadley's point of view, I would have gotten an ending as sloppy as her house.

Check out the first chapter of The Space Between Trees. This is the one that completely sucked me in if only for Evie's heinous awkwardness.


Contest Time!!!

Thanks to the wonderful people at Chronicle, I have a signed copy of The Space Between Trees to offer up to one lucky winner. Interested? Then fill out the form below for your chance to win. Open to US residents 13 years of age and older only. One entry per person, per email. Duplicate entries will be deleted. Contest ends August 14th at midnight, EST.


15 comments:

Orchid said...

Sounds like an intersting read, minus the end that is.
Thanks for the awesome contest. ^_^

Adriana said...

This does sound interesting, but some of the negatives you pointed out don't really appeal to me either. It seems like it's worth a read though. Thanks for the giveaway.

Life After Jane said...

This is on my TBR. Thanks for the contest!

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

I agree with you that there should be more consequences to actions than just the characters' development. That's what plot is all about, right? So after I read that part, I had to laugh when you described the plot as "relatively stagnant." For in such a case, it would be, wouldn't it?

Anyway, I don't think I'll be joining this contest. ;-)

Thanks for the review!

Bethie said...

Thanks for the contest. Please count me in. I'd like to give it a try myself.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Book Crazy Jenn said...

Been wondering about this one, not sure now with your review but think I might like to give it a try...everyone seems to like such different things!

Thank you for the contest, and the awesome review.

Jennie Smith said...

I like the cover of this one... I am not sure what to think though but would love to give it a chance!!

Thanks for the contest!

Cara said...

The synopsis sounds interesting and I love the way you describe Evie in the beginning of the book! Sad that it seems to have gone downhill.

Still looking forward to reading this though. Thanks for the contest! (:

Vidisha said...

Great giveaway!!

Kailia Sage said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

Beverly said...

Thanks for hosting!

Elise said...

Thanks!

bridget3420 said...

I entered

Jessy said...

Sounds like it's still worht a try. Thanks for the giveaway!

Meredith said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

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