Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Space Between Trees by Katie Williams

Title:  The Space Between Trees 
Author:  Katie Williams
Publisher:  Chronicle Books
Publication date:  2010
Source:  Purchased for my YA lit class
My grade:  F

Not your everyday coming-of-age novel 

This story was supposed to be about Evie how she hasn't made a friend in years, how she tends to stretch the truth (especially about her so-called relationship with college drop-out Jonah Luks), and how she finally comes into her own once she learns to just be herself but it isn't. Because when her classmate Elizabeth "Zabet" McCabe's murdered body is found in the woods, everything changes and Evie's life is never the same again.

I don’t even know how to begin this review, so I’m just going to lay it out there.  This book was the biggest waste of my time ever.  I kept reading and reading, hoping that something would just HAPPEN, and nothing ever did.  I can’t figure out what the author wanted to even accomplish with is book.

The only good thing about this book was the cover.  Which was really awesome!  And it proves that you absolutely cannot ever judge a book by its cover.  The cover was this actual cutout of trees with the purple paper of the first page showing through it.  It gave the book this sort of spooky feeling that I was hoping I would find in the book.  Too bad it never came to pass.  ::sighs::

This is book 3 of the summer of 25 and it is one that the whole class had to read.  Maybe other people liked it better than I did, but honestly, I want to read a book that’s about something.

Now, some of you may be going, “But, Tammy, you loved ‘Anna and the French Kiss’, and that novel is not about anything”.  And you would be right, there was not some big, huge supernatural adventure or plot, no murder mystery or anything giant.  But it was about something… was about growing up, finding yourself and taking that first step out into the world on your own.  The same thing that ‘Part-Time Indian’ was about.  I kept hoping that the ending to this book would hold that “great moment of self-awareness” also.  After all, that’s what makes YA lit wonderful, in my humble opinion.

Erik Erikson was an adolescent psychologist who wrote about the adolescent quest for self.  He claimed that the teen years were all about learning to define oneself.  The best YA lit captures the struggles and growth in this quest.  Unfortunately, in “The Space Between Trees”, I couldn’t see any growth or change or realization. 

I HATED the main character, Evie.  She had zero personality, she was weak, whiny and a huge liar!!  She trod behind stronger characters throughout the book and then, when they all left, she went right back to being the same weak and whiny girl that she was at the beginning.  The other characters just sort of wandered off into the great yonder, never to be heard from again.  Even the revelation of the murderer was anti-climactic, at best.  The only person who experienced any sort of fundamental change was the poor murder victim.  Yes, I’m serious.

I cannot actually recommend this book to anyone.  I’m really sorry that I had to waste my time reading it.  Watching paint dry would have been more productive.  I rarely hand these out in my class, but if it is deserved, I don’t hold back.  Yes, I’m afraid that this book has earned my first ever F.

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