Evie spends a lot of her time alone, and for the most part she likes it that way. She’s worlds apart from her mother, who seems obsessed with looking perfect all the time. At lunch in school she sits with a group she calls The Whisperers, because they talk quietly to one another. But at least they accept her presence at their table, and they like to hear stories about Jonah. Jonah combs the woods behind a high-end neighborhood every week to rid it of dead animals while Evie delivers newspapers there. She longs for him to notice her.
Then comes the Sunday that Jonah finds the body of Evie’s one-time friend as he makes his regular rounds. Evie can’t get the murder out of her mind, and she finds herself lying to make her relationship with the dead girl, Elizabeth, closer than it was. She’s drawn into a friendship with Elizabeth’s dad and her real best friend, Hadley.
The girls work to solve the crime together, but actions quickly escalate out of their control.
The Space Between Trees by Katie Williams grabs you and pulls you into the story with the first words and doesn’t turn you loose until the last sentence. It highlights real dangers when teens take risks, and also shows how they can sometimes fall into magical thinking that heightens and exaggerates their fears.
There are many issues for moms and daughters to talk about: making decisions about who to trust, keeping lines of communication open between moms and teen daughters, teens trying out new experiences just to see what they are like, and more. The Space Between Trees is wonderfully creepy, and I recommend reading it in the light of day or you may just find yourself jumping at every little sound in the dark. I highly recommend it for mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 14 and up.