cover image The Space Between Trees

The Space Between Trees

Katie Williams, Chronicle, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8118-7175-4

A loner, 16-year-old Evie seeks companionship where she can find it, whether it's with the group of girls who tolerate her company at lunch or with her crush, Jonah, a college dropout whose job entails clearing dead animals from the woods by a wealthy suburb. Evie often sees Jonah on her paper route and is there right after he discovers the body of Zabet (short for Elizabeth), a girl Evie was friends with years ago. Evie gradually befriends Hadley, Zabet's destructive best friend, who wants Evie's help tracking Zabet's killer. Evie's palpable loneliness is excruciating, and debut novelist Williams's prose brings readers deep inside Evie's psyche. Her first-person narration is full of the kind of thoughtful descriptions one might expect from someone who's much better at observation than interaction (of her mother: "She orders her beauty into shape like a squad of soldiers.... So when she finally decides to look up at me, her face is all set, her beauty ready to salute"). Evie's raw honesty and the choices she makes make for difficult reading, but also a darkly beautiful, emotionally honest story of personal growth. Ages 14–up. (June)