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If a Girl Falls In the Forest, But No One Cares, Did She Still Make an Impact?

Posh reviews The Space Between Trees by Katie Williams, a hauntingly beautiful story about that quiet girl who always keeps to herself.

If a Girl Falls In the Forest, But No One Cares, Did She Still Make an Impact?

BOOK REPORT for The Space Between Trees by Katie Williams

BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Straight Up Raw
Bonus Factors: Mysterious Loner Dude, Heebie Jeebies, Awesome Cover
Relationship Status: Mysterious New Kid In School

The Deal:

Part mystery, part coming of age, Evie's story is guaranteed to haunt you for days. She's one of those shadowy figures that no one in high school seems to notice, and for the most part, she doesn't care. Her main focus in life is the ten minutes every Sunday she spends making small talk with Jonah Luks, the mysterious and handsome (obvs) college drop-out who gets paid to cart dead animals out of the neighborhood woods. Every week Evie finishes her paper route early just so she can collect a few words from him, precious gems that add sparkle to the dreary life she shares with her perfect, distant mother. This simple ritual is the glue that holds Evie's life together... until the day Jonah discovers a dead body in the forest. As the community grapples with a possible killer in its midst, Evie desperately seeks solace in Jonah, only to find it from an entirely surprising source: Hadley, the tough girl who drinks, smokes and beds college boys. Together, these two unlikely friends slowly unravel as their search for the truth leads them closer, not to the killer, but to their own personal darkness.

BFF Charm: Yay

Oh Evie, you make me SO SAD, I can't even say yr name without sighing. A lifetime of bleak loneliness has created a protective shell around yr heart, and I fear it might explode due to the incessant questions and crippling uncertainty bubbling up from yr soul. Girl, you don't just need a slumber party, you need a THERAPIST. And while I don't think friends should pretend to be licensed counselors, I do know that a few years worth of healthy friendship can do wonders for your self-esteem. Evie, you gotta learn to respect yrself, otherwise people will just keep treating you like shizz (or worse, totally ignoring you). Stop taking crap from people and start recognizing yr own awesomeness! Seriously, deep down in you, I know there's a strong, intelligent, kickass girl just waiting to come out, and I hope, some day, that you let her blossom.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Jonah Luks is definitely a sexy character (see the MLD bonus factor below), and it's easy to see why Evie (plus half of the school) is totally in love with him. Even though there's not really much action per se, Williams' gorgeously descriptive language captures the intensity of a teenage crush, those tiny moments when yr hairs stand up, the details you notice about someone because you're just SO. INTO. THEM. All of Evie's encounters with Jonah, even the ones with only a "Hello" exchanged, left my stomach tight and my breath caught in my throat. The only reason this score isn't higher is due to some decidedly unromantic and downright awful moments involving boys later in the book.

Talky Talk: Straight Up Raw

I kind of want to hate Katie Williams because this is her first YA novel and yet HER WRITING IS AMAZING (btw she got her MFA in Austin, holla!). Her ability to pair bare bones emotion with piercing descriptions is incredible, and there was never a moment that felt false to me. Throughout the story, I was entirely connected to Evie-- I was Evie-- which made her awkwardness, her loneliness and her mistakes just as painful for me as they were for her. What saves this book from being completely depressing is Williams' brilliant writing. Take, for example, Evie's reaction to smiling at exactly the wrong moment:

Sometimes that's when I grin, though, when something is terrible. I don't know why. It's like my mouth is attached to one of those board-game spinners, and it spins all the way around the possible shapes it could make, only to land on the exact wrong one.

See what I'm talking about? Williams manages to write in a way that leaves me, a v. different person than Evie, shaking my head and saying, "I know EXACTLY what you mean."

Bonus Factor: Mysterious Loner Dude

Jonah Luks follows in the grand tradition of YA love interests whose sexy mysteriousness demands a full name. You know, like Jordan Catalano, Tim Riggins, Marcus Flutie and of course, the (superior) other Jonah, Jonah Griggs. And while he's definitely at the bottom of that list, Jonah Luks nails all of the qualities necessary for MLD hotness: aloof, enigmatic and slightly shady.

Bonus Factor: Heebie Jeebies

Y'all there is some CREEPY SHIZZ in this book. And I don't mean, like, hack and slash, I mean that feeling when the hairs on yr neck prick up cos someone's following you or waiting around the corner to stab you or OMG WHAT IF SOMEONE IS HIDING IN MY SHOWER. It's only a few moments, but MAN did I get nervous. And also, I won't be going into the woods any time soon.

Bonus Factor: Awesome Cover

Here at FYA, we feel v. strongly about good, creative book covers. Well CHECK THIS INTRICATE BUSINESS OUT!!!! The cover of the book is CARVED into the design of the trees, revealing the purple paper (with the title) beneath it. SO FANCY!

Casting Call:

Dakota Fanning as Evie

Dakota could certainly handle the emotional storm brewing in Evie while remaining blandly ordinary on the surface.

Taylor Kitsch as Jonah Luks

Come on. LIKE I HAD A CHOICE. Plus I just touched his arm (!!!) so let's say he's on my brain even more than usual.

Emma Stone as Hadley

She's already got the smoker's voice, plus Emma can totally nail the rough and sassy veneer of Evie's new bff.

Relationship Status: Mysterious New Kid In School

The first time I saw this book, I knew I HAD to meet it. And my feeling wasn't based simply on appearance, although that sweetass cover certainly played a role. There was something dark about this book, something strangely compelling, and it really stood out from the other kids in school. I was drawn to its mysteriousness, lured in by the sense of danger that clung to it. We began spending time together, and in some ways, I was surprised to find that this book was normal, with its own insecurities and problems. On the other hand, it carried heavy secrets, ones that I knew my heart could only handle for so long. Our days together were intense but fleeting, and while it left me with a bittersweet taste in my mouth, I'll always be glad I unlocked a bit of its mystery.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Chronicle Books. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). The Space Between Trees is now available.

Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).