More historical fiction!
Thanks to Blink YA and TLC Book Tours for the free copy in exchange for my honest review.
BETWEEN BEFORE AND AFTER – Maureen Doyle McQuerry (out now!)
“The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their ruffled blooms until they dropped into monstrous drifts of red on the parched yellow lawn … Only two things kept my mother grounded to us: my uncle Stephen and stories.”
Fourteen-year-old Molly worries about school, friends, and her parents’ failed marriage, but mostly about her mother’s growing depression. Molly knows her mother is nursing a carefully-kept secret. A writer with an obsession for other people’s life stories, Elaine Donnelly is the poster child of repressed emotions.
Molly spends her California summer alternately watching out for her little brother Angus and tip-toeing around her mother’s raw feelings. Molly needs her mother more than ever, but Elaine shuts herself off from real human connections and buries herself in the lives and deaths of the strangers she writes about. When Uncle Stephen is pressed into the limelight because of his miracle cure of a young man, Elaine can no longer hide behind other people’s stories. And as Molly digs into her mother’s past, she finds a secret hidden in her mother’s dresser that may be the key to unlocking a family mystery dating to 1918 New York—a secret that could destroy or save their future.
Told in dual narratives between 1918 New York City and 1955 San Jose, California, Between Before and After, by award-winning author Maureen McQuerry, explores the nature of family secrets, resiliency, and redemption. This is an historical coming-of-age Young Adult story about the complex bonds between mothers and daughters.
My Thoughts: 4/5 stars!
I’ve always been a big fan of historical fiction, and I know that it’s not for everyone. Some historical fiction titles can be really fact heavy or feel like you’re reading a history textbook. BETWEEN BEFORE AND AFTER is the perfect book if you’re looking to get into the genre because it’s on the lighter side. This is definitely a YA read in the sense that one of our perspectives is that of a 14 year old.
We go between the past and present and see through the eyes of Molly and her mother, Elaine. This book is full of emotion and the writing was absolutely captivating. I was not expecting to become so involved and invested in the story and the characters, but it happened immediately. Plenty of family secrets and I felt the relationship between Molly and her mother was very authentic. McQuerry was able to capture those emotions and transported us straight into their world.
My only drawback would have to be the ending. It felt a tad rushed but that’s just me. It didn’t take away from the journey or reading experience for me. I highly recommend this to fans of historical fiction and to those who love a good character driven novel.
About the Author:
Maureen McQuerry is an award winning poet, novelist and teacher. Her YA novel, The Peculiars is an ALA Best Book for YA 2013, Bank Street and Home Book recommended book. Her MG fantasy duo, Beyond the Door and The Telling Stone were a Booklist Top Ten Fantasy/SciFi for Youth and a finalist for the WA State Book awards. Her poetry appears in many journals and anthologies. She lives in Washington State.
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