About the Book
“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.
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In My Opinion
A thoroughly engaging book about family told through to time periods—1918 for Elaine and 1955 for her daughter Molly—Between Before and After is unique and refreshing. Love of their brothers and interested in writing are commonalities between Molly and her mother, yet there’s also an air of depression around Elaine. One Molly is convinced comes from something from Elaine’s past.
In an effort to figure out what is happening with her mother, Molly embarks on a fact-finding mission to try and figure out the disconnect between them.
Maureen Doyle McQuerry gives readers an intricately layered story of two young women in very different times who are related but distant. Elaine’s storyline is more emotional as she lives through heavy moments of loss and grief. Yet, Molly’s journey of discovery enhances both.
The end is more abrupt and could have been fleshed out a bit more, but the journey is definitely worth taking. For those looking for YA reads that don’t center on romance, Between Before and After is an excellent choice.
I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.