Between Before and After
by Maureen Doyle McQuerry
YA / Historical / Mystery
Expected Publication Date: February 5th, 2019
Get a copy here!
“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.
About the Author:
All of my books have an element of mystery and magic, even the realistic stories. And as a friend pointed out, there is a library in every one of them. It must be because libraries have always been magical places for me.
Maureen McQuerry is an award winning poet, novelist and teacher. Her YA novel, The Peculiars (Abrams/Amulet 2012) is an ALA Best Book for Young Adult Readers 2013, Bank Street and Horne Book recommended book, and a winner of the Westchester Award. Her most recent book is Beyond the Door (Abrams/Amulet), a Booklist top Ten Fantasy/SciFi for Youth. It is the first in a MG duo that combines, Celtic myth, shapeshifters and a secret code in a coming of age story. The adventure continues in The Telling Stone. Beyond the Door is a current for the WA State Book awards.
+ 5 Finished Copies of Between Before & After by Maureen Doyle McQuerry
+ Signed Bookplates (USA only)
Quick Reasons: deliciously poignant; that purple prose slays; believable, flawed characters; the growth discovered in the mystery was on point; this journey will crawl into your heart and stay there
HUGE thanks to Maureen Doyle McQuerry, Blink Publishing, and Fantastic Flying Book Club for sending a complimentary galley of this title my way! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.
This book was a journey, Penguins–and a heart wrenching, poignant one at that. The dual POVs/time frames really helped to fully round the characters out, especially in the case of Elaine.
Where from Molly’s POV, Elaine seems trapped in her own world, full of secrets…we, as readers, get to see the world FROM Elaine’s younger years while also helping Molly unravel the mysteries of her mom. Maureen Doyle McQuerry built a strong story foundation, sprinkling just enough clues throughout that while readers might have a sense of SOME of the darkest abysses to be unraveled, some of the biggest reveals were left to settle in their own time, and with a bang. I really enjoyed the way that the most applicable life lessons were left to fill themselves out and fall into place without being forced. The growth found in the journey, especially in the case of Molly trying to figure out just who she is, was so beautifully rendered.
The purple prose is likewise delicious. Maureen Doyle McQuerry wielded a pen dipped in the finest of words, and knew how to weave a tapestry of gorgeous imagery. I had next to no trouble falling into this story from page one. The characters were believable and so easy to empathize with, as well. The gritty atmosphere and emotional leanings of the time period were equally well-handled, taking care not to sugar coat the hardest lessons but also approaching each with sensitivity and respect.
I just CANNOT say enough about this book. It is beautiful, inside and out (no, really, every finite detail was approached with care, from the cover art to the title headings and page breaks). Maureen Doyle McQuerry crafted a winner in my book, Penguins. I encourage those who love historical fiction with believable characters and family secrets to pick this book up–I guarantee you’ll lose yourselves in the journey just as easily as I did!