“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 Mc Querry, 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.
|Product dimensions:||5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)|
|Age Range:||13 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Maureen Mc Querry is an award-winning novelist, teacher, and sometime poet. Her novels include, The Peculiars (ALA Best Book for Young Adult Readers 2013, and winner of the Westchester Award), the MG Time Out of Time duet: Beyond the Door and The Telling Stone (Booklist top Ten Fantasy/Sci Fi for Youth) that combines, Celtic myth, shapeshifters and a secret code in a coming of age story, and the YA historical, Between Before and After (Blink/Harper Collins 2/5/2019). She lives with her husband in WA State and spends her time between the Columbia River and the Puget Sound and traveling to where ever life's next real life mystery make take her.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Now, I'm always interested in stories that connect different times in the past. Usually I like when they are related to more of major historical events, but this one had its own connections that definitely kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering where it would all go, and how it would all connect. As we followed through the mother, Elaine's time period, there were so many things going on in her life that it kept me guessing and catching clues for paths to try to figure out just what the major secret she was hiding from her daughter was. I started to figure it out a bit, once we learned of the crush Elaine had, but how that all turned out wasn't the exact path I'd predicted in my head, and I love how an author can keep you guessing, and even when you start to figure it out, still have surprises left for you in the end! I liked how even though we had Molly's Uncle Stephen who was very religious, and then her mother who was not happy with god, all of that was done without seeming to force the reader to feel one way or the other. Definitely a great mystery and also a good family story. It was fun to read about a trip to the very first McDonald's in their town back in that time period and compare it to what the fast food restaurant is today. Now, I can't give a specific quote, in case anything changes in the final edition of the book, but there was one line or bit that I really, really liked. A part where one of the characters said that a good story isn't written to teach a lesson. Anything that the reader learns is through what they identify with in the story. Also they said something about there being something in the human heart that needs a story. I believe all of those things are true. At least for me, and the books that I read.
Historical fiction is a beautiful, sometimes painful way to learn and appreciate past eras that have shaped our country. This new book by Maureen Doyle McQuerry is perfect for young adults. It gives them a close-up look of a young girl’s life in New York, 1918 when the flu epidemic took so many. The story flashes back and forth between 1918 and 1955, when the child, Elaine is grown with a daughter of her own. Molly is consumed with the need to understand her mother’s melancholy moods. As she digs deeper into the fractured history of her mother’s life, she may not be prepared for what she learns. This is an enjoyable, realistic but not too dark reflection of the growing pains suffered by many in the evolution of a nation. (I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Thank you to Blink for making it available.)
I received a complimentary copy of this book; I am not required to leave a positive review. When I read the blurb for this book I immediately knew that I was going to have to read this one! There are some things I liked about this book and some things I didn’t like. I liked that questions start rising from the very first chapter. I think that Maureen has a gift for painting mental pictures through words, from characters, to places, to injuries; I could easily imagine the scene. I loved the time frame of the book. My absolute favorite thing about this book is, every chapter adds something to the story, and no chapter was wasted. I loved that every page left you wanting more. I loved the way the book ended. There are a few things I didn’t like. I picked this up thinking it would be a Christian book, but it wasn’t even close to Christian in my opinion. I saw it as a mainstream book with some Christian background to it. My reasons for this are because; there were a couple of curse words that the characters used three or four times throughout the book. It covered many dark topics such as teen pregnancy, affairs, abuse, and alcoholism. I could have overruled most of this if there was a stronger Christian message. Overall I really enjoyed this book. I thought that it was very well written, especially with it being her first full length novel. I would have given it five stars if it were not for the language and the lack of a Christian message. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a very well written page turner.
I loved, loved, loved Ms. McQuerry's writing style. The split-time was handled in an incredible manner, with the end of each chapter being left in a cliffhanger. It made the novel difficult to put down. Many times throughout the story, an excerpt from Hansel and Gretel is used, adding character to the story as a whole. Despite everything that I loved, the content was mature enough that I cannot recommend this book to teens. There was a description of how abortion is performed and prematernal sex resulting in a child. There were also numerous comments scattered throughout the novel that were not appropriate. Personal Rating: 2 Stars Content Rating: 1 Star *I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required.
I liked Between Before and After, I just didn't love it. I feel like most of the story could've been told from Elaine's view in 1918 without missing much. Or that the 1952 story could still have been told from Elaine's view. I struggled with why the author chose Elaine's daughter, Molly, to tell that part of the story. I am not sure that her daughter's perspective added anything to the narrative but I would've loved to know what was happening in Elaine's mind, especially regarding the bit of plot twist at the end of the novel. I also didn't understand why Elaine hated religion, why her brother's "miracle" was included, or why Molly's friendship with Ari or her relationship with her father wasn't further explored. I would've loved to have the whole story set during the 1918 flu epidemic and learned more about Elaine's childhood. Overall, I enjoyed reading the book, but it left me with more questions than answers. **Thank you to NetGalley for and ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review.