Beyond Kathryn Lucas’ first memory of her father’s tree lay a dysfunctional path of violence, heartbreak, and secrets within a family severely entrenched in the vicious cycle of abuse. A lifetime of fear drives her from her home, and the teenage girl finds refuge with an aunt and uncle determined to protect their niece.
Distressing flashbacks unravel in Kathryn’s fragile mind among the turmoil encircling her as she struggles through adolescence and descends into her pain-ridden past. When the summation of her unsettling memories allows the darkness to overtake her, she becomes desperate to unearth the light.
Inspired by a true story, Kathryn must hold on tightly to those who love her, searching for her place in a world threatening to break her as she fights to overcome life’s betrayals before she is deprived of her future.
The biggest issue with this story was all the back and forth. Given there weren’t any real transitions from past to present or vice versa, there were a lot of times when I was confused as which era the story was in. I’m not sure I was a fan of Katherine. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been in a situation like hers or have known of anyone in a similar situation, but there were a lot of times when she came across as very selfish. For example, when her dad takes her out shopping. Yes, he was the one to invite her. But even with all his comments about how expensive the clothes she picked were, she still got all of them but like one shirt. Then after she’s back home, her brother’s friends are over and making a lot of noise. What does she do? She complains to her mom. Get over it! Why she didn’t tell her mother about the alcohol and smoking and all the people coming over was on her. God forbid her brother wants to have fun too. It’s not like it was a school night either.
I had to put this “Questionable” separate from the rest because it was a very big one, in my opinion. Katherine’s Claddagh ring. I don’t remember if it said how long she’s been wearing the ring, but it’s mentioned so many times throughout the story. Yet, why would the author have made it to where Katherine didn’t even know what the ring meant. It was one of her friends that told her the meaning. That just seemed strange to me.
The narrator was okay. I wasn’t so much a fan of the tone of voice she used. It was very mello. While she did a separate male and female voice, all the females sounded the same. So when Katherine was talking to one of her girlfriends or mother or aunt, a lot more of my focus had to be directed on the story so as to know who was talking.
I’m not sure how this was missed or how it even happened, but obviously someone was slacking when it came to checking the audiobook prior to publication. At the end of chapter 5, the narrator finishes the narrative, then says “Chapter 5: Understory.” At the end of chapter 6, the narrator says: “Chapter 6: The Calm Before the Storm.” BUT then she goes on to begin “A light drizzle began… Chapter 7 (insert title here).” It was really strange. After that, it was normal.
Another area with the narrating, in chapter 8 at 8 hrs 19 mins (per Audible), I didn’t make note of the specific wording or what was said, but the narrator was talking about one thing, then is suddenly talking about something totally different. It’s like she was in the middle of one word and began in a totally different spot. I’m not sure how else to describe it.
Now I don’t know if this next…issue…was the narrator faults (saying the wrong word) or the author’s (using the wrong word), or maybe this was a legit sentence. I wish I would have written down the exact sentence. Essentially, in chapter 10, when Katherine goes home, she pitches forward under the “acne” (ache?) that gripped her chest. Now if that is a legit sentence, what the author intended, um… That must have been some painful acne. LOL
OVERALL, I liked the story. It had a lot of issues, in my opinion, but it was interesting and emotional throughout. Not that I liked all the emotional stuff, but it was real. It gave the reader a glimpse into the taboo worlds of depression, sibling abuse. The title of the story kept popping into my head so I was curious to see if I could figure out how it related to the story. The ending with the tree connection was a creative idea.
Moving on to the fun stuff…
Questionable #1: Somewhere near the beginning, I think it was after Katherine went to her aunt and uncle’s house when Brandon broke into her room and chased her outside. There was the part when she was looking out of their windows sees that their cat had gotten hit by her uncle’s car. They then sit down and talk for a bit (not about the cat), then go out to eat.
Questionable #2: Speaking about the lack of transitions between the past and present, there’s a perfect example in chapter 7 when Katherine is on the phone with one of her friends. They’re talking about orchestra camp and suddenly the reader is taken back to when Brandon broke into Katherine’s room (in more detail). Yet no one had said anything about him or that night or the fact she was uncomfortable at home, so it was confusing as to why the author would have suddenly taken the reader on that specific trip.
Questionable #3: So after Katherine’s mom finds out the extent of what Brandon has been doing to Katherine, why does her mother never suggest he get help, like she’ll do whatever she can to get him help whether he wants it or not. There’s just her suggesting the lock on her door and redoing her room.
Questionable #4: Why when it’s time for Katherine to go home does she act like she lives far away from her aunt and uncle? They’re just down the street.
Questionable #5: Why did Katherine stay friends with Val for as long as she did? With all the scenes involving the two of them, there was never a time when Val came across as being a friend of Katherine's. Maybe an acquaintance but nothing more.
Questionable #6: What was the point of Katherine having the guinea pig? I mean even after her room is wrecked, she doesn’t check on the guinea pig to make sure it’s okay.
Questionable #7: Katherine ends up starting tenth grade. It’s now November and her mom tells her she can’t stay home from school because she’s missed so much already. Why had she been missing school?
Questionable #8: When Katherine’s therapist asks her if she knows what could be causing the depression, why did she never bring Liam up, like not unlike years later? I mean he was probably the catalyst.
Questionable #9: Katherine works with Aubree. They go to school together. Yet, Aubree asks how things are going between Katherine and her brother, which means she knew there were some fires between them. But Katherine tells her she has to avoid her brother as though that were something new and not what she’s been doing the last year and a half.
Questionable #10: When Katherine has a therapy session with her father there’s a part when she thinks “Looking back on it now as a sixteen-year-old…” She’s seventeen.
I received a free audiobook version of this story in exchange for an honest review.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Between the trees is story about a young girl's journey of coming to terms with a traumatic past, of love and acceptance.
The main character, Kathy, has to relive her past, as she tries to get past some very dark experiences. These memories are brought to bare in several flashbacks interspersed throughout the book. Adding to the fact that YA isn't my usual thing, this slowed down the story considerably for me.
The story deals with some serious issues, which made it depressing at times, but the writer's command of the narration ensured enough lightheartedness to balance the heavy stuff. The story gets really sweet towards the end, which is somewhat a reflection of the main character's growth.
The characters were well-rounded and believable.
If you're looking for a fast-paced, YA adventure, this is not the book for you. However, if your preference is a slower paced read that delves into the characters' lives, this might just work for you.
The writing is crisp and flows well. Ms Moczerniak has one of those writing styles you can indulge in for the simple pleasure of reading. 3.5 stars
“Between the Trees”, by Kathy Moczerniak, is a heart wrenching yet hope-filled novel about a young woman’s search for safety, normalcy, and happiness. The main character, Kathryn, must deal with issues no young girl should have to encounter. The reader is invited along on Kathryn’s difficult journey as she struggles her way into adulthood. It is hard to believe this is Kathy Moczerniak’s first novel. Her writing style, the imagery, the ease with which the author gets the reader to connect with young Kathryn... I desired so deeply to reach out and protect, advise, and console young Kathryn over and over again as I made my way through this book. And (spoiler alert!) I felt joy in her successes as she matured and found her way out of her pain and suffering. I admit, a tear or two may have been shed as I read this story. Congratulations to this new author. I recommend this book highly.
I highly recommend this book!! I'm excited to hear this is part of a series and cannot wait to read more from this author! I'll be ordering as soon as they're available!
This is a beautifully written novel that I didn't want to put down! The author's descriptions throughout the book are vivid, helping the readers feel as though they are actually witnessing Kathryn's pains and triumphs. It's a glimpse into the life of a young high school girl attempting to overcome many hardships, including the consequences of living in an abusive home. It also highlights the battles she must face to persevere through "ordinary" teenage life/challenges.
As a bonus: The descriptions in the book were so vivid that even though I am not familiar with orchestra music, I could still "hear" the beauty of the music.
This story by the author Kathy Moczerniak will grab your heart and make you wonder what is going on in life . The story will give you hope , and ask you do you actually see what is happening around you. Heroine is Kathryn. Kathryn has survived in a family filled with heartbreak , abuse and violence that the family tries to hide . Kathryn needs to survived but she needs to find a way before it takes her life force, what she does is run away to her loving aunt and her uncle . They can’t believe what she went through.
The performance of Jennifer Bloom is good. Her voice is strong and smooth
"Between the Trees" is an excellent novel that's full of characters I continued to miss long after I finished the last page. Kathy Moczerniak's writing is a joy to read with vivid imagery from beginning to end. It truly makes you feel like you're right there within the story. I found it especially compelling that it's inspired by a true story, reminding us how important it is to remember that you never truly know what someone else is going through; a little kindness can go a long way. Even more important is its powerful message of hope and healing. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.
This is the ultimate breakout novel for an author with a heart that has something powerful to share with the world. The imagery and descriptions powerfully anchor you in every scene while the characters come to life off the pages of this story that will shock, embrace, and then grow you into a better version of yourself.
What a job well done! We need more of Ms. Moczerniak's stories. Tell me the next one is already in process!!!!
I highly recommend this author and her storytelling without reservation.
Between the Trees by Kathy Moczerniak is an insightfully written story of a dysfunctional family in crisis. The characters are well developed as each family member struggles to find their way through the chaos. The tale is told through the eyes of the main character, Kathryn Lucas. She grapples with the tribulations of growing through her teenage years in a pained family dealing with divorce, alcoholism, and violence. Kathy Moczerniak's metaphorical writing style adds a sweet, sad, yet hopeful feeling throughout Kathryn's healing to wholeness.
I definitely recommend Between the Trees by Kathy Moczerniak! I loved it so much! I laughed, cried, felt angry and in shock. I am not much of a reader, but I had to read every day and I had to force myself to put it down to go to sleep. I found myself longing for more and didn't want it to end. I felt a connection to Kathryn and the characters in the book. I can't wait to buy it and read it again!! You will not be disappointed!!
Kathryn was an emotionally troubled girl all throughout her life, into her teenage years. Dealing with the abuse that was directed towards her. A family with secrets & lies. Friends & many broken promises. This story sucked me in the moment I started. It’s a feeling of understanding wholly what this girl is / has gone through and wanting to keep reading to find out if she found true happiness
Between the Trees I found to be an emotional yet uplifting book from a young woman's perspective. Living in a dysfunctional family and fighting her way out by her music, friends and loving family. Kathryn is determined to find happiness which she does. A must read for all of us who think we are alone in our own struggles. There is always hope.
Kathy Moczerniak is a wonderful author who has a way with her writing to hold the attention of her reader! Between the Trees has so much emotion that it’s hard to put it down! Highly recommend the amazing book!!