In her debut YA novel, The Valley and the Flood, Rebecca Mahoney takes readers to a strange town in the middle of Nevada and shows readers how powerful memories and emotions can be.
Rose Colter is almost home, but she can't go back there yet. When her car breaks down in the Nevada desert, the silence of the night is broken by a radio broadcast of a voicemail message from her best friend, Gaby. A message Rose has listened to countless times over the past year. The last one Gaby left before she died. So Rose follows the lights from the closest radio tower to Lotus Valley, a small town where prophets are a dime a dozen, secrets lurk in every shadow, and the diner pie is legendary. And according to Cassie Cyrene, the town's third most accurate prophet, they've been waiting for her. Because Rose's arrival is part of a looming prophecy, one that says a flood will destroy Lotus Valley in just three days' time. Rose believes if the prophecy comes true then it will confirm her worst fear--the PTSD she was diagnosed with after Gaby's death has changed her in ways she can't face. So with help from new friends, Rose sets out to stop the flood, but her connection to it, and to this strange little town, runs deeper than she could've imagined.
This book is not a love story. It’s not about different worlds. It’s not even about friendship. It’s about memories and our pasts and how we grapple with it.
The way Mahoney handles writing about PTSD is profound and enlightening. Let it be said that I have no experience with PTSD and the before or aftereffects of that diagnosis. However, this book helped raise awareness of it and gave it validity. It doesn’t matter how or what you suffered through or experienced: your thoughts and pain are valid. And I think that’s the main point to the story.
The plot was interesting and Rose’s alternating POV between the past and present was enlightening since with every flashback, more and more information about Rose’s past gets revealed. The characters were also interesting to learn about, especially the ones for Lotus Valley, and further showcases Mahoney’s emphasis on human emotions and feelings.
Reminiscent of Nina LaCour’s Watch Over Me, this book transcends genres and makes the reader focus on the metaphoric aspects of the story rather than the plot itself. For readers looking for a unique book, this one is a must-read.
*I received an ARC from Penguin Teen in exchange for my honest opinion.
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