Author: Ivy Pochoda
Publication Date: November 2017
NPR Best Book of 2017
Los Angeles Times Best Fiction Pick
Refinery29 Best Book of the Year
BOLO Books Top Read of 2017
“Destined to be a classic L.A. novel.”—Michael Connelly
Wonder Valley was February’s pick for book club. I read the book on my Kindle in one week not because I was hooked, but rather I only had one week till we met up to discuss the book. To summarize the book clubs sentiment, thumbs down.
There are five and one half main characters, which is three and one half too many. I can typically keep pace with up to four main characters (I’d like to believe that this does not reflect upon my capacity to hold and comprehend information). Personally, more then four main characters and the enjoyment factor decreases significantly.
Main Characters (+ their immediate crew)
- Ren + his Mom
- Owen & James + their parents
- Tony + his family
- Blake + his friend
Each character is in some fashion running (some literally) from a previous traumatic experience. All their paths cross and they ultimately help one another find a degree of closure. I did not identify with any of the characters. Maybe if I were to have a traumatic experience that I hadn’t come to terms with I would have enjoy the story. While reading, I kept waiting for the aha moment. It never came.
I was dumbfound to discover a stream of positive reviews online. Did I miss something? I must have missed something. Please do not let my negative book review discourage you from reading Wonder Valley because people far supreme have rated it among the best.