Advance reader reviews of Wonder Valley, page 2

Wonder Valley

by Ivy Pochoda

Wonder Valley by Ivy Pochoda X
Wonder Valley by Ivy Pochoda
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2017
    336 pages
    Genre: Novels

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There are currently 15 member reviews
for Wonder Valley
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  • Eileen C. (New York, NY)

    Finding a way to be in the world
    A compelling novel about family and friends and moral responsibility and the role of drugs and alcohol play in some people's lives. Although a number of the characters live morally problematic lives, Pochoda portrays them with a compassion and empathy that enabled me to understand the reasons why they might make the choices they did. It is not written chronologically, but it was still (most of the time) clear where in time the characters were. Vividly written, it is a great psychological novel.
  • Sarah H. (Arvada, CO)

    Pochoda creates scenery that makes you forget you're not watching a movie. The pace keeps you engaged, and the plot and character development is so robust and authentic, you care about things or people you would never otherwise have interest in. A good writer engages you in characters that you can relate to in places you'd want to go, a great writer takes you to places you'd never go and allows you to care about people you'd never seek out. Wonder Valley absolutely achieves this.
  • Marci G. (Sicklerville, NJ)

    Wonder Valley
    I am experiencing a bit of a "book block " right now. I read Wonder Valley in a 3 week period. Descriptions of place and characters was excellent. Unhappy people in unhappy places.
  • Laure R. (Fresno, CA)

    Contemporary LA region, from desert to ocean with people in desparate need to change their (almost) hopeless lives.

    The author skillfully takes them one by one, filling in pieces of their lives, their experiences, their back story and skillfully intersecting their paths.

    From Skid Row to mansions, I found it fascinating and often disturbing. Both physical violence and emotional abuse exist throughout the book. Hope exists too.

    I find that occasionally experiencing some discomfort in a story leads me to expand my world and, therefore, grow. I recommend this well written novel to any and all.
  • Gwen C. (Clearfield, PA)

    Wonder Valley
    Here is Los Angeles in intimate detail. Like LaLa Land the story begins with an agonizing traffic jam. Unlike LaLa Land we are quickly drawn into a grey world of disparate characters struggling to run away from their unhappy pasts.

    The narrative fluctuates between 2006 and 2010 as we learn characters' back histories. Pocada is skillful at fleshing out interior motives and external details. You soon find yourself rooting for the various underdogs.

    About half way through the book Britt and Blake, 2006 characters, appear in 2010 Tony's struggle and the book really takes off. The theme of sacrificial pawns in the chessboard of life is well served.

    I found the intensity of survival skills needed to cope on Skid Row and desert dwellings unnerving and deeply disturbing. Pocada brings a far-reaching realism to life on the edge. An unexpected joy for me was her descriptions of the high and exhilaration one gets from running. I can't speak for life on the streets, but as a former runner she nailed it.

    Overall the book is an excellent novel of the seamy side of life – but too gritty for my taste. It's LaLa Land's polar opposite: Bad/Sad Land.
  • Sally H. (Geneva, OH)

    Wonder Valley
    I had a hard time getting into this book, partly, I think, because none of the characters grabbed me and made me care about what happened to them. Still, the plot twists were odd enough that once I was in, I was committed to finding out how it all ended. The connections between some of the characters are a little far-fetched, but the overall picture of Skid Row and LA is pretty realistic. I would rate this book as above average but not quite good, but I probably would not recommend it to my book club.
  • Sylvia G. (Scottsdale, AZ)

    Not a wonder for me.
    I had a hard time with this book. The title is misleading. There is little wonder to be found in these pages. The characters are criminals, lost souls and drifters. The settings are mostly seedy and run down. I found the writing was what redeemed the novel. I did not find this enjoyable in any way and was mostly depressed as I plowed through looking for redemption but finding it too dark and dreary.
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